There is something special about finding that little neighbourhood spot, off the beaten path away from the restaurant chains, offering freshly-made food that entices your taste buds.
One hidden gem for takeout and delivery in Timmins is Sue’s Variety on Commercial Avenue.
The variety store has been there for years. Since it was taken over by former employee Suzanne Belair, the kitchen has exploded with a variety of new flavours.
Born and raised in Timmins, she makes sure the business caters to the customers.
“I worked this store before. When he decided to close it, that’s when my husband said I should take it over,” Belair said. “I took it over in November 2019. It always had subs. I decided to go bigger about a year ago.”
With an expanded menu, Sue’s Variety has a number of unique offerings you won’t find in many convenience stores.
Under subs, there are the usual offerings of assorted, ham, chicken, turkey, meatball and salami. But there are a number of specialty subs such as BLT, taco, cheeseburger, steak and cheese, chicken parm and pizza.
Belair credits assistant manager Melissa Michaud with the menu expansion.
“She experiments all the time,” she said. “She brainstorms and tries things. If it works, we go with it.”
For pizza lovers, there is a pizza sub, a garlic bread pizza, and, of course, pizzas.
“The chicken parmesan sub is popular,” Michaud said. “It is boneless chicken, breaded then, baked.”
Add the sauce and cheese, plus any additional toppings, and this sub provides hungry customers with a little taste of Italy.
Subs are available in six-inch or foot-long sandwiches. And any sub can be done up as a wrap or a salad.
There are a lot more than just subs coming from the kitchen, including a treat from Canada’s East Coast.
The donair, similar to a Greek gyro, was just added to the menu.
“No one else in town is doing them. We had a request from a customer," Michaud said. "I researched a couple of recipes, tried a few things. I got the sauce right away and experimented with the meat.
“He came back and said they were pretty good.”
Another big seller is spaghetti. Belair makes the sauce herself. It is offered daily, until it runs out.
“Our spaghetti sauce doesn’t last,” she said. “Every two days, I have to make a new batch. It’s very popular.”
There are also burgers, clubhouse sandwiches, bacon grilled cheese, house salad and Caesar salad. But you will not find anything deep-fried.
‘We don’t do fries. We don’t fry anything,” Belair said. “We do potato wedges.”
Wedges can be served plain, poutine style or in special Mexi Bowl, with taco meat and toppings.
There is now a children’s menu, for families with young ones not quite ready to tackle the bigger items.
“Just added a kids’ menu too,” Michaud said. “Grilled cheese (with bacon), wedges and a cookie. All of our cookies are homemade as well.”
There are also kids’ meals featuring a hot dog or a burger with wedges and cookie.
Dinner for two is always on the menu. There are two can dine sub specials with pop, spaghetti for two with pop and garlic bread with cheese, two can dine club house platters with a choice of salad or wedges and pop, and donair platters with a choice of wedges or salad and pop. There is also a date night special, featuring two medium three-topping pizzas and a two-litre pop.
“My pizzas are very popular,” Belair said. “Either by the slice or you can call in and order whatever you want.”
Sue’s Variety offers pickup or delivery, including debit payment options at the door.
“We can also deliver pretty much anything from the store with the orders, but not lottery tickets,” she said.
Currently, orders are taken by phone. Michaud said they are working on a website, which will offer customers another way to order. By following them on Facebook, you can view the daily specials.
Don’t forget, Sue’s is a full variety store as well and even offers hand-knitted items such as slippers, dishcloths and stove hand towels, plus face masks for adults and children.
Both Michaud and Belair enjoy their work.
“I really love being in the kitchen and making things, taking the customers’ feedback,” Michaud said.
“I love it,” Belair said. “The response has been excellent.
“A lot of the customers, we knew before. They just keep coming back. And I get very good reviews.”
Sue’s Variety is located at 332 Commercial Ave.
The variety store is open Monday to Saturday from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Kitchen hours are Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Takeout and delivery is available by phone at 705-531-5440. Follow them on Facebook.