Neighbourhood: Fort Garry
Address: 1463 Pembina Hwy
Entree: $8 – $15
The appeal of comfort and nostalgia ranks high for most, so a family-owned bakery café pumping out breads of many grains and colours is a pretty good starting point for winning popularity in the food service game. Twenty years after Stella’s first bakery opened, those original virtues have kept the city loyal. No-frills counter service and a short list of items on a chalkboard menu has made way for full table service, but an unfussy comfort-centric approach still suits the crowd today at this local chain.
Each location reflects Winnipeg’s artsy leanings, friendly peeps and practicality. Open concept interiors with local wall art and window-lined rooms combine for a bright, sunny welcome. Young, cheery staff bring it all together, reminding us that community is the heart of hospitality.
The menu at Stella’s subtly nods to the city’s multi-cultural roots. Classics with global accents touch the menu. From breakfast hits to dinner entrees, any can be ordered throughout the day. Favourites from Mexico, France, Thailand, Italy and America’s Deep South appeal to today’s eclectic tastes and those with plant-based preferences.
Sunny-side-up eggs served with corn tortillas, refried beans, salsa, guacamole and cilantro sauce satisfy those seeking Mexican vibes with their morning java. Later in the day, Pad Thai, loaded with bean sprouts, mushrooms and colourful veggies, is punctuated with sweet tamarind sauce and topped with green onion, peanuts and mint. Although sourdough garlic toast is a decidedly inauthentic accompaniment, we wholeheartedly approve.
Infographics highlighting plant-based dishes draw attention to the kitchen’s creativity and commitment to this growing market segment. Proteins can be added to salads, but they all start “green.” To be clear, though, these greens are multi-coloured, vibrant stars on Winnipeg’s salad scene. Spinach is tossed with chickpeas and seeds like chia, hemp and pumpkin along with alfalfa, Brussels sprouts and radish and dressed with a lemony vinaigrette in an aptly named Wolseley salad.
A Mediterranean inspired mezzo plate of balsamic grilled vegetables, feta, hummus, olive tapenade and a pickle-y cucumber salad stands up to any tapas bar. Mushroom polenta delivers a hint of umami with caramelized onions and Parmesan.
When beautiful baked breads, rolls, pastries and pies are the raison d’être, no one judges those arriving for–or starting with, for that matter–dessert. All doughy and gooey choices lead to blissful bites of joy.
“My Stellas” 2.0 is poised to keep charming the community for years to come. Its sweet outlook (not to mention its sourdough) is a winning antidote to whatever ails us.
Stella’s locations on Sherbrook, Grant, Pembina, Portage and Provencher are open 7 am to 10 pm every day. Stella’s Winnipeg Airport location is open 5 am to 2pm daily.