The New Normal—Reflections and Stories from the EAT Family—Support Local! A Look at Victoria’s New Pickup Windows by Jacqueline Downey

As the world shifts and changes below our feet right now, EAT thought it might be a good time to check in with our family of contributors, supporters, and friends to see how they are dealing with daily life in this new reality. This is a temporary stage in the world timeline, we realize, but one few of us will forget. Read on for the eleventh story in our series.

Support Local! A Look at Victoria’s New Pickup Windows

Story and photography by Jacqueline Downey

Nothing can replace the enchantment and hum of restaurant dining, but the convenience of take-out and hot meals delivered to your front door definitely has its perks. Cycling past my favourite downtown hangouts recently, I noticed freshly papered windows hollering out to me: giant paper signs listing menu items, how to order online, large arrows guiding and pointing to pick-up windows, and taped squares and button stickers placed on the ground to enforce spacing rules. As I slowed to read these messages, the passion, dedication and tenacity of Vancouver Island’s food industry became clear to me. The same chefs, coffee roasters, farmers, bakers, and business owners who provide us with exceptional, quality products year-round are refusing to let anything stop their innovative, courageous natures. Here’s a sampling of our local businesses that are successfully adapting to the new ways of servicing our community (and bellies).

Cover Photo: Pantry Staple must have: Zambri’s House Made Tomato Sauce!


     Coffee First (actually, wash your hands first)

Owner Ben Cram holds a pound of his Fernwood Blend as he stands in front of their contactless pick-up table.

Fernwood Coffee Company and The Parsonage Cafe

1105 Caledonia Avenue

They have a fun array of different blends for you to take home and experiment with. They’ll also grind your beans so you can tap into your inner barista.  Their skilled baristas are manning their take-out window for your favourite snack and coffee treat!  Check for updates on Fernwood’s Facebook and Instagram or on Parsonage’s Facebook. Monday to Friday 9am – 3pm or order online.

Angus Todd takes Merry Ross’ order though the protective barrier. 


Menu items available – their B.L.T. is award-worthy.



Get your Daily Bread

Rebecca Hughes smiles through her shield at the pick-up window while Harry Morris places more pastries in Fol Epi’s window display.

Fol Epi Organic Bakery

732 Yates Street

As usual, Clif Leir and his talented team are preparing a variety of organic products. Stop by for a Pain au Chocolat and marvel at the display window – their pie game is on! Fol Epi is open seven days a week, from 10am – 3pm. Orders can be placed: in person, over the phone: 778-265-6311 and by email: Pick-up from their window and some delivery available, subject to location. Check for updates on Facebook and Instagram.

Delectable treats are showcased.

A selection of fresh organic bread is ready for your table.



Cheese (also daily, right?)

Owner Carmen Lassooij smiles through the pick-up window while one of the superstars of Charelli’s Cheese Shop& Delicatessen, Heather Johnston, says a quick hello at a safe distance.

Charelli’s Cheese Shop & Delicatessen 

2863 Foul Bay Rd.

It’s worth the trip just to see the smiling faces of this hard-working team! You can order lovingly wrapped triple cream brie or order an isolation cheese box. You can even get a Mac & Cheese delivered to a family member. They are delighted if you choose to pick-up at their window, but if you prefer contactless delivery, they can do that too. Charelli’s is open Tuesday to Saturdays from 11am – 3pm. Orders can be placed: online, by email: or by phone: 250-598-4794. Check for updates via Facebook and Instagram.

Isolation Cheese Box is sure to please.



Stay Healthy – Eat Your Greens

Christine Brennenstuhl works to grow your starter plants and harvests the freshest leaves for your bag of greens.

Mason Street Farm and Edible Nursery

1015 Balmoral Rd.

You can still enjoy this stunning outdoor space located right downtown Victoria. They have a handwashing station out front and limit customers to 4 at a time. Many customers just walk or bike over. Despite heightened safety measures, there are lots of great gardening conversations and smiles being exchanged between customers and staff. Mason Street Farm is open Wednesday to Friday from 10am – 6pm and Saturdays from 10am – 2pm. Choose food or plants and pay on-site. Weekly salad pick-up can be pre-ordered online through email:  Follow them on Facebook and Instagram for nursery plants that are being released.

