Downlow Chicken Shack/The American
There are a few ways to satisfy a fried chicken craving around the city, but for my money (and yes, it’s not cheap), Downlow Chicken Shack is the way to go. One problem: there’s always a line, even during these times. And they don't do delivery, much to the chagrin of everybody. So while you can place an order and pick it up, you still end up waiting awhile, just because they’re always backed up.
That’s why I like calling up The American, which operates Downlow Burgers, and getting the OG Chicken Sando (the only chicken burg offered there, even though it's not on the current online menu). I've done it three times this quarantine with a very minimal wait. And yes, I realize I’m blowing up my own spot like a complete idiot. Sigh. Now that you’re going to ruin this for me, you might as well know that they also sell craft beer and cider. Double sigh. —Nathan Caddell, associate editor
... Or at least this would be my favourite take-out spot if they didn't keep selling out. Pre-pandemic (ah, yes, the Before Times), the husb and I would be there once a week, sharing a margarita pie and inhaling a big bowl of arugula salad that was probably intended for a family to share, and I honestly think losing this ritual has been one of the tougher parts of the pandemic. So when they announced they were ready to do takeout on weekends, I gleefully picked up the phone... only to find myself on the line with the busy signal. So I called again. And again. When someone finally picked up, it was only to tell me sheepishly that I was too late and they were out of dough for the night. I tried again the next weekend with similar results. I'm happy for them that things are going gangbusters but don't they realize my marriage and salad-intake are at stake here?!—Stacey McLachlan, executive editor
Say Mercy (and so many others)
I've hit the takeout pretty hard. I had some tuna conserva from Como, made my own pizza from Stable House, ordered pizza from Sprezzatura and I ruined a beautiful Prime striploin from Boulevard (that was a steal at $15) by taking my eye of the grill and over cooking it. Last night I had Chancho for Cinco de Mayo, which was solid and tonight I'm tucking into some Maui Ribs and Meatballs from Pepino's (I'll report back). But if I had to choose one meal it would be the Lasagna Family Meal from Say Mercy. It helps that it's the easiest on the pocketbook—$28 for a pan of bollo sauce lasagna (in going with the Italy meats BBQ theme it's less red sauce and more rich and creamy) and 8 Parker House rolls. It was enough for the four of us to eat and have leftovers and lasagna is one of those dishes that I hate cooking at home—the ingredients are always pricier than you think and then end result never more than 15% better than the frozen variety. Also Say Mercy is been a great leader with their Staff Meal program so a real win/wine here.
Wait: I forgot that I also got some insanely good pork belly from Masayoshi (who are also doing Staff Meal). Oh well. I'm not rewriting anything these days.—Neal McLennan, food editor
I'm a West Ender, and Score has long been my go-to locale. The service and patio were always just what you wanted—people who knew your name, lots of sunshine—and then a few years ago, the food was suddenly really great too. Not just "it's-good-for pub-food" good, but truly great: cauliflower wings, brie-stuffed burgers, loaded salads... and (miraculously, for me) gluten-free fried chicken dinners that became a go-to for my friends and I on Friday nights. Now that they've pivoted to take-out, they're (once again, miraculously for me) still on offer: two pieces of mango-fire marinated fried chicken, fries, slaw, cornbread and gravy.
I know the pandemic has me a little trigger happy with tears right now (a goddamn Telus commercial had me sobbing the other day), but I basically cried all over my excellent meal and called to thank them for keepin' on. (Score is also running a pay-it-Score-ward campaign right now, feeding families in need, with meals like the one pictured above. More tears of gratitude from me.) --Anicka Quin, editorial director
Every Friday is takeout day in my house—it’s our little way of rewarding ourselves for another week free of fighting, evictions, and anyone cutting their own bangs. The roommate group chat is flooded with Friday night dinner suggestions early in the week. Many factors are considered: selection, quality, price, distance from our house, and whether or not you have to speak to a human to order—because even being totally starved for human contact won’t make a millennial talk on the phone.
For Main Street Vietnamese Anh and Chi, though, we will. And we did. Or should I say, I did, after my roomies (who both ordered the easy-to-pronounce Om bowl) decided that it was only fair I take on the burden (I got the Bún Thịt Nướng Chả Giò Tôm). My meal—a noodle bowl with perfectly grilled chicken, crispy spring rolls, and tender prawns—was as delicious as it was embarrassing to order. Curse my mono-and-a-half-lingualism. It was a step up from our regular takeout picks, and definitely a do-over. Seems culturally responsible of me to order it at least once a month to improve my pronunciation. Plus, the Anh and Chi folks are a lot nicer than the Duolingo owl.—Alyssa Hirose, contributing editor