Enter Basil Box: A healthy eatery inspired by Southeast Asian streetfood and specializing in make-your-own Thai/Vietnamese boxes. Tucked just outside Ryerson University at Yonge and Dundas, it's easy to see why the airy restaurant draws in so many passersby, student and beyond. Complete with floor to ceiling windows and a vibe that's equally welcoming for quick take-out or sit-down lunch, the space is the brainchild of Peter, who opened the first location in Mississauga’s Square One in July 2015. Much to the delight of Toronto foodies, in 2016, he opened two additional locations in the city proper – one in the downtown core and one at Queen and Spadina.
Investors were initially skeptical of the idea of creating traditional Southeast Asian flavours with customizable, fresh ingredients. Not to mention, leaving the corporate world was a risk. But despite it all, Basil Box immediately thrived, thanks to a holistically focused business model that begins with the food.
“We use real lemongrass, real kaffir lime leaves, real galangal – no powders, just fresh ingredients,” boasts Peter. It’s no surprise then that Basil Box appeals to health-focused and environmentally conscious millennials. The restaurant includes vegan and gluten-free options, along with recyclable food packaging made from bagasse (sugarcane fibre).
Peter isn’t stopping at few locations within the GTA. They plan to expand their operations across Ontario and Canada. “We want to be like Starbucks, in the way that people love carrying a Starbucks cup,” says Peter. "We want our guests to feel proud carrying our Basil Box bags."
And while there may be a few Thai and Vietnamese fast-casual restaurants out there, the two are confident that there’s nothing quite as wholesome as Basil Box." >