Edible Nursery Starters ready for your garden.


A fresh selection of greens on display at the entrance of the farm.



When You Realize You’re Just Hangry

Helena Keenliside stands at the ordering entrance at Gateway Village.

Big Wheel Burger

There are four locations: 341 Cook St., 771 Vernon Ave., 172 Wilson St., and now also in Nanaimo at 601 Bruce Ave. Oh French Fries, how I’ve missed you. They are open for pick-up or delivery 12pm – 8pm 7 days a week. You can order online via or download their very cool app. *Touch-less Pick-up available at all locations but 172 Wilson St. Check for updates via Facebook and Instagram.

Helena Keenliside takes a phone order while store manager Sarah Henry confirms a finished order.



Keep Your Balance

Stephen Thomas peeks into a pick-up package of Nourishing goodies at the takeaway window.

Nourish Kitchen & Cafe

225 Quebec Street

Be sure to hide your creamed cashew cheese from your roommate, but show them you’re still pals with one of their dinner kits for two! Shop and order via their website. They are open for pick-up on Wednesday’s & Saturday’s from 3:30pm – 5:30pm. Stay tuned for updates via Facebook and Instagram.

Enjoy the vibrant garden while reading instructions for pick-up.



Date Night is Now Every Night

Zambri’s Manager Jayme Beaudry welcoming smile beams through the protective plexiglass.


820 Yates Street

Nab a bottle of prosecco to pair with their Queen Pizze or Penne, Peas & Gorgonzola and surprise your lover. Remember to order Tiramisu to lock down the night. Stay tuned for meal kits so you can learn to cook like an Italian. Order through their website Tuesday through Saturday from 2:30pm to 7:30pm. You can pick-up an order from 4pm to 8pm Tuesday through Saturday.  They are now offering delivery too! Check for updates via Facebook and Instagram.

Pasta, Olives, and other dry goods are on hand for pick-up.



Take a Tasty Isolation Drive

Owner Castro Boateng holds a bottle of Unsworth’s Rose Charme de l’lile at his order and pick-up counter.

House of Boateng Café and Catering

2854 Peatt Road

They are offering family-style “take and bake” meals designed to serve 3-4 people. They change their menu weekly. Hot tip: Add their famous HOB hot sauce to your order. They are open from Wednesday through Saturday from 11am to 4pm. Order online or email your order to or simply call 778-432-2233. Pick-up or get your order delivered. Check for updates via Facebook and Instagram.

The ever-changing deli case is sure to surprise – are those fiddleheads?!!


Harissa Marinade, Kimchi, and African Berbere Spice Mix line the shelves.



Pull in-to the Drive-in

Jasmine Gould holds this week’s treats – revealed every Wednesday.

Paul’s Diner by Fol Epi

1900 Douglas St.

Fried Chicken and other gems are announced on Wednesday’s and are available to order from 9am onwards for the same day pick-up – while quantities last!!  Pick-up Thursday through Sunday evenings between 5pm and 8pm. Ways to Order: Order On-line through their website. Please note that they are not accepting phone orders at this time. Check for updates via Facebook and Instagram.

Fried Chicken, kimchi, pickles, coleslaw, and please take them up on all of their sauces.



Let’s Stay Calm, but Still F*&@ing Cool

Jake Duncan holds an ice cream sandwich in one hand and a pint of ice cream in the other.

Cold Comfort Ice Cream

1115 North Park St. #2 

A pint of Salted Caramel Ice Cream will melt your worries away. Or get some mouth affection with a spoonful of their “Vegan Chocolate Hug.” They are open from 7 days a week from 1pm to 9pm. No cash, tap only. They will be offering delivery, but if you pick-up, you get to use their tres chic intercom! Check out their site or visit Facebook and Instagram for updates!

Enjoy the whimsical walls while you pick-up your frozen treats.



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Jacqueline Downey

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