Dora’s Delicatessen & Catering
With a strong family history on Ottawa Street the Grover’s are no strangers to the food business. Owner Dora began her career as a catering manager at the iconic Beach Road Meats and by 1993 all four children had joined the team. Daughter and now Executive Chef and Owner of Dora’s Delicatessen & Catering, Mary, recalls her time at Beach Rd as a 13 year old who’s main tasks included cleaning old buckets and helping out on the floor. It was an experience that eventually led her to pursuing her Red Seal Chef certification – an achievement that Mary has worked towards all her life.
In 2000 Dora and husband Bob decided it was time for change when they saw an opportunity to purchase the building across the street from Beach Rd on Ottawa Street. In 2000 they opened Dora’s Delicatessen & Catering. With a strong catering background the business took off and they found themselves with a steady client base catering funeral homes, corporate office lunches and feeding the steel plant workers. In 2008 daughter Mary started back working with her parents and noticed a growing trend in the DIY Wedding market. The concept relied on bringing off site catering into unconventional wedding venues. It was the perfect fit for Dora’s and Mary decided it was time to see the business evolve. While catering is still a very large part of the business, their shop also serves walk in traffic for grab and go lunches, prepared dinners and a variety of homemade desserts, pies, squares and cookies.
The family has been a part of Ottawa Street for over 30 years, with their family home located only two blocks away Mary recalls spending a lot of her early years shopping and dining on Ottawa Street. She now lives in the east end with husband Sean and daughter Bella, she loves being able to raise her daughter here and experience the ever evolving neighbourhood. When COVID hit they were in the process of mapping out their 2020 wedding season. They were booked solid with catering gigs and were still independently running the deli. When schools closed Sean and Mary decide to close the doors to the deli and self quarantine at home with Bella. It was a time where like many small business owners, they had to think outside the box.
Mary quickly developed a delivery menu and offered contactless home deliveries. She was determined to get home cooked meals into the hands of their loyal community members. Some days this meant delivering just 10 meat pies to a regular customer in Dunville. An unexpected challenge arose from COVID when Mary and her husband were faced with running a business in a state of quarantine, making daily deliveries and homeschooling daughter Bella. It was a lot, says Mary. So she took some sound advice from a friend and her mother Dora and decided to shift the pressure of teaching a scheduled lesson plan to keeping Bella stimulated around the home. Sean decided to start a garden and the pair taught Bella about the value of home grown produce, she was able to use these very ingredients to help Mary prepare meals each evening. These are life skills Belly will carry with her forever, and certainly can’t be taught in a classroom. Their backyard garden flourished and they were soon sending bundles of fresh picked herbs free with each home delivery as an added bonus. Just another example of the kindness and generosity that radiates from these business owners.
When asked what keeps her motivated, Mary says she just loves to cook and create new recipes using local ingredients whenever possible. She finds a calmness and nostalgia in recreating her mother’s old recipes for her customers and loved ones. While Dora has taken a step back she is still very much a part of the business and her recipes will live on for many generations to follow. Mary and Sean now offer private chef services where they come to your home and cook for your family. It’s a unique, interactive and educational experience.
Dora’s has officially reopened and has seen an influx in small social distancing wedding catering. I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel, Mary says.
Mary and Sean are now back at their brick and mortar location at 218 Ottawa St N three days a week, offering new weekly specials which will be announced via social media, they will be offering ice cold lemonade all summer long and will have free coffee for their reopening this Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
They are open to walk-ins but have COVID protocols in place and are encouraging customers to wear a mask and sanitize upon entry. Curbside pickup is available and still encouraged. You can call ahead to place an order for pickup at 905-547-DORA and free delivery is available on orders over $25 Monday – Thursday. For a full menu visit dorascatering.com and for a list of weekly specials follow them on Instagram and Twitter at @DorasCatering on Facebook at Dora’s Delicatessen & Catering.