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Red Lunchbox opens next week

The plant-based, egalitarian eatery is coming to Quinpool Road

click to enlarge Red Lunchbox opens next week
Red Lunchbox's new home

Michael Grove
 isn’t your average restaurateur. The owner of the soon to be Red Lunchbox (6172 Quinpool Road)—a plant-based restaurant slated to open on Tuesday—was inspired to open his own business after a brush with cancer, but his vision of a cooperative, collaborative workplace long predated his health scare.

“I’ve had plans, not even of having a restaurant but having an egalitarian business model. That is my passion that I’ve been trying to get out of the bowels of my mind for a really long time. I studied philosophy in school and I was always interested in capitalism and why there’s such a huge gap between the haves and have-nots,” says Groves. “For me to suddenly be in the recovery room with stitches on my throat—it’s not what I was expecting. Life just gives you turns and curves, and I figured now is the only time.”

With 17 years experience working in what he calls “transitory restaurant jobs” Groves had something different in mind for his neighbourhood eatery. Having his employees feel like they were working with him, not for him, was just as important as serving really good food.

“If I can pay everyone well and myself well it makes so much more sense than paying myself really well and paying everyone else not so well—then they don’t have satisfaction or care about the place and it just becomes another restaurant,” he says, adding that staff will be cross-trained in all front-of-house and back-of- house duties. “It will be a warm, engaging, thoughtful and very detail-oriented customer experience.”

Red Lunchbox will serve plant-based, whole food-focused dishes avoiding anything processed or meat substitutes and supporting local farmers and producers. Its sample menu hints at dishes like kombucha chimichurri gnocchi, mushu rancheros and a mint eggplant sandwich.

“The idea is to show that vegetables can be comforting and warm and filling,” says Groves. “and you could have every meal and really never think about the meat or animal component.”

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