The Coolest Toronto Home-Based Food Businesses

If you told me two years ago that I was going to be buying food off of Instagram and picking it up off of people’s front porches, I probably would have thought you were crazy. But here we are! Fast forward to the new pandemic world, where this has not only become the norm but has also been where I’ve discovered some of my favourite food experiences over the last year. For me, it all started with a pasta order from Justin Friedlich. I convinced Dave that it was a good idea to drive to a stranger’s house and pick up pasta from his front porch. It was then that I enjoyed the most incredible vodka sauce and was hooked on finding these niche experiences, and discovering new ways to support local entrepreneurs. Birthday cake and cookies and from Breadhead followed. Then, a virtual cooking class and the most incredible focaccia from Pasta Forever. Even more recently, I found myself picking up my now favourite sourdough from Bread and Better late one evening. In Prince Edward County, we’ve enjoyed a multi-course meal from Onesta and a couple of weekends ago, I scooped up some bagels from Your Bagel Angel’s front porch.

There are so many incredible places to choose from, with new hotspots popping up each month. Below, I’ve highlighted some more businesses that I’ve recently come across. I hope you will take the time to discover their stories, food and favourite Toronto spots. And as always, I hope this helps you find an escape to the Middle of Somewhere.

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Sticks & Scones

Sticks and Scones Toronto
Sticks and Scones Toronto
Sticks and Scones Toronto
Sticks and Scones Toronto
Logistics

Your business name & website / IG: Sticks & Scones @sticksandsconesto

What you sell: Handmade, mammoth sized scones for delivery

Your name & position: Nicole Richie and Blaire Richie – Co-owners

How & when can people order? As of right now, our ordering is focused on our Instagram page. We put out a post on Monday sharing our flavours for the week (orders close every Friday at noon) , and our order form is linked in the bio. Then once forms are completed and payment is made (an etransfer to our email at sticksandsconesto@gmail.com), customers will receive a confirmation email and details about their delivery times.

Pickup / delivery? Right now, we are delivery focused where cost of delivery is included in our scone fees. On Friday nights, we send our customers an update with a more specific time for when to expect their scones on Saturday morning/early afternoon.

Launching the Business

Did you have a background in baking? Our family has always been food centered; all of us love to cook and eat! My mom taught both of us how to bake young, and we’ve always loved it. No technical training, but a lot of love makes up for that in many areas of our treats.

How’d you get into making scones? Last year when COVID hit, Nicole, who had been laid off from being a food editor at a Toronto magazine had spent her newfound free-time to get even more into baking. When she made scones for last year’s Mother’s Day, they were a massive hit and soon she was sending scones to all of her friends and bringing them to every outdoor gathering in the summer.

When did you launch your business? This April, Blaire moved home from living out west for the year and we almost immediately decided to start a scone business. We have always wanted to go into business together and this just seemed the perfect way to spend some more time together and spread love through the stomachs of our friends and fam.

What prompted you to launch? As soon as Blaire got home we were testing recipes, almost every flavour came out better than we could have expected, and we began to come up with a business plan. Due to COVID, we came to the conclusion that scones by delivery for weekend breakfast and brunches would be the most viable. We also liked the idea of the customer receiving the scones almost as little presents to start their weekend. So, we set up and Instagram page, and started receiving orders! The response to our little business has been amazing and we’re so grateful for the overwhelming amount of support we’ve been getting.

Is your business a side-hustle or full time? Right now we are focusing on our weekend deliveries, which doesn’t consume all of our time. Nicole still works as a freelance writer and Blaire is working part time helping out at pop up vaccine clinics around the city.

Where do you operate out of?  We currently bake at our parents house; they have two ovens which makes a huge difference in baking time!

What’s your long-term vision for the business? We would love for this to become a more fully realized business in the future, and have dreams of expanding into a small café, where we would sell our scones and maybe some other baked goodies, and some good coffee (we’re big coffee people). We both share a passion for supporting local small businesses and as we grow, we would focus on celebrating local producers and our overall community.

Running the Business

A favourite moment since launching? After our first delivery day, receiving all the positive messages and posts about our scones. People were showing us so much love and it felt absolutely amazing. We cracked a nice bottle of wine and toasted to ourselves and the humble scone!

Most challenging thing about operating out of your home? Working out of our parent’s kitchen can get a little crowded sometimes. There are literally scones everywhere on baking days, you can’t get away from them. Thankfully our parents are very patient and have a good sense of humour about the whole thing.

Favourite thing about operating out of your home? Spending time together in our family kitchen has been such a positive experience. Were super close and after being apart last year, it is so nice to be able to all come together again and congregate in the kitchen.

Discovering the Middle of Somewhere in Toronto

Your favourite 1-3 places to #shoplocal in Toronto?

