Eating & Drinking

Vegetarian and biodegradable: Is Selfmade the future of fast food?

Meet Selfmade, the newest juice bar and vegetarian café in Sandy Hill. With a goal of changing the way Ottawans think about fast food, at Selfmade it’s all about making conscious choices — clean eating (veggie and vegan burgers and bowls) and clean drinking (think hyper-healthy smoothies) with a minimal environmental impact. It bills itself as ‘the future of fast food’.

Though Selfmade is targeted at all health-conscious residents of Sandy Hill, owner Bashar Jundi has made a savvy calculation in locating his newest eatery on the ground floor of a University of Ottawa residence.

Photo courtesy Selfmade

“Millennials are always on top of new trends,” he explains, adding that this generation of health-conscious trend adapters care not only about their health but about how their eating decisions impact the environment.

Indeed, Jundi knows a thing or two about being on the leading edge of a trend, having opened Juice Monkey in the downtown core a decade ago — in other words, before the juice craze hit peak. Selfmade also just happens to be right beside Anytime Fitness, making it a perfect post-workout stop.

Unlike many veggie restaurants that trade on the hippie-dippy vibe, Selfmade is cool and slick. In other words, it’s looking to the future rather than the past. It’s also fast food without the garbage guilt — all the packaging is biodegradable.

Photo courtesy Selfmade

The Name
One of the unique selling points at Selfmade is that each menu item is customizable. Customers can order off the menu, but can also design their own smoothies or burgers based on preferences and dietary restrictions. Jundi came up with “Selfmade” as the embodiment of that idea — an empowering word that “clicked” with what the café is all about.

The Menu
With a decade under his belt at Juice Monkey, Jundi realized that though veggie-focussed restaurants have multiplied in recent years, vegetarians and vegans still have few options when it comes to takeout and fast food. “I feel that this is the perfect time to go all-in on the concept,” said Jundi, who teamed up with a friend with culinary expertise to fine-tune Selfmade’s fast-food menu. Just two weeks in, he says the smoothies and vegan burgers are the biggest sellers, with customers loving being able to put their own spin on everything they eat or drink.

Sample Menu Items:
The G.O.A.T. smoothie (a.k.a. the most popular smoothie): Spinach, broccoli, pineapple, banana, mango.

The Carrate Kick Burger: Featuring a veggie patty made with carrot, paprika, sriracha, golden raisin, and pumpkin seed. Brioche or pretzel bun.

The Beets Meet Burger: Featuring a veggie patty made with beets, cumin, walnut, and fig. Brioche or pretzel bun.

Bowls: Served on organic quinoa or brown rice with one sliced veggie patty (patties are made with oats, quinoa, onion, and pea protein) and any four toppings.

All-Day Breakfast Egg Buns: Served with one egg and any three toppings.

Coconut Milk Lattes: Matcha, turmeric, dark cocoa, or beetroot options.

Find it: 261 Laurier Avenue E. Open daily, noon to 9 p.m.

Prices: Smoothies ($5 for 12 oz, $6 for 16 oz, $7 for 24 oz); burgers from $8; bowls $11.

Photo courtesy Selfmade