Goodies<3 – comfort food straight from the heart

McGregor, Kate Feb 2016 GOODIES 20151216_3391
Letasha Mateev, owner of GOODIES<3 at 103 Fourth Avenue, offers up her homemade cookies on a silver platter.
Photos: Kate McGreGor

[ezcol_1half]By Kate McGregor

The colourful GOODIES<3 business card reads, “The best grilled cheese sandwich in the world universe.” This is a bold statement for a new café that opened in the Glebe. And I am pleased to report that baker and chef Letasha Mateev has created something truly worth biting into.

There is a comfy and old-fashioned ambiance to the eatery the young entrepreneur opened in September 2015 in the Fourth Avenue space vacated by the Tea Party Café. The warmth of the wood floors is enhanced by pastel-striped wallpaper reminiscent of cupcake icing. The stripes echo the same motif Letasha and her former business partner used in the original GOODIES<3, which they launched in the northern Ontario town of Kapuskasing.

A typical day for Letasha starts at 8 a.m. when she begins her baking. She makes gluten-free power loaves, followed by enormous triple chocolate chip cookies. She then turns her attention to two daily soups, one meat-based and one vegan option. The café opens at 10 a.m. for coffee, table service for approximately 15 customers and lots of takeout options. Customers can choose from a selection of delicious grilled cheese sandwiches with names like “Jalapeno Popper,” “Grampy Doug’s” and “4 the Love of Veggies,” and drinks like smoothies or milkshakes. An interesting concept GOODIES<3 offers is the jar program: buy up to seven Mason jars filled with your choice of cupcakes, soup, spinach dip, shepherd’s pie or spaghetti sauce, return all seven jars and get $3 off your next purchase.

The hospitality business is in Letasha’s blood. She recalls playing during her childhood in the halls of the castlelike historic Kapuskasing Inn owned by her paternal grandfather. Her grandmother had a chip stand. Her maternal grandmother operated the Radio Hotel. As well, her mother worked in restaurants. Her grandfather’s big display refrigerator, circa 1935–1945, graces the floor of GOODIES<3 as a tribute to the “Kap” Inn and at which customers can browse the takeout offerings.

McGregor, Kate Feb 2016 GOODIES 20151216_3404
Letasha Mateev, busy creating in her kitchen at GOODIES<3

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Letasha is an intuitive and mainly self-taught chef who enjoys creating new menu items. Layering and creating dimensions particularly fascinate her. She launched her foray into food with Candygrammes – posting ads on Facebook and delivering cupcakes in a jar with a special note to a loved one on Valentine’s Day. Then, she created Cupcakes in a Jar from her home in Kapuskasing. She also worked at a farmers’ market and supplemented her income by working evenings at the bars. LETASHA’S GOODIES followed, then GOODIES<3 where she brought in a business partner. She purchased a commercial oven to keep up with demand. Fuelled by her love for adventure, she travelled to various destinations in British Columbia, Ontario and Brooklyn where she worked in restaurants, did some advertising for small businesses and had a baby.

Deciding to locate her new GOODIES<3 in Ottawa was a natural leap for Letasha. With approximately 35 per cent of her hometown peers choosing Ottawa for post-secondary studies, packing up and relocating here with her young son felt like a good move. And, why in the Glebe? In addition to finding the ideal space complete with all of the restaurant equipment required, she was charmed by the Glebe’s hometown feel.

Letasha has been getting to know her neighbours and developing partnerships, cross-promotions and catering opportunities with local businesses like KV Dance Studio, Octopus Books and Bloomfields Flowers since opening GOODIES<3. She credits much of her success to the unwavering support she has received from friends and family who volunteer their time behind the counter.

In addition to word of mouth, Letasha uses social media to promote GOODIES<3. She has a Facebook page and Twitter account and frequently posts photographs on Instagram of the delicious foods she is creating.

Letasha sums up her new business this way: “I think this is a reflection of myself. It’s like a dream job. I really like what I do. I like meeting people. I like chatting with people. I like baking. I like making things pretty.” Add to this statement words like cozy, charming and kid-friendly and you have all the makings of a great new Glebe eatery run by one hard-working entrepreneur.

GOODIES<3 is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and closed on Mondays. Or, in Letasha’s words, “If you see the lights on you are welcome to come in.” That’s an invitation that is hard to refuse.

Kate McGregor is a certified Integral Master Coach™. She can be reached at 613-884-1864,, and


103 Fourth Avenue
Twitter: @goodieseveryday

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