a peek inside the fishbowl

12 Dec, 2017

A peek inside the new Farm Boy at the Rideau Centre

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa|Recipes and Food

Last week I had the opportunity to check out the new Farm Boy at the Rideau Centre before it opened to the public.

I arrived a bit early and milled around the entrance near Shoppers. I waited five or ten minutes and in that time at least a dozen regular Rideau shoppers stopped to poke their heads in the door – like, they actually opened a door to what is obviously a construction area – to sneak a peek. If they saw a human being on the other side, many of whom were construction crew, they’d ask if the store was open yet.

This is how excited people were to welcome Farm Boy to downtown Ottawa.

New Farm Boy in Ottawa, Rideau Centre

When they first announced the new location I wasn’t actually able to wrap my head around it. There have been so many changes at Rideau that I couldn’t picture where it was going to go. Well, if you’re standing on the corner of Rideau and Sussex, the main entrance is a stone’s throw down Rideau Street. If you’re inside, the other entrance is ground level next to Shoppers Drug Mart. Also, it’s right next to the future LRT entrance/exit. (!) Frankly, this location is quite the coup for Farm Boy as thousands of people will be walking past it every day.

New Farm Boy in Ottawa, Rideau Centre

New Farm Boy in Ottawa, Rideau Centre

You have to descend a few steps to get into the store. (Note that it is also accessible via a small lift on the right side of the staircase):

New Farm Boy in Ottawa, Rideau Centre

I would describe the downtown Farm Boy as a compact version of the store with major emphasis on takeaway. There is a big hot food bar and salad bar, as well as the kind of grab & go coolers you see at other locations. There is sushi, as well as their famous pizza oven, which bakes a fabulous thin-crust pizza in a matter of minutes. (If you haven’t tried it yet, I must insist you do.) Speaking of hot meals, I chatted with Chef Josh Drache while I was there. He’s the executive chef at Farm Boy. THIS is a guy who is passionate about food. In fact, talking to him makes me very hungry. The thing he seems the most excited about, and rightly so, is the installation of a super grill at this location. There’ll be an ever-changing menu of grilled foods available: sausages, burgers, stir-fries, GOURMET GRILLED CHEESE etc. Oh, did I mention the grill will be open early for breakfast Monday to Friday? Commuters and other early birds can drop by at 6:30 a.m.

Also, check out the fantastic price on coffee:

Coffee at the New Farm Boy in Ottawa, Rideau Centre
A latte for $2.49? That is a deal and a half!

There’s also a butcher, fresh produce, cheese, and other grocery items, including a selection of their house-brand products.

Inside the New Farm Boy in Ottawa, Rideau Centre

Farm Boy gelato

Not pictured here: a small seating area at the front end of the store. So you can hunker down and eat your pizza right on the spot if you so desire.

I think the jury is still out regarding volume. I couldn’t help but wonder what it will be like if they’re making 50 pizzas and 30 stir fries for hungry people at 12:05, but they are already working on ways to ease potential bottlenecks if they arise. The goal is, of course, to make it easy for people to grab breakfast or lunch, and a few groceries for dinner too.

All this to say, it was a whirlwind tour but I am looking forward to going back.

Have you checked out the Rideau location of Farm Boy? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

P.S. If you’re thinking of outsourcing Christmas dinner this year and looking for a review of the Farm Boy Christmas dinner, you can find that post in my archives. I’ve had a number of people ask me about it so I thought I’d drop the link here.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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