BY ANDREW COPPOLINO
Boxed lunch, bag lunch, sack lunch: call it what you will, but a packed midday meal doesn’t necessarily mean the proverbial lunch bag let-down.
The terms are old ones and have been part of the work-a-day world for a very, very long time – as most of us know. Yet taking a packed lunch on a short day-trip that includes a drive in and around the farm land of Waterloo Region or spending a few peaceful moments in the natural world while on one of many parks and trails in the area can be one of life’s simple pleasures.
Here is a short list of a few food venues who can pack up a tasty lunch for you to take away:
Uptown 21, Waterloo
The end of the week means “Brown Bag Fridays” at Waterloo’s Uptown 21 (the super-popular and casual event has its own hashtag for you to follow: #brownbagfridays). Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and the delicious bags fly out fast until they are gone. Main courses rotate along with sides, a sweet and a beverage. Cash only and pay-on-your-honour! Enjoy a lunch at Waterloo Park a few blocks away.
Each month, a series of different international flavours are featured for Vincenzo’s Pop-Up Lunch. That could be Korean bibimbap, Indian fare, Caribbean jerk, pasta or dumplings. Beforehand, browse the foods and pantry supplies in this Waterloo Region’s foremost food shop. Take a walk along the nearby Iron Horse Trail and munch away.
Gilt Restaurant, Kitchener
Grab a lunch from Gilt Restaurant, located in Kitchener’s west-end Innovation District and head to the water feature and historic clock tower a few blocks away at the Gaukel Street entrance. There you can examine “The Luggage Project” by Ernest Daetwyler: eight carved suitcases that represent different eras in the city’s history and the new-comers and cultural diversity that characterize the city and Waterloo Region.
The Culinary Studio, Kitchener
Daily lunch could be soup and a salad, a burger, a smoked chicken sandwich, or a (so-called) Big Ass Burrito from this cooking school and event space. The Belmont Village is a charming, walkable and calm commercial block within a charming, established neighbourhood that is just about at the border of Kitchener and Waterloo.
MeMe’s Café and Food Shoppe, New Hamburg
Order a sandwich, a salad and a sweet with a coffee from MeMe’s Café in the hamlet of New Hamburg and head to banks of the Nith River just behind the café and only a few minutes’ walk away. The quaint town, by the way, was founded in 1854, so you can imagine the many visitors over the decades who might have enjoyed lunch by the river just like you.
EVO Kitchen, Cambridge
In a gorgeous refurbished downtown building that highlights an historic brick-and-beam construction, EVO Kitchen offers more than a dozen box lunch options that include a main course (including a fruit and cheese “board”), side, fresh-cut fruit, dessert and a bottle of water. Take it to Mill Race Park, Churchill Park or to one of the city’s walking trails.
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