  • There’s a little Japanese grocer down the street from Nicole’s house that we’ve been frequenting. They have a great selection of Japanese snacks, cheap too! (Hanamaru Market and Bento)
  • Kings Drive In – This is an awesome women-run burger joint in the east end.  The staff are so friendly and the onion rings are colossal. It’s just a really great local spot.
  • Good Cheese at Broadview and Gerrard – their selection of wine and local craft beer is awesome. Their cheese counter is droolworthy and they also carry a ton of other local products that are the perfect accompaniments for a little charcuterie evening.

Somewhere in Toronto you love to spend a day?

Nicole: I live in the east end so a day at Riverdale is always a day well spent! Love grabbing a coffee at Rooster and a beer at Good Cheese before heading down the hill! Steady’s Jamaican is also an awesome spot in the neighbourhood, their oxtail and curry goat are insanely good.

A Toronto restaurant / shop / landmark you’re dying to check out?

Slowhand Pizza

Slowhand Pizza Toronto
Slowhand Pizza Toronto
Logistics

Your business name & website / IG: Slowhand Pizza @slowhandpizza

What you sell: Sourdough Pan Pizza

Your name & position: Brett Feeley & Dan Ewing, owners/pizza makers

How & when can people order: We are a pop-up, so we post ordering instructions on Instagram. Your best bet is to follow us for updates.

Pickup / delivery: Currently pickup only.

Launching the Business

Did you have a background in cooking? Neither of us is professionally trained, but we have restaurant experience.

How’d you get into making pizza? We’d both been making bread and pizzas at home for a long time. When COVID struck we had more time on our hands, and decided to try to develop a unique recipe that was a blend of a bunch of our favourite styles of pizza and bread.

When did you launch your business? This year (2021), although we have been testing and working on our dough recipe seriously since September 2020.

What prompted you to launch? We were initially just doing our pizzas for family and neighbourhood friends, but the response was so positive we decided to see what everyone else thought about it.

Is your business a side-hustle or full time? Our plan is to make this our full time thing.

If not full-time, what do you do job-wise? If full-time, what did you do prior to launching? Brett worked as a bartender for 20+ years, most recently at an American steakhouse. Dan comes from a marketing and events background.

Where do you operate out of? When we do a pop-up we bake out of Brett’s house.

What’s your long-term vision for the business? We are hoping to find a permanent location in Toronto’s east-end, close to where we live.

Running the Business

A favourite moment since launching? Realizing that we were on to something after months and months of different recipes. We saw there was a hole to be filled in Toronto’s pizza scene – only a few places are doing a pan pizza and hardly anyone is using true sourdough.

Most challenging thing about operating out of your home? Keeping up with demand. We have so many people that want to order, but only so many pizzas we can produce with our current set up.

Favourite thing about operating out of your home? Having the whole family help out when we do a pop-up. We have to focus on the pizzas, so the kids help with boxes, directional signs, and running pizzas from the kitchen to the customer. It’s very sweet.

Discovering the Middle of Somewhere in Toronto

Your favourite 1-3 places to #shoplocal in Toronto?

  • Descendant Pizza – the original Detroit pizza in the city.
  • Rooster Coffee on Broadview – can’t beat their coffee and the view from Riverdale Park.
  • The Danforth Music Hall – we are both big music people, and love that this iconic venue is in our neighbourhood. We can’t wait for live music to return to the city.

Somewhere in Toronto you love to spend a day? We’re big fans of Cabbagetown. The architecture is amazing, and Parliament Street is full of hidden food gems. Riverdale Farm is also a fantastic place to spend a day when you have small children.

A Toronto restaurant / shop / landmark you’re dying to check out? Victory Pizza. They were just named the #1 pizza in the city by Toronto Life, and we’re yet to get our hands on some.

 

Brindle Food Co.

Brindle Toronto
Brindle Toronto
Brindle Toronto
Brindle Toronto
Logistics

Your business name & website / IG: Brindle Food Co. @brindlefoodco

Website coming soon!

What you sell: pasta kits, dessert and pastry boxes, dinner kits

Your name & position: Carlos, Chef / Co-Owner and Nicole, Pastry Chef / Co-Owner

How & when can people order? Weekly menus launch Sundays or Mondays until we get our online store set out.

Pickup / delivery? Both are available.

Launching the Business

Did you have a background in cooking? We both have been working in fine dining our whole career.

When did you launch your business? November 2020

What prompted you to launch? We missed being creative and the restaurant energy. When COVID hit we saw an opportunity to be independent and have something 100% ours.

Is your business a side-hustle or full time? Right now I guess it’s considered a side hustle. We both still work full time and put in full time hours doing Brindle. Carlos is a pasta maker and Nicole is a chocolate maker.

