vert the garage into a convenience store with food-
service. “Our goal was to emphasize the food side
with an amazing selection of sandwiches combined
with a snack shop,” Eng said.
The “tuckshop” part of the name harkens back to
those little food stores near boarding schools and
summer camps, always seemingly out of the way.
“We wanted to reimagine that a little bit and offer
really great and affordable food, plus some essen-
tials to the community,” Eng said.
To make the converted garage more inviting
and serviceable, they used warm woods, plus a
reclaimed tin ceiling. Innovative shelving includes
an old-fashioned refrigerator (sans door, and with
grain-edge natural wood slabs on its wire shelves)
that holds candy boxes. Where’s Waldo? cutouts dot
the store, adding a bit of whimsy to the surroundings. Two chalkboard menus list the permanent
sandwiches and daily specials. In nice weather,
patrons can eat at a wooden picnic table directly
outside the front door in an area cordoned off by
large wooden planters.
Inside the TuckShop
A former wine agent, Willows started a food club
several years ago with Eng that allowed him to
indulge in his culinary aspirations. So when Eng
and Willows decided the core of TuckShop Kitchen should be its foodservice, Willows focused
on developing a sandwich menu to launch the
business. “He spent six months testing the burger
recipe because our goal was to have the best $7.50
burger in the city,” Eng said. They brought in
Taylor, a chef from Newfoundland, to assist with
TuckShop Kitchen also has
connected with other chefs in
the community, including Rob
Evans, a chef from Stratford,
Ontario, and Reiko Stewart, a
pastry chef who assisted with
While no alcohol or tobacco
products are in stock, TuckShop
does have a plethora of other
convenience store items, such
as candy, milk, eggs, drinks,
granola bars, canned soups and
health and beauty care prod-
ucts. “We want it to be a place
where we know our customers,
[and they] come by for fresh
food, coffee and some necessi-
ties,” Eng said.
Even though the store is less
than four months old, the pair is
already thinking about improve-
ments, including more items
on the foodservice menu and
lunch catering options for nearby
offices. “We’re listening to our
customers and constantly talking
about how we can improve and meet
their needs,” Eng said. “We live here, and we
want this to be a real community place that serves
Sarah Hamaker is a freelance writer and NACS
Magazine contributor based in Fairfax, Virginia.
Visit her online at www.sarahhamaker.com.
TuckShop does not
stock alcohol or tobacco
but focuses on fresh
food, coffee and a few
The owners of TuckShop Kitchen knew they wanted to offer the best possible food when they
settled on six permanent sandwiches for their store: Tuck Burger, Glen’s Tuck Burger, Roast
Turkey & Brie, Pulled Pork, BLT and Vegetarian Pulled Pork (which can also be made into a vegan
sandwich). The kitchen also turns out soups, salads and sides, such as coleslaw, chipotle baked
beans and potato salad with cheddar and egg.
All of the food is house-made, which means the cooks grind the meat for the burgers, smoke the
bacon for the BLTs and roast the turkey breasts in-house. “This allows us to control the quality of
the product and provide the best-tasting food we possibly can,” co-owner Robb Eng said.
After perfecting their sandwiches and sides, the c-store added daily specials such as house-cured pastrami for Reuben sandwiches, Cobb salad and meat pies. In late November, TuckShop
Kitchen launched its take-home dinners line with a lasagna meal that includes garlic bread and
Caesar salad. “Our vision is to develop a fresh and frozen line of take-home dinners,” Eng said.