Cantina Gia brings hot lunches to COVID front line

Author Susan Kirkpatrick and her dog Wallace at Gia’s take-out window on Bank Street

By Susan Kirkpatrick

After a morning shift, Susan Kirkpatrick looks forward to a Cantina Gia lunch in the staff lounge at Brewer COVID Assessment Centre. Photos: Courtesy of S. Kirkpatrick

In the early days of the pandemic, I went with some nursing colleagues to help out at the Brewer COVID Assessment centre. This is what we were trained to do in nursing school, throughout university and for years in our hospital and community settings.

Brewer presented challenges unfamiliar to all of us. We acknowledged the risks, but returning to the frontlines was, for me, the right thing to do. Our friends and families shared our fears and anxieties and we were constantly reminded to practise “self care” amid the exhaustion.

“Care for the caregivers” – this is exactly what our newest Glebe restaurant has done every week.

The co-owners of Cantina Gia, Chris Schlesak and Adam Vettorel, have been delivering delicious fresh pasta, salads and Budino chocolate puddings to our entire Brewer team. Knowing that a hot rigatoni, linguini or bucatini dish from Cantina Gia is in store lifts the spirits of the doctors, nurses, clerical staff and cleaners.

Throughout the pandemic, when restaurants are suffering or closing altogether, Cantina Gia, along with North and Navy owned by the same people, have continued to show us that they care deeply about the community and the efforts of our frontline workers. Knowing that they care this much about the vital work we are doing inspires us almost as much as their wonderful food.

I, for one, have been and will continue to show them how much this means to us by taking home some of their delicious offerings from their 749 Bank Street window. Hopefully Cantina Gia will accommodate a “Brewer Assessment Centre Farewell to COVID” party in the not-so-distant future. Saluti!


Susan Kirkpatrick is a registered nurse who has been working at the Brewer COVID Assessment Centre.

Restaurateur Chris Schlesak delivers delicious lunches for frontline workers, a weekly gift during the pandemic.
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