Where do you operate out of? We’re lucky to have restaurant / retail connections where we can do most of our work out of. Pickups we do out of our house.

What’s your long-term vision for the business? Looking to have a brick and mortar where our food can be available and also be able to be creative and have a more restaurant vibe.

Running the Business

A favourite moment since launching? I think getting featured by blogs and writers such as yourself have been really great. We do everything between the 2 of us including the marketing and social media. It’s really great to see that people are noticing and recognizing what we do. Plus, everything is just happening organically so it feels really genuine when people reach out to us.

Most challenging thing about operating out of your home? Storage is our biggest challenge especially because we are growing. Trying to do volume and finding fridge space in our 3 fridges and massive chest freezer makes it a challenge.

Favourite thing about operating out of your home? We have a great garden so whenever something is needed, whether it be herbs or vegetables that we’re growing, we can just go into the garden and use products that we grew ourselves.

Discovering the Middle of Somewhere in Toronto

Your favourite 1-3 places to #shoplocal in Toronto?

Somewhere in Toronto you love to spend a day? We like to bike a lot around the city and we have our dog Guinness who loves going to the Scarborough bluffs or Woodbine beach.

A Toronto restaurant / shop / landmark you’re dying to check out? We’ve been wanting to check out Edulis for quite some time. The food and everything they do looks amazing!

 

Nicky P’s Pizza Palace

Nicky P’s Pizza Palace
Nicky P’s Pizza Palace
Nicky P’s Pizza Palace
Logistics

Your business name & website / IG: Nicky P’s Pizza Palace, @nickypspizzapalace

What you sell: Naturally leavened Neapolitan style Pizza

Your name & position: Nick Phillips, owner, pizza maker

How & when can people order? By direct message through instagram once a pizza night post drops

Pickup / delivery? Pick up

Launching the Business

Did you have a background in cooking? No – I just love pizza, covid lockdown created free time to perfect my dough skills.

When did you launch your business? Um last year sometime

What prompted you to launch? Making pizza, so much pizza, so often I started giving it away to friends and family.

Is your business a side-hustle or full time? Side project – I own a general contracting company and am I licensed electrician as well.

Where do you operate out of? Home.

What’s your long-term vision for the business? To perhaps have a brick and mortar pizzeria, if only it progresses naturally, I’m not forcing anything at this point.

Running the Business

A favourite moment since launching? Just the positive feedback, I know everyone loves pizza but its very nice to hear people are loving my pizza.

Most challenging thing about operating out of your home? Probably the use of an outdoor oven, prepping inside and having to run outside is time consuming on a busy pizza night.

Favourite thing about operating out of your home? Short commute.

Discovering the Middle of Somewhere in Toronto

Your favourite 1-3 places to #shoplocal in Toronto?

Somewhere in Toronto you love to spend a day? Balmy Beach park

A Toronto restaurant / shop / landmark you’re dying to check out? One Night Only Pizza

 

Babe-o’s Bagels

Babe-o Bagels Toronto
Babe-o Bagels Toronto
Babe-o Bagels Toronto
Logistics

Your business name & website / IG: Babe-o’s Bagels / babeosbagels.ca / babeosbagels

What you sell: Bagels!

Your name & position: Laura, Owner

How & when can people order? People can order from my site – I usually load up my site on Sundays or Monday’s for the following Saturday and you can order until I sell out.

Pickup / delivery? We offer free pick up and delivery in our delivery zone. 

*Please note that Babe-o’s Bagels is relocating to Niagara for July – Sept. Follow their IG for their latest updates!

Launching the Business

Did you have a background in cooking?Just from doing it for fun / no formal background in cooking.

When did you launch your business? Late March of this year

What prompted you to launch? I was giving my bagels to friends and family and a few people suggested that I start selling them, so I gave it a shot.

Is your business a side-hustle or full time? Side hustle (I am currently unemployed otherwise).

Where do you operate out of? Home.

What’s your long-term vision for the business? Trademarking my Babe-o Bombs!!! JK (kinda) I’m open to seeing where this takes me.

Running the Business

A favourite moment since launching Meeting (virtually) all of my new customers and connecting with old friends.

Most challenging thing about operating out of your home? The heat during that last heat wave.

Favourite thing about operating out of your home? Listening to music and podcasts.

Discovering the Middle of Somewhere in Toronto

Your favourite 1-3 places to #shoplocal in Toronto?

Somewhere in Toronto you love to spend a day? Chinatown and Kensington Market – Tap Phong.

A Toronto restaurant / shop / landmark you’re dying to check out? Bar Isabel for Basque Cake!!!! (I can’t think of anywhere I want to go that I haven’t yet been)

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