Lilly’s Lunches is a new one-woman and one-bike operation run entirely by Elizabeth Callahan. After growing weary with her day job, Callahan fled her cubicle and landed on a bicycle instead. Throughout the workweek, she pedals her way around the downtown core, dropping off brown-bagged lunches to office workers too busy to head out for a bite. We decided to join her on her route for a day’s deliveries.
A lifelong cyclist and longtime food lover, Callahan was able to get her sandwich business up and running within a couple of months. She works from a rented kitchen space at College and Bathurst, and then hand-delivers the goods via bicycle. Her green Pashley—procured from Curbside Cycle—is outfitted with a large wooden box that sits up front and is independent from the steering. Custom designed by Fugitive Glue’s Jano Badovinac, the basket features the logo, a set of locks and a removable shelf, all of which garners plenty of attention from onlookers. Should the need arise, the contraption can be unloaded and tucked into a fridge (though the food stays cool enough during the relatively short delivery period).
Each sandwich that Callahan makes is named after the person who inspired it. The Steve is named after her boyfriend who, after being fed endless veg sammies by a then-vegetarian Callahan, just wanted something with meat and cheese, in this case roast beef, hunks of Balderson cheddar, sprouts, caramelized onions and Callahan’s homemade spiced tomato butter, on a marble rye. For those still devout in their vegetarianism, the Lilly is a spinach wrap filled with grated beets and carrots, sprouts, spinach and slivered, roasted almonds, drizzled with a savoury sauce made of garlic, tamari and tahini. The pre-ordered lunches ($40 for a “membership” of four lunches, delivered on the same weekday for four consecutive weeks) come with a choice of side salad and house-baked treat—and even have a bike-spirational message tucked inside the bag.
A map of Callahan’s route: