Mary Be Kitchen is a new healthy eating concept open on St. Clair, just by Yonge. The carefully curated space by Sarah Huggins is downright deluxe, comfy modern living room essentials like couches and low slung chairs mingle with booths, and communal seating for solo diners. With creamy whites, soft pinks and a balance of wood and white tile, the space is feminine and clean. Mary would be proud.
And it’s no gimmick, the restaurant borrows it’s name from Sarah’s own grandmother, a name that has also been given to “pretty much everyone in my family”, including her own middle name. An honour of the highest order, and a full on display for the matriarch of the family, it echos the exact philosophy of the restaurant- that although the chef world is dominated by men, it’s women that have, throughout history, led the charge in the kitchen, teaching these men to cook, making every meal from scratch and preparing their families for the day ahead with a good wholesome meal.
The menu carries through on that promise. Sarah, a mother of three wee ones herself, developed and created the menu with her partner Simren after struggling to find healthy meals that are hearty too. Meals in most restaurants come doled out with a daily dose of carbs, quick easy (cheap) filler food that we often can’t (won’t) finish gets binned, or worse, consumed- hello muffin top! Mary Be Kitchen’s menu does feature *some* carbs, but it’s in moderation- there’s sides of Mary’s Mac and Turmeric Rice, but on the whole, you’re getting a meal that you can feel good about eating. Here, you create your own combos- family share smorgasbord for a satisfying weeknight dinner, or little light lunch, and everything in between, it’s your call.
The most popular is the Be Square, with two sides and a protein. The Grilled Chicken Breast with salsa verde is cooked perfectly and comes with your choice of sides, but do not miss the Grilled Broccoli, it’s splendid. The portion is big enough to save for seconds, and there’s no dreaded 3pm slump when the carbs come crashing down. Sarah’s food is all made in house, by a staff of almost all women, cranking out beautiful food in an inspired space, “People are washing dishes with the winter sun streaming through- we know we’re improving the quality of life for the staff working here”, a mission that clearly translates to the plates.
Getting fresh organic produce to match with their hormone and antibiotic free (c/o Beretta Farms) meats means you can save the point collecting or calorie counting for another meal. Savouring and enjoying food is key to Mary Be Kitchen, uniting vegans, gluten-free and carnivores, families and couples into one picturesque picnic. We’re excited to see what Mary does next.
All images by Libby Roach.