#Peopleofcanary: Copper Branch
When did you open in Canary District?
We opened in mid-November of 2020, right before the first lockdown.
Why did you open a Copper Branch in Canary?
This restaurant was opened in honour of my father who has since passed away.
It all started with my father being diagnosed with a very rare cancer, peritoneal cancer, and at the time there weren’t many treatment options because it was such a rare cancer. I went back to school to learn about nutrition and other methods to try to support his treatments. When they discover it usually it’s at Stage 4 so at that point you’re really just trying to prolong life, you’re not trying to cure it. I saw that there were a lot of studies behind eating plant-based diets in order to support patients when they go through chemo and potentially extend their life while they’re battling cancer.
At the time I was a flight attendant, and me travelling the world while my father was doing treatment wasn’t really doable. So my company gave me the position of Health and Safety Officer, where I would fly back and forth to Montreal but I would work from home. In Montreal is where I found Copper Branch, it’s actually a French-Canadian company.
My dad was treated at Mount Sinai, and throughout his treatments, it was very hard to find a restaurant that provided a healthier takeout. I used to have to walk 10-15 minutes to find something in the path because really there was only fast food. I tried to bring lunches but sometimes when they’re in chemo they don’t want to eat what was brought for lunch or you’re in a rush and you forgot to pack a lunch or you forgot to bring it. That is why I opened this restaurant, to give people an alternative to fast food. If you’re in a rush and you need to do takeout you don’t necessarily have to do a burger and fries (not that there’s anything wrong with that) but it’s always nice to have a healthier option, especially when you’re going through a tough time and you really need that extra support through your diet.
Why pick a plant-based restaurant?
I think so many people default to meat as a protein source, but there are so many other options out there, whether you’re cutting back for environmental reasons or just to try to be a bit healthier, I want to show people that vegetarian can be delicious. A lot of people when they see plant based they think 1980’s bland, tofu, and they don’t take the chance to try. When they do, they like it and I see them coming back for more.
Is this how you eat day-to-day?
Plant-based now has so many new categories, once upon a time it was just vegan or vegetarian and now there’s Lacto-ovo vegetarian, pescatarian and now the newest one, which is something I do myself because I find it’s the best thing for my stomach is flexitarian. So even before flexitarian was called flexitarian I was already practicing it, it’s basically 80% plant-based and the other 20% leave room for other types of food. And now athletes have made it well known, Tom Brady and Arnold Schwarzenegger are flexitarians and they claim it’s led them to have longer careers in sports and so forth. For me, it’s more of I’ve always had issues with digestion and it works so well for me.
Vanessa and Anthony bring the compost home from their business and use it to fertilize their home garden. “Why waste it?” says Vanessa. “If I am capable of bringing it home and using it then I will.” They also drive an electric car to work every day right here in Canary!
Vanessa and Anthony also partner with Eco-conscious and health-driven companies to supplement their already amazing menu. “I want to choose companies that are doing something different, companies with a conscience who are making a great impact in some way.” Says Vanessa. “There are so many amazing things being done in the space, I want to pick items I’m proud to have on the shelf.” A few examples are below:
Sapsucker is organic, sparkling tree water. Sapsucker is plant-based and nutrient rich, powered by 46 naturally occurring minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. Sapsucker is tapped in Canada from a sustainable source.
Loop’s mission is a circular economy project that aims to reduce food waste by repurposing the outcasts of the food industry. In a nutshell, they save fruits and veggies that are rejected because they don’t have the proper shape, size or shelf life that is not long enough to survive the cycle of distribution. They transform them into awesome cold pressed juices.
World Moss is Canada’s first and leading all Sea Moss company based in Toronto. Sea Moss is a nutrient dense red algae seaweed that contains over 90% of the minerals in which the human body is made. Sea Moss is incredibly versatile and in gel form can be used topically or in food and drink.
Vegan eggs made from Mung beans, one of the most sustainable plants on Earth, using 98% less water, 83% less land and 93% fewer CO2 emissions than chicken eggs.
The tastiest and healthiest kombucha going around: it contains no sugar, naturally, and is chock-full of all the right stuff: live cultures, organic acids and antioxidants.
Find all this and more at Copper Branch Canary, and thanks so much to Vanessa and Anthony for speaking with us about their amazing restaurant! Stay tuned for more #peopleofcanary!