IS EVERYTHING 100% VEGAN?
You bet. Everything we serve at Parka is 100% vegan, plant-based, and free of all animal products. In fact, everything we do is based on fresh vegetables and high quality, all-natural ingredients, without any artificial flavours, colours, additives, and preservatives.
DO YOU REALLY MAKE EVERYTHING FROM SCRATCH?
Absolutely. Everything we serve (with the exception of bread, pasta, and desserts) is made in-house from scratch, including all sauces, aiolis, soups, and sodas.
WHY THE NAME “PARKA”?
When you break it down, the word “PARK” represents nature and all things “natural”, and the word “PARKA” represents a jacket and “comfort.” Combine the two and it describes our food perfectly – “natural comfort” food. Plus, it’s also a Canadian word which is pretty cool.
DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING THAT IS GLUTEN-FREE?
Yes, we have quite a number of gluten-free options including our portobello burger and all of our macs which can be done gluten-free. In addition, our soups, fries, fries poutine, and coleslaw are all naturally gluten-free. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee anything to be 100% gluten-free though as our kitchens are not certified environments.
DO YOU SOURCE LOCALLY?
Yes, we source locally as much as we can and we wish our local climate allowed us to do so more often. Luckily for us, some of our key vegetables including mushrooms, carrots, and potatoes are available to us all year round from local farms. Sourcing locally is something we care a lot about and strive to do as much as possible.
WHAT’S UP WITH YOUR PACKAGING?
As a quick service restaurant we need to use disposable packaging, but we do try our best to use the most sustainable solution available. Unfortunately, being sustainable is not always straightforward, and what that means is we all must first do our due diligence first and consider the limitations of waste collection programs available to us before deciding on the best course of action.
OK, BUT WHAT’S UP WITH ALL THE PLASTIC CUTLERY AND CUPS ETC.? WHY DON'T YOU USE BIODEGRADABLE PLASTIC INSTEAD?
As much as we like the idea of biodegradable plastics, we deliberately chose to use regular plastic instead of biodegradable plastic for several reasons. In our quest to find the most sustainable solutions, we did a lot of research and spoke with city officials on several occasions. To our dismay, what we learned is that biodegradable plastic is not the most eco-friendly solution as most people would believe. See here for some key facts:
After learning that biodegradable plastic isn’t all that great (i.e. it doesn’t really biodegrade and is not recyclable either), we made a conscious decision. We decided to go with regular plastic, because at least it can be recycled and reduce the need to create new plastic, thereby making it the most sustainable solution at this point in time.
OK, THEN WHAT ABOUT COFFEE CUPS? I HEARD THEY AREN’T RECYCLABLE.
Yes, you are right about that one. Coffee cups (and other poly coated paper packaging) are technically recyclable but not under our municipal blue bin recycling program. From our research, we learned that the city of Toronto looked into a pilot program to recycle coffee cups (and other poly coated paper packaging) in the past but declined to roll out the program for undisclosed reasons.
The good news is that we did some legwork of our own and figured out a solution to recycle those dreaded coffee cups (and other poly coated paper packaging). With a little bit of effort, we were happy to discover a private waste management company that actually recycles poly coated paper packaging. As a result, virtually everything that is used and disposed of in our location is either composted or recycled with very little waste going to the landfill.