Kiffin (formerly Tiffin) has been doing healthy budget-conscious food since 2013 — first in San Francisco, then in Montreal since 2015. Now the company has opened up a permanent spot on St-Denis in the Plateau.
Affordable and healthy eats were the two focuses of the catering operation, and that continues in the brick-and-mortar location. The company was originally built around the idea of the tiffin — a stainless steel lunchbox commonly used by workers in several Asian countries, including India, where founder Natasha Alani’s ancestry lies. Kiffin offered such boxes in the Bay Area, partly in order to offer something affordable and nutritious amidst soaring living prices courtesy of the Silicon Valley tech boom.
Kiffin upped and left to Montreal in 2015 for Alani to attend McGill University (ironically high living costs also helped spur the move) and offered food via a catering and private order operation, and with occasional pop-ups for events like Restaurant Day.
When talking about Kiffin, Alani has often framed the company as more of a social enterprise than a straight-up catering service (or now, restaurant) — in terms of food, Alani has aimed for sustainably sourced food but also accessible prices. As the company expands, they’re also aiming to offer training and jobs to disadvantaged Montrealers — something Alani has experience with, having managed a non-profit in San Francisco that placed at-risk youth in restaurant jobs.
At the St-Denis location, Alani’s husband Aaron Fetherston is on board as the chef: he has worked at well-liked Bay Area casual spots like The Square and The Hog’s Apothecary. Food is all pretty casual, and highly lunchable: salads, bowls, ramen, mac and cheese, and tacos, to name a few, all coming in at under $10 — Kiffin is also doing weekend brunches.
STATUS — Kiffin is now open at 3439 St-Denis from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Tuesday and Friday through Sunday) and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Wednesday and Thursday).
- Kiffin [Official]
- Catering startup nourishes McGill MBA’s soul [The Globe & Mail]
- The Square, A New North Beach Classic [ESF]
- The Hog's Apothecary to Hit Temescal in Late April [ESF]