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Tri City Food Ninjas put supporting local into action with stop in Cambridge

The last Tuesday of every month the Tri City Food Ninjas head out to a local restaurant to dine-in and show their support
Q BBQ Public House on the corner of Dundas St. and Beverly St. will be one of the stops for the Tri City Food Ninjas.

Brittany Medcalf knows food.

She also knows what it feels like to be surrounded by a supportive community.

“I grew up in military kitchens as my dad was a chef and my mother was a cook,” Medcalf said.

“Some of my first memories are talking to my dads friends and they’d be in the kitchen teaching me knife skills. The military was very family orientated.”

When she wasn't roaming around the mess hall, Medcalf could be found interacting with the community while helping run her grandmother's food truck. She even recalls skipping school at times to serve up burgers and fries.

Now Medcalf is taking her love of food and the pride she has for the community to local restaurants around Waterloo Region as a customer with a group of like-minded people that have coined the name the Tri City Food Ninjas.

On the last Tuesday of every month the group plans to dine at a different locally owned restaurant. Their first stop in Cambridge, Q BBQ Public House, on the corner of Dundas and Beverly streets, was the top pick among group members in a three-way vote. The night will also include draws for door prizes from local businesses.

“Tuesday’s seem to be a tough day for restaurants to fill their seats,” Medcalf said.

“It’s an opportunity to support a restaurant, while getting together with friends and socializing. I’ve found that food in Waterloo Region has really grown and there are a lot of people who share this interest with me. The group really morphed on its own.”

The Tri City Food Ninjas Facebook group has 170 members, and while all don’t attend every gathering, it’s a growing community.

An insurance broker by day, Medcalf spends a lot of her time interacting with businesses and has seen how important continued support of community members is to their success.

“These are our neighbours, our friends and our families,” she said.

“We should be wanting to support the ones who are closest to us. Folks really need to remember we’re our own ecosystem. The better the people around us are doing, the better we all do. For me personally, I naturally try to figure out how to help people.”

Brian Kennedy, the executive director of the Downtown Cambridge BIA, praises the work of the local group.

“It's fantastic to see social groups like Tri City Food Ninjas create events to support local businesses while building a community around their passion, in this case, for food,” Kennedy said.

“Supporting local restaurants, cafes, shops and services is crucial as they're the backbone of our vibrant downtowns. The goal of fostering community and support for local businesses go hand-in-hand.”

Kennedy echoes the sentiment that by heading out to local restaurants and shops, residents are helping their own. It’s something he hopes to see more of as businesses in Cambridge continue to recover from the impact of the pandemic.

“A pledge to support local is to help your community be resilient and prosperous,” he said.

“Post-pandemic, we all want to feel more connected again and build relationships new and old. Our businesses welcome the community and those visiting from afar with open arms.”