First Look: Pulp Kitchen, an east end favourite reborn at Queen and Broadview
By Anna Silman
The crispy crunchy salad, $7 (Images: Anna Silman)
Marie Crawford, personal trainer, health-food aficionado and owner and founder of Riverdale’s Pulp Kitchen, has been in the juice game a long time. Along with two prior incarnations of Pulp Kitchen (both also in the East End), Crawford has owned and operated a juice bar in the neighbourhood since 1996.
“It’s been a long process,” Crawford says.
The newest Pulp Kitchen arrives following the closure of the prior location at Queen and Jones about a year and a half ago. Yet unlike its predecessors, this Pulp Kitchen is takeout only. Along with some new meal additions, such as the vegan grilled cheese sandwich ($5.50) with roasted red peppers or roasted tomato, and a host of new juice blends, the menu continues to showcase the original favourites that Pulp Kitchen veterans know and love.
On the liquid side of the menu, you’ll find everything from standard fruit smoothies like the Red Blazer, featuring raspberries, orange juice and banana ($5.50 for 16-oz, $11.00 for a litre) or more adventurous combinations like the Funky Monkey, featuring chocolate soy, frozen banana and an espresso shot ($6.50/$12.50).
Health freaks hankering for a dose of liquid nutrition can indulge in one of the hearty vegetable elixirs, which come aptly-titled with names like Iron Beta Blast and the Rejuvinator ($5.50 for 16-oz., $11 for a litre). Whatever your preference, there’s no shortage of choice, with over 25 juice and elixir offerings emblazoned on a wall-mounted menu that was hand-lettered by Crawford’s mother.
For those who prefer to ingest their nutrients in more solid form, there's a host of easily portable meal options well-suited for the midday lunch rush. Wrap and sandwich offerings include the P.K. Sandwich (breaded tofu, roasted tomato, organic greens and hummus on flax bread, $6.50), as well as an array of salads like the quinoa salad ($5.50) or the impressive crispy crunchy salad (pictured above, $7), with thinly-shaved cucumber, crunchy blanched green beans, sautéed mushrooms, breaded tofu and sesame seeds.
For traditionally carnivorous types, Pulp Kitchen provides a welcome reprieve from other vegetarian joints that seem set on bombarding customers with their mission statements. Pulp Kitchen, although a fully-vegetarian operation, eschews the traditional tendency towards preaching that generally comes with a health food endeavour.
“I’ve always avoided having such complex information that it stops people from coming in,” Crawford says. “It took some people years to figure out that it was a vegetarian place, because I don’t advertise that specifically.”
Crawford's goal is to help people find ways to be healthier, without all the fuss surrounding it. She explains that all her food is designed to be intrinsically well-rounded, containing a complete protein, full servings of veggies and healthy oils, so that her customers don’t have to think too hard about trying to get all the nutrients they need.
“My goal is for people to not have to think about it, and to just provide.”
And if the steady business already pouring in to the shop is any indicator, it looks like Pulp Kitchen may finally have a steady home. And with glutton's bastions like Paulette’s holding court just down the road, it might just be exactly what the neighbourhood needs.
Pulp Kitchen, 717 ½ Queen St. E., 416-461-4612