Summerhill Market – 10 Reasons it’s Toronto’s Best Grocery Store
Let’s be honest, grocery shopping is typically a drag.
But Summerhill Market is an exhilarating adventure, thanks to its wide selection of health food – particularly paleo, vegan and plant-based items, better-than-takeout prepared foods, gourmet pantry items, and other grocery and household products all under one 10,000-square-feet roof.
They also happen to have exclusive items from the U.S. that you’re going to want to get your hands on ASAP.
Here are 10 reasons why Summerhill Market reigns supreme:
1. #HealthInspo for days
While most supermarkets have small sections dedicated to healthy items, Summerhill Market’s brimming with good-for-you fare. From fresh and cold-pressed juices to in-house riced broccoli, and to a wide-range of kombucha and yogurt, you can keep your #fitgoals in check well into 2018.
And no need to make a separate run to the health food store.
2. Paleo, vegan or gluten-free? No prob!
Trying to accommodate a certain dietary restriction, allergy, or way of eating can be a full-time job, but the aisles at SHM are sky high with everything from Bulletproof Coffee and XCT Oil to gluten-free multigrain ciabatta buns, nut milks and cheese, and the best dairy-free ice cream ever. Bonus: most of the items are either exclusive to the store or rarely seen outside of specialty stores.
Christmas really did come early this year!
3. Gourmet pantry items
Canned haggis. That’s right, I said it. But they’ve got it and it’s not only a delicacy, it’s only recently available after a 46-year ban, lifted only in October.
There’s also a wide selection of Kusmi Tea, local Balzac’s Coffee, La Croix flavours that no one else has including Coconut, and mind-blowing chips including Torres Selecta in Caviar. #Drool.
4. Better-than-takeout prepared foods
Summerhill Market makes 500+ made-from-scratch items on site upstairs that are waaaaybetter than your usual takeaway. For the holidays, you’ve simply got to get their Turkey Dinner ($24.99), Eggnog ($12.99), and oh-so-boozy Fruit Cake, available in various sizes.
But there’s so much more. The Duck Cassoulet ($23.99), Coq au Vin ($12.99/lb.) and Paella ($26.99) alone are reasons enough to get yourself out to this incredible food mecca.
And the portions? Unbelievable. Their bags of housemade kettle chips (various flavours – Truffle $10; Sea Salt, BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion, Lemon Pepper, and Cajun $8) are jammed right up to the top. Compare them to leading brand name bags where you’re lucky if there’s 25 whole chips in total.
You’ve also got to try their famous Chicken Pot Pie (sm $6.49, med, $19.99, lg $32.99) made with real butter, flaky pastry and chock-full of fresh local, air-chilled, grain-fed chicken, plus peas, carrots and celery, and a whole lotta love.
There are also apps (Deviled Eggs $5.99), pizzas, soups, sauces (demi-glace done the right way with bones double roasted for hours at a time), sides, Thai food, comfort food, baked items, snacks, and well, you’re just going to have to come and see it all yourself.
5. Exclusive items
Third generation grocer and owner Brad McMullen understands that to constantly evolve and grow, you have to look for new and innovative products.
He’s the exclusive Canadian retailer to carry Beyond Meat – 100 per cent plant-based products backed by Leonardo DiCaprio, Bill Gates, and Twitter co-founders Biz Stone and Evan Williams. The line-up includes: The Beyond Burger, Beyond Chicken Strips made with non-GMO soy and pea protein, and non-GMO pea protein Beyond Beef Crumble.
SHM is also the only place in Canada to get U.S.-based Halo Top Creamery ice cream (currently non-dairy flavours only). Just named one of “25 Best Inventions of 2017” by Time Magazine, these incredibly low-cal (360 or under for the entire pint!), high-protein, low-sugar, made with all-natural ingredients desserts are of course flying off the shelves.
You can also shop for wildly popular Siggi and Fage (pronounced Fah-yeh) yogurts, Rebbl Exlirs, Rx Bars, Miyoko’s Creamery, and a host of other items you can’t get anywhere else.
6. It’s a family business
The McMullen family has had the store since 1954. Frank founded the business, always ensuring that customer service was paramount.
That tradition has continued on through his son Bob, and Bob’s kids – current owners Brad and Christy.
7. It’s a large, tight-knit family
The McMullen’s employ 220 people, many of whom have been with the company for years.
8. As an independent grocer, they’re doing a better job than the big guys
They’ve managed to combine the charm of a country store with the most modern products.
The variety of items, combination of services, quality of products – especially their prepared items – and customer service and appreciation, keeps them way ahead of the bold-name grocery stores.
9. Despite being set in Rosedale, it’s not expensive as you think
There are bargains to be had, and many items are priced the same or less than competing big box stores.
They’re also still very much a neighbourhood grocery store. They know their customers. In fact, Brad and Christy have grown up with many of them.
10. They’re expanding
The new parking lot opened last week, and a 25,000-square-feet commissary kitchen is in the works.
And just wait ’til you see what products they’ve got in store for the new year.
If you’ve never been to Summerhill Market, you need to go. Now. It’s what you’ve been waiting for. All in one beautiful shop, decked out in fir and decorations just in time for the holidays.
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