Guelph residents looking for a quick, hot meal can enjoy freshly made food in the back of a convenience store along Edinburgh Road South.
Located at 245 Edinburgh Rd. S. The Blue Dahlia Bistro is a takeout and delivery restaurant offering Hungarian and central European food, including Hungarian goulash soup, chicken paprikas, langos, chicken schnitzel and more.
The restaurant is located inside A Quick Stop Variety, a convenience store. The owners of the convenience store, Mike and Sylvia Durcik, also own the Blue Dahlia Bistro. With their business, the couple hopes to raise more awareness within the City of Guelph about their freshly made food.
"I would describe it as home cooking, it's the old-fashioned, sturdy meal," Sylvia said about food at the Blue Dahlia Bistro.
"We're Hungarian so that's what we know how to do and figure there's not a lot of that around the area."
For those who may have never tried Hungarian food before, Mike explains the cuisine is very flavourful, using lots of spices, especially paprika, and is also calorie rich.
"It's the food we grew up on," he said, "Back in those days, people were looking for calories because they were doing all kinds of work by hand, and they needed the sustenance for it."
For residents who grew up with Hungarian food, Sylvia said there are some items on their menu they connect with their childhood, which they may not know how to make.
"We've had older seniors come in who say, 'Oh my God, I haven't had this in so long!' it takes them back," she said.
By offering other European dishes as well, the couple said they have lots of returning customers, including customers of Italian, German, Dutch and Serbian descent.
"We've had a good response from the Serbian community about those items," Sylvia said about their menu. "We try to offer a little bit of variety."
"Our most favourite part is the compliments we get on our cooking," adds Mike.
Starting with the convenience store on Gordon Street, Mike said he wanted to put out some quick grab food for customers, and the chef for a restaurant across the street had suggested to Mike he open his own takeout and restaurant business.
"My lease was coming up, so I let it expire, and I found a bigger location that could accommodate a kitchen and convenience store, so I moved to that location," said Mike.
Originally, Mike explains they were planning on running a Mediterranean themed-restaurant with a chef, but decided to go in a different direction after deciding to run the kitchen themselves.
"We closed that and opened the Blue Dahlia Bistro."
By offering Hungarian food for takeout and delivery, Mike mentions one challenge for their business has been getting customer's attention in food delivery apps.
"Some of the platforms, they don't specify Hungarian, or Serbian, so it's harder for people to find us if they don't know that we're here, so that's been the challenging part."
As a result, they encourage customers to order directly online at their website, bluedahliabistro.ca. Besides offering takeout and delivery, the Blue Dahlia Bistro also offers catering for large and midsize events. To see a menu, click here.
"Give us a call, tell us what you'd like, and we can make it."
The Blue Dahlia Bistro operates Tuesday to Sunday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.