First Look: b.good opens their fifth GTA location near Yonge and Eg


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Image: Jessica Wei

For a corporate, fast-casual food counter that has aggressively expanded (five locations in the GTA, opened in the last two years), b.good is not afraid of showing their patrons how the proverbial sausage is made. Portraits hang on the wall in their recently opened Yonge and Eglinton outpost of smiling farmers in lush fields, and a cheese producer (Alice, of Bright Cheese & Butter) grinning in her hairnet proudly holding a box stamped “PRODUCT OF CANADA.” The map on the wall shows arrows pointing to the source of most of their seasonal ingredients: potatoes from Gwillimdale Farms in Bradford, turkey from Dashwood, Ontario’s Hayter’s Farm, bread from Tre Mari in Toronto.


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 

“In any area that we go to, we have to find great partners,” said Mark Murphy, the district manager of b.good Canada. “We try to source local as much as possible. There are some growing pains. We’ve changed a few partners along the way, and we’ll continue to do so. But we’ve found great chicken, turkey, potatoes and other produce suppliers. That’s a big part of it and it continues every day.”

B.good, the brand, was founded 15 years ago in Boston by two childhood friends name Anthony and Jon. Murphy met them in high school and started working for them on and off from college onwards. After helping with opening a number of locations up and down the East Coast, he was asked to lead the expansion into Canada.

“We opened the first four [locations] very quickly, in the same year, which was kind of crazy and a little aggressive,” said Murphy. “Once we did that, we learned to stop, take a breath, and really make sure we were doing things correctly.”


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 

Opened last week, their uptown Yonge location feels like a deep breath: it’s bright and airy, minimalistic and modern, and offers touches of its homestyle sensibilities. A row of green plants in white clay pots sit on a large window-facing wooden harvest table and the lighting is mostly natural. Even their fountain soda corner eschews Pepsi Cola for fair trade, organically sweetened sodas from Maine Root.


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 

The menu is stocked with 21st-century health-driven comfort classics. They offer strawberry banana smoothies, a roster of seasonal kale and grain bowls, salads, and hearty burgers in beef, turkey or veggie (made primarily from corn, black beans and brown rice). It’s the kind of place you stop into after the gym, or on your lunch hour for a quick hit of naturally derived protein and a smoothie-on-the-go. Their Farmstand Tomato Basil grain bowl, for example, is packed with edamame, sunflower seeds, green beans, olives and tomato, finished with a drizzle of basil vinaigrette and topped with salty grilled halloumi.

But they don’t shy away from a little indulgence: Their milkshakes are blended with ice cream from Kawartha Dairy, the fries are oven-baked but come out crispy, and their roasted Brussels sprouts, a seasonal specialty, come generously topped with cheddar, almonds and maple syrup.

Though Murphy and his team are always looking for the next best location, they’re taking this latest opening as an opportunity to wind down for the year.

“We want to finish this year strong and get our model down,” said Murphy. This includes hiring new people and improving their team. “We just want to make sure we can provide people with the right support. But we will not open another store this year.”

Until then, their focus is on helping the people around Yonge and Eglinton to eat a little healthier and, of course, b.good.

b.good, 75 Eglinton Ave. E.


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 


(IMAGE: JESSICA WEI)

 

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Jessica Wei is an associate editor for Post City. She has lived and worked as a journalist in Montreal, Hong Kong and, now, Toronto. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

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