Scarborough has no shortage of Caribbean eateries and patty shops, but it’s long seemed its biggest mall and transit hub now serves chilled sorrel and soursop juice as well as spiced stuffed patties.
Enter Sam’s Juices, a relatively new addition to downtown Scarborough, located on the upper level near the entrance to the transit station. The Caribbean juice bar and pie was opened by Samuel Walters last December.
“There are a lot of Caribbean people here and people who grew up having a take-out galette,” Walters said, adding that her store opts for galettes from nearby Allan’s Patisserie. “They already know the food and it’s been a long time.”
Coming here is a bit of an escape, especially from the usual food court chaos. Instead, you’ll hear upbeat tunes and even see a familiar face behind the counter who will likely recognize you on repeat visits.
It’s an outlier in one of the busiest malls in the GTA. Not to mention this is an independent business opening in a large mall, a food company that isn’t a global chain at that – a rarity these days.
Walters came up with the idea four years ago after spotting a Caribbean juice bar at the end of a day of hiking in California. Recalling the pineapple and ginger juice his mother used to make him when he was a child, he decided to open one himself. (Yes, pineapple and ginger juice is on the menu at Sam’s Juices.)
It started with a food truck a year later, which eventually became part of the Street Eats Market, the food market on the edge of the parking lot in downtown Scarborough and Walters was then approached by mall management to take over a physical space.
The menu currently features a range of smoothies and juices, but it’s Walters’ mother’s sorrel, the spicy Jamaican hibiscus drink usually served at Christmas, that’s best for the coming summer. . Ginger and nutmeg are added to balance the sweetness.
The shop’s soursop juice is blended with lime, similar to a tropical lemonade that’s also great for hot days. It’s a bit lemony, tart and sweet with hints of apple, pear and berries. (Online descriptions of soursop, a creamy-textured fruit, also say it tastes like mango, pineapple, banana, and coconut.)
The sorrel and soursop options are not listed on the menu behind the counter at this time, but they are there. Just ask them.
Jamaican patties, Scarborough’s unofficial take-out snack, can be ordered plain, but at Sam’s, opt for the stuffed version: open and filled with lettuce, tomatoes, corn, shredded cheese, hot peppers and your choice of sauce (say yes with jerk sauce).
It’s a messy, gooey, feisty, sub-$5 snack that’s more complex in flavor and textures than any burger option at the food court.
The menu also features BBQ Chicken and Chickpea Tacos and Bowls, in addition to a bunch of “coming soon” items like Grapefruit Pineapple Ice Cream, and Jerk Chicken Roti.
For now, it’s nice to see that the mall is embracing being in the patty capital of Canada.
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