Rebuilding Beechwood: Kelly-Anne explores Sushi Me and the revamped Nature’s Buzz

Beechwood Avenue is just east of the Market, after crossing over the Ottawa River.

Kelly-Anne Maddox relocated to Ottawa from BC in 2010 and is busy being a mom to her one-year old daughter.

It was a long summer of waiting … a long summer of waiting, which turned into a long fall of waiting.

The sign above Sushi Me on Beechwood Avenue appeared with the first breath of warm weather, both of which my husband and I greeted with sighs of relief and cheers of excitement. It had seemed like an eternity since we last ate sushi, the day before we left BC over a year ago, to be exact.

Although Ottawa has its fair share of sushi joints, we do our best to patronize local neighbourhood businesses, and, well, may just be a bit skeptical about eating raw fish this far from the ocean. And so the sign lingered through July and August, and into September, as the newly installed tables and chairs taunted us. Then, in October, our spirits fell as we watched the dust settle over what looked like an abandoned restaurant.

Sushi from the newly opened Sushi Me (8 Beechwood Ave.)

Waiting for the bus one unusually balmy December day, my heart skipped a beat when I saw an open sign brightly light up the window of Sushi Me. We headed over to check out their food this past week and were happy to learn that the waiting wasn’t in vain. We ordered edamame, which they serve unsalted, and gyoza to start. The edamame were sweet and fresh, a big hit with our toddler, and the gyoza were some of the best I’ve ever had, pan fried and crispy on the outside, with soft gingery morsels of pork on the inside. The bento box which I ordered came with chicken teryaki, rice, nigiri, and pancakes, all of which were utterly delicious. My husband chose the sashimi-sushi bento as his main and was delighted with the artfully cut and rolled fish.

All three of us left with full bellies, smiles on our faces, our only regret that we can’t afford to eat there every day.

In the same week, my inner foodie was rewarded with a second treat. When we decided to move to Ottawa, my husband took pictures of the neighbourhood to show me where we would be living and made a specific point of snapping a photo of Nature’s Buzz, the local Beechwood natural and organic food store. One look and I was sold.

Nature's Buzz burned down last March in a fire that engulfed a block of Beechwood. It has recently reopened at 55 Beechwood Ave. (Photo credit: Coffeego via Flickr)

But then, the store burned down last March in a fire that consumed almost a whole block of businesses. (Other great businesses like Home Hardware, Epicura and Pure Gelato vanished, too.) Throughout the summer, as that part of the street remained empty and vacant, I searched for signs that construction would begin on the promised new building, searched for signs that Nature’s Buzz would open again. There were rumors that they would come back, then whispers that they wouldn’t. Finally, in October, signs started appearing in store windows that the store was set to reopen in December at 55 Beechwood.

I was literally jumping for joy when I traipsed into the new location on opening day. Bright, spacious, and airy with leafy green walls, the new location exudes calm, health, and well being, the friendly and welcoming owners a sight for sore eyes after a nine-month absence. The shop offers organic produce, fresh and frozen meats, fish, gluten-free baked goods, bulk grains, beans and flours, earth-friendly cleaning and beauty products and most importantly, carries a range of local organic products: Bekings eggs, carrots and apples from Quebec, just to name a few.

And so my summer of longing has perhaps served as a lesson in the virtues of patience. After all, as the adage goes, good things come to those who wait.

Sounds delicious, Kelly-Anne! And just in time for some last-minute holiday shopping. Have a favourite thing in your own neighbourhood that you love? Tell us about it at ltottawa@gmail.com.