With Covid still causing problems for dine-in, we’re still eating plenty of takeout in Nanaimo. Here are our thoughts on what we’ve recently tried. You can find the rest of our takeout opinions here!
Hungry Rooster Kitchen
Here’s a fun little spot on Bowen, just beside the Subway. It’s perfect for rainy night takeout, or for all you hospitalers on your way home from work. Hungry Rooster is a Polish perogy shop (interestingly, not Ukrainian) and they have a number of perogy combos and other entrees to take away hot. Because they also wholesale their food, you can also pick up large freezer packs to take home and cook up yourself later.
Well straight up, the food is good. The perogies are not particularly distinct from others you may have had, but they’re well-made and there’s plenty of variety to choose from. See the picture of the Polka Combo above. There’s also the Slapdown sandwich, a monster grilled cheese and bacon sandwich with perogies in it. This is the kind of ludicrous food idea we just love and we order one pretty much every time we visit. It’s a massive meal on its own.
Also, while not relevant for us, there are a number of vegan and gluten-free options on the menu, which is great to see.
Two small issues here. First, this should not be considered a healthy option. The Slapdown is obvious but even a perogy combo will have plenty of fat for your expanding gut.
The other small issue is that the prices are a smidge on the high side. A typical combo will run you around $15, and the Slapdown is $12. If each of those were $2 cheaper, we wouldn’t give it a second thought.
We like Hungry Rooster! It’s not a spot we hit super regularly, but for those times when you want something to really warm and fill you up this is a great option.
Chick to Sea Express
Recently popping onto the scene in Nanaimo is Chick to Sea Express, a fast food joint operating out of the old Baby Salsa Express location on Terminal. (For those of you super old like us, it’s by the now closed downtown White Spot.) Their thing is fried chicken and also fish and chips. Seems unusual, but on second thought, why isn’t this more common? Initial responses had been good, so we were eager to check it out.
The funny thing is that nothing really stood out as particularly excellent at Chick to Sea, but it’s important to note that all elements of this little shop are nonetheless well-executed. Reasonably good chicken and above-average fried fish, served hot and fresh, paired up with friendly service, and so we left quite happy with our order.
Oh yeah. We really likes the fries. They were extra-salty, as fast food fries should be, and we gobbled them up.
We thought they were a bit skimpy on the halibut portion for the $16.50 price tag. The piece we received amounted to six bites. It’s maybe not a huge issue, though. Halibut is never cheap. (Pinkies out!)
However, what is a bigger issue is the facilities and location. The dumpy old KFC building is in rough shape and there are NO lights in the parking lot. It’s also right across the street from a supportive housing block, so we can imagine some potential patrons not being super comfortable there. That said, while we were interested in takeout this time, you can also order for delivery, mitigating these issues.
We’re optimistic about Chick to Sea. The food was certainly good and the prices fair (except that issue with the fish portion). Service was friendly and the food was ready quickly. Basically, we’re really happy with what came out of the kitchen, so here’s hoping the shop finds some success in its location and can expand and improve its premises. We will be back to see how they fare, and you should try them too.
Now you can have ferry food at home! Woo! Seriously though, most people agree that White Spot makes a good burger, so it’s cool that they’ve spun off their burger menu into a fast food joint… or is it?
Triple O’s is located at Country Club Centre, just by Original Joe’s. They have a dining room, takeout option, and also a drive through.
A spicy crunch chicken burger and a $6 shake. Crispy onion rings. The basic burger ($5 on Tuesdays).
Well the good news is that the good burgers from White Spot have made the transition to fast food mostly unscathed. Triple O’s won’t win any awards for presentation, but taste is king with this kind of food, and the burgers are good. The milkshake was also excellent.
Well let’s see here. The dining room was COLD AF. We were eating in this time (yeah, yeah, takeout feature, we know – but eating in at a fast food place is essentially the same thing) and it was so cold we had to keep our jackets on.
The service was essentially non-existent. The person taking our order was not unfriendly, but was just totally disinterested in any kind of service standard. It was like being served by someone who just got out of bed. We’ve had more pleasant interactions with vending machines.
The prices are not quite outrageous, but are high enough that it’s tough to swallow. Our order of the $5 basic burger combo and chicken burger with shake was still $30. Keep in mind this is just fast food – akin to maybe Wendy’s or A&W. Two normal combos in there will have you pushing $40, we expect. Too much.
You know, when you’re on the ferry, a $15 burger combo is fine. When you’re just looking for lunch, that kind of price for a mushed up burger combo is a bit silly. Triple O’s could make up for this if their staff were friendly, or is the service was super quick, or there was some kind of extra flourish with the food, but nope. So long as other premium fast food places (like Big Wheel) exist, this will likely be a pass for us. Good shakes though.