Bar’s charcuterie delivery comes with a side of compassion for front-line workers

For people searching for a little bit of normalcy in a very strange time, a nice glass of wine, a few artisan cheeses, some olives and maybe a slice or two of cured meats may be just the thing. 

The London Wine Bar, located on Talbot Street, is offering just that, delivered right to your front door, but it comes with a compassionate twist. In a sign of the times, instead of tips, the bar is asking people to donate money to a ‘Feed the Front Line’ program the owners have developed. 

Some people give $5. Others give $100. 

“People have been so supportive. We’re going to keep making meals as long as the donations keep coming in,” said co-owner Laura Del Maestro. 

She and her partner Mario Jozic have owned and run the Wine Bar for the last four years. They rely on groups of people who come in and want to have a special evening with one of their curated charcuterie boards. 

“For us, it’s about presentation. We had to think about, how do we deliver a meal and still have it look beautiful and appeal to all the senses,” said Del Maestro. 

“We essentially had to recreate a new business overnight.” 

Jozic cooks, and Del Maestro delivers all the food. That means Londoners have to be a little patient — the pair can’t offer the same within-the-hour delivery many apps provide. “We’re trying to keep expenses to a minimum,” Del Maestro said. 

‘Feed the Front Line’

Now, when people order a meal, they can click a ‘Feed the Front Line’ button to donate cash, instead of giving a tip. All of the money goes toward making meals. 

So far, they’ve donated 60 lunches to the Middlesex London Health Unit, and last Saturday, 70 lunches to the emergency room department at Victoria Hospital. 

One of the London Wine Bar’s charcuterie deliveries ready to go out the door. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

Today, they’re helping a program run by a local magazine, Mom & Caregiver, by delivering 20 meals to families in need. 

Del Maestro and Jozic plan to keep the program up “as long as people have the resources to order food,” Del Maestro said. 

“We absolutely will be able to come back from this, bit it depends if people are going to have to tighten their belts and slow down their spending. If you’re not making money, maybe you’re not sending a charcuterie board to your friends as a nice gift,” she said. 

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