When I first found out that Toronto was getting an all-vegan grocer, I was excited for two reasons. First, because I had recently visited Veganz in Hamburg and saw the incredible selection a 100% vegan grocery store can offer, and second, because I was living close enough to Good Rebel to check it out on opening day, which was Friday September 30.
I used to frequently visit and shop at Toronto's first vegan grocery store, Panacea, but it closed down years ago, so finding out about Good Rebel was very welcome news. I arrived around 1:30 and quickly noted the adorable chick logo on the store front, and knew I had come to the right place at 1591 Dundas Street West. Inside the grocer, I became star-struck by the selection, and after meeting co-founder Mercedes, she let me know that they were still in the process of adding more! The cozy space is organized in a way that makes browsing comfortable, which is great since there were so many products I wanted to check out.
Good Rebel's wide selection includes produce, bread, vegan pizzas, yogurts, ice creams, condiments, sauces, mock meat/chicken/fish products, soups, dressings, spices, cookies, granola bars, marshmallows, coconut bacon and more.
Oh, and cheese. So much cheese in fact, that there is a full refrigerator that is dedicated to the vegan cheese alone:
I was very happy to see my new favorite vegan cheese company Sheese there, as I had tried some samples at VegFest just a month before, and was so impressed by the taste of the cheddar option as well as how well it melted. But as soon as I saw the shop carried Vegan Toona, I knew that would be what I left the store with. I first saw Vegan Toona in Veganz and after leaving immediately regretted not buying it, so this was my second chance! I opted for the black pepper option and while it is a pricey product in general, I figured even if I loved it I would use it sparingly as a treat.
My first impression of Good Rebel was great and on top of the very exciting variety offered, it also includes a very warm and welcoming atmosphere--especially thanks to the extremely friendly and sweet co-founders Mercedes and Mohseen. While it is a fantastic spot for the city's vegans and vegetarians, it is also a great place for veg-curious folks to come and see what kinds of incredible options plant-based living offers. As stated on the Facebook page:
"Dearest amigos- yesterday marked the beginning of an endeavour very close to our hearts. We aim to bring animal-free grocery alternatives to the kitchens of this fine city. We aren't here to covert or judge, just to show you love and great meal options. Let us know what you think and want to see. We're a wee team with a bunch of heart, and while we're not perfect, we're pretty sure we're here for the right reasons and want to share them with you."
Photo Credit: Photos 2 & 3 from Good Rebel Facebook