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Off the 'Eaten Path: Lucky Belly boxes and bottles up some fresh goodness

Decision driven by popularity of healthy boxes, food bowl trend

It’s a new year and what better time to re-evaluate your diet and opt for lighter meals after all the heavy holiday foods? With the current ban on indoor dining, something that transitions successfully from restaurant to home is Lucky Belly's healthy boxes.

The healthy boxes are prepped daily with both freshly chopped vegetables and house pickled vegetables. There is a choice of a bed of rice, salad greens or quinoa and optional protein. The choices tick all the boxes: keto, gluten friendly, vegetarian, vegan or spicy. With several options to choose from, each has a distinctive, house made vinaigrette.

A house favourite is the 'beet box' with shredded kale, pears, diced beets, feta cheese, shredded carrots, roasted honey peanuts, with arugula pesto vinaigrette. Add your choice of brown rice, greens or quinoa and optional protein. 

Recently, due to the popularity of their healthy boxes, the popular north end restaurant has offered the house dressings for take home purchase. 

Choose from balsamic vinaigrette, arugula pesto vinaigrette, avocado lime vinaigrette, lemon dill vinaigrette or garlic aioli. Available in a half-litre jar, it's perfect to dress a salad or add to an entree. Even the packaging, a mason jar, screams homemade. Use them for a salad or make your own rendition of a “food bowl." With five different dressings to choose from, the combinations are endless. My classic, homemade food bowl combines quinoa, baby greens, shaved carrots, pickled beets, pickled onions, goat’s cheese, sunflower seeds, and grilled chicken breast. The balsamic vinaigrette would finish this off nicely.

The food bowl trend started a few years ago in North America and is gaining popularity as it can satisfy all special diet requirements plus provide a complete, nutritional meal in one entree. 

Typically grains, vegetables and protein are all arranged side by side with the dressing on the side. They are visually beautiful and as we eat with our eyes first, this is a healthy dish we can’t get enough of. 

Although the healthy boxes are a customer favourite at Lucky Belly, they also have a full menu of delicious tacos, sandwiches, soups, sides, and desserts as well. Something of note is that all the dishes are all homemade, from scratch, not just the delicious dressings. 

When you make everything from scratch it adds to the prep time and labour costs, but the results speak for themselves. The seasoned chef/owner, Dino Roumeliotis, says this is the most labour-intensive menu he has ever had at one of his establishments. The result is what I call “clean food."

Many in Guelph’s baseball community know Roumeliotis as a baseball personality, but some may not know him as a successful restaurateur.

He is a co-founder of the Greek Garden here in Guelph and managed the largest dinner theatre in the country before venturing back to his roots here in Guelph. He opened Lucky Belly with seasoned restaurateur John Melehes in 2016, but since 2020 he has taken over as sole-owner.

The concept for the licensed Guelph eatery is unlike the usual local, casual eateries. I call it fresh and healthy, with just enough kicked up, diner favourites for when you have the urge to indulge.

Roumeliotis tells me that: “value, quality and consistency are rule number one," and I think he has successfully achieved that here. That, and the great customer service provided from staff that have mostly been here since inception in 2016. 

When you have a leader that was raised by lifelong restaurateurs who said things like: “Dino, make people feel like they are in your home and they will come back…,” you can’t help but have a winning combination. 

Now, I am eagerly awaiting the the reintroduction of their house-made, free, pickle bar with three varieties of pickles. Pickles are low calorie and healthy, right?