Two years ago, Carol Belmonte parlayed her talents as a personal chef into building a thriving raw food delivery business, Belmonte Raw. And while her customers might be disappointed to learn that she’s phasing out her popular boxed-lunch delivery service, the good news is that she’s making way for the opening of her first retail location on Queen East, set to open this June.
Belmonte Raw Boutique, a raw food takeout spot and juice bar, will feature a changing menu of boxed meals ($12-$14) as well as an organic juice bar. Boxed raw meals will include “spaghetti and meatballs” comprised of shredded zucchini and squash with nut and herb “meatballs,” or the “chakra salad,” an arugula and spinach salad topped off with a rainbow of tomato, shredded carrot, yellow peppers, green beans, blueberries and purple cabbage with an herbed white wine vinaigrette. Everything will be dairy-free, gluten-free, sugar-free and with few exceptions, organic and free of animal products.
Belmonte’s popular gourmet raw desserts, like the peanut butter cups that can currently be found at Torito, will also be on hand. Torito’s executive chef, Luis Valenzuela, is helping put the kitchen together and will be on site to hire and train kitchen staff. Also available will be “elixirs:” shots of herbal remedies meant to pack a healthy punch ($4). The foods will be available as one-off snacks and meals or as part of a series of cleansing systems that already have a loyal following.
“They’re feeling so much healthier,” Belmonte says of those who indulge in her cleanses. “Their skin glows, and their eyes get really bright.”
For Belmonte, teaching is a big part of what she does, and she plans to invite customers in for classes on food preparation.
Belmonte Raw Boutique, 1022 Queen Street East