This rock chest: Guelph’s Lucky Belly chests totally bring it on

The Lucky Belly Food Co. is located on Woolwich Street in Guelph.

If I had Drothers, I’d choose a fried chicken squash and waffle sandwich with bacon and maple butter sauce, a nicely roasted pork taco with garlic aioli, or Sammy’s braised “black and blue” beef stuffed with sweet caramel onions, aioli and a sharp blue cheese flavor.

Oh, I also like to slip in a side of mac and cheese bites (maybe not in one sitting).

These and other dishes are available at Lucky Belly Food Co. , an independent casual dining venue that shares a parking lot with a traditional retail mall and franchises, on the corner of Woolwich Street and Woodlawn Road East.

The building is a former fish and chips joint. Before that, she was the dairy queen. It’s now a busy restaurant and fast food counter that hosts takers, delivery drivers, and customers.

The kitchen, led by owner Dino Rommel, is usually mobile – the 45-seat restaurant serves, with another 25 on the patio.

Rommel, founder of Guelph’s Greek Garden which he sold in 2007, opened Lucky Belly with John Meheles six years ago this month. He was the sole owner for about a year and a half.

“People used to call asking if we had chicken balls,” Rommel says, referring to the nickname Lucky Bailey.

“John is credited with that. People eat here and their stomachs are happy,” he said. “It’s a lucky belly.”

The food is freshly made, and although it’s designed for quick service, it’s “home made, so everything takes a little longer than fast food,” says Rommel, who is also the Guelph Royals field manager for the Intercounty Baseball League.

Products are delivered three times a week, and the restaurant supports Guelph breweries. The robust pick-up and delivery business has grown, in addition to catering to the needs of local businesses, since COVID-19.

Topping the current menu are Lucky Belly tacos with international flavors that you can pair with your sliders: fish taco, along with po’boy shrimp, Caribbean beef with slaw, pulled pork and Thai tacos with satay peanuts and pineapple (with gluten-free options ).

There are also 10 sandwich combinations, bearing the same interest in international flavours, which include a range from cheddar jalapeno to hummus falafel, and a black bean and quinoa sandwich with sriracha.

Among the ten sides are guacamole, New Orleans-style broccoli and cheddar patties, and unique beet fries, along with spanakopita and roasted Brussels sprouts.

Desserts include a favorite Carnival funnel cake and half a dozen palettes, Mexican fruit lollipops. They also sell several popular vinaigrettes and garlic aioli. There is a children’s menu as well.

Oftentimes, I’d give in to my companions, but at Lucky Belly there are some main menu areas occupied by five “healthy boxes” which can be spicy, vegan, vegan, and gluten-free.

Boxes, which are popular with companies and sports teams looking for healthy food options, can be eaten as a salad or as a meal.

Define a starch base and add a protein: The idea, in general, is different combinations and mix and match at Lucky Belly.

You can get a choice of brown rice or greens (for $2 quinoa) in a small or large box. Chicken, fish, shrimp, falafel and tofu are toppings. I found a large chest, which proved to contain a lot of food.

Cancun is sweet corn and black beans with sauerkraut, jalapeno, lime cider vinegar and avocado, while I also enjoyed the V-Power with kale, roasted sweet potatoes, chickpeas, and dill vinaigrette.

Druthers notwithstanding, healthy bins make eating fun, and they’ve been very popular, Rommel says, despite the confusion that logging out on top can sometimes cause.

“Lucky Belly’s name is unusual, but the food is great.”

Andrew Copolino is a Kitchener-based food writer and broadcaster. Visit him at andrewcoppolino.com.

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