When we think of fast food, visions of super-sized fries, grease-soaked paper bags, and mini ketchup packets dance in our heads. For years we’ve sacrificed fresh for fast, but a revolution is stirring in Edmonton’s quick-service restaurant industry. Weekday lunches have a whole new look — top-quality, carefully sourced ingredients packaged as convenient to-go options. Here are four fantastic lunch spots that are redefining Edmonton’s fast-food scene.
Press’d: The Sandwich Co.
Rush: 12 pm to 12:45 pm
Wait: 5 to 7 minutes
Press’d has made it their business to impress customers with high-quality, made-to-order sandwiches. This Edmonton-born franchise combines out-of-the-box ingredients (like cumin brown sugar apples and raspberry chipotle honey mustard) with fresh-baked bread made from scratch. The result? A first-rate experience you wouldn’t expect from the fast-food realm. Of 16 sandwich varieties, customers most often choose the California Club (think classic BLT sandwich stepped up with chicken, Swiss cheese and house-made guacamole). Their Broccoli Crunch Salad (made daily) also deserves a shout out — customers can’t seem to get enough.
Four locations: 10200-102 Ave; 10377-78 Ave.; 11214 Jasper Ave.; 3384 Gateway Blvd.
The Chopped Leaf
Rush: 11:30 am to 1 pm
Wait: About 5 minutes
With their entire menu revolving around fresh vegetables, The Chopped Leaf proves processed fast-food lunches can be a thing of the past. About 75 per cent of The Chopped Leaf’s busy lunch-time customers opt for a salad or whole bowl (a salad and brown rice combo), their top picks being the Popeye, Sunshine, and Bangkok salads. This popular lunch spot makes salad exciting with dressings like chipotle lime, chipotle ranch, and peanut cilantro, but some would say it’s their Chopped Water — water infused with fruit, veggie and herb combinations like apple-orange-lemon, apple-basil, and cucumber-mint — that keeps them coming back.
Two locations: 10155-102 St.; 3356 Gateway Blvd.
Fifendekel Pie Shop Café
Rush: 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Wait: 5 to 10 minutes
Fifendekel is well-known in Edmonton as a favourite (you guessed it) pie shop, but it’s their create-your-own sandwich counter, and made-fresh-daily soups and salads that make this quick-serve restaurant a top choice for fresh, healthy fare. As a family-run business, Fifendekel serves the sort of home-style lunches your mom might make — almost every dish or ingredient from their kitchen is a family recipe. Roast beef and turkey are cooked and sliced in-house; egg, tuna, and chicken salad mixes are made from scratch each morning; and customers return again and again for their famous sunflower bread.
Four locations: 3434-99 St.; 9154-51 Ave.; 10646-170 St.; 12028-149 St.
Sunterra Market (Salad Bar)
Rush: 11:30 am to 1:30 pm
Wait: 5 to 7 minutes
If you think salad bars went out with Sony Walkmans and Ernest P. Worrell movies, think again. It’s true, nowadays a good salad bar can be hard to find, but local downtown office professionals look no further than Sunterra Market. Sunterra’s discerning customers not only want a healthy lunch fast, but also appreciate variety. Salad bar selections range from classic toppings like chopped veggies, fruit, cheese, and hard-boiled eggs to unique options like pickled beets, olives, green chickpeas, tofu, and hot, carved meats like roasted chicken and beef (straight from Sunterra’s own farm).
10150 Jasper Ave.