Fast Food Served With Warmth
Grab quick and delicious snacks and meals inside Stadium Mini Mart.
For the last 10 years, Boyle Street and McCauley residents have been used to grabbing quick snacks, lottery tickets, and drinks from the Mini Mart on the southeast corner of 107A Avenue and 95th Street.
Things changed in June, when owner Sammy Teki opened the new food counter inside his family’s convenience store. They had the vision to leverage what had been a storage space into a brand new kitchen, with a take-out counter in front serving pizza, donairs, fried chicken, poutine, samosas, and ice cream.
When they opened in summer, the first thing I went there for was the ice cream. There are many flavours of hard ice cream, as well as soft serve. When the heat ended in fall, I enjoyed the fried chicken, which was well cooked and quite crispy. So I asked about it and found that they marinate the chicken overnight in eight different spices before preparing it fresh each day.
More recently my partner and I returned to try the samosas and the chicken shawarma and beef (combo) donair. The large mixed donair contained both chicken shawarma and spiced beef, as well as your choice of sweet or garlic sauce. We chose the garlic sauce which thankfully was mild instead of overpowering as many are.
The massive donair roll was made before my eyes as they sliced homemade marinated chicken shawarma from the grilling skewer, placing the meat on the hot grill until slightly crispy on the edges, with a candied Turkish spice flavour. I enjoyed the caramelized BBQ-like grilled texture, while my partner prefers more rare meats, so next time she might ask to have it grilled a little less. The beef was nicely spiced, and with the onion and tomato it definitely overflowed the pita bread - the one large donair was enough for two of us!
Next we had the samosas, which were beautifully seasoned, and full of carrots, potato, peas, and corn. The vegetable filling is wrapped in pastry, then deep fried into a warm triangular snack.
There are usually three kinds of pizza, with pepperoni, Hawaiian, and donair meat being the most popular flavours. They’re the regular crust, not thin or light as the Italian style, or as thick or heavy as the deep dish style.
I often see visitors enjoying a hot, cheesy poutine as a nice meal to warm up while sitting along the window counter, as it’s perfect in the cold weather.
Over the 10 years the Tekis have operated this unique space, I’ve seen the family grow to include six children, with ages up to thirteen. The Teki family keeps the space safe by having cameras inside and outside that are continuously monitored, and because of a mutually respectful relationship with unhoused neighbours, there’s never a problem.
The store is a neighbourhood icon, as the Teki family takes pride in serving everyone in the community, from rich to poor, young to old. For anyone who hasn’t dropped by, owner Sammy Teki says to come in and try it. He would be happy to know the preferences of and receive input from community members. Says Sammy, everyone is welcome here and “it’s part of our humanity to contribute to society.”
Alan lives in McCauley. He is the Chair of the paper’s Board of Directors.