Riversdale Deli & STR8 UP Collaborate

Our Riversdale Love launch opened a flood gate of ideas and opportunities to create connections, collaborations and build community around our neighbourhood. From meals and mentorship, housing and health, we are currently working on a handful of initiatives to make our collective vision for the future of Riversdale come to life. Just check out our EVENTS page for a sneak peak of what's coming up.

But today we wanted to share a powerful story about Riversdale Love from the perspective of one of our speakers, Darby Kells--the fiery entrepreneur and food lover behind Riversdale Deli and Capanna Pizzeria


Q: Why did you want to get involved with Riversdale Love?

Kells: "The whole concept around it was cool. A good opportunity for me to meet people in the neighbourhood that I might not have been able to meet. It’s kind of hard to get out and meet people when you are working 16 hours a day. It was a nice ice breaker and an invitation to people who would not normally have talked to each other or even had a reason to talk to each other in a lot of cases."

Q: What were some of the outcomes you experienced as a result of speaking at the launch event?

Kells: "It was well worth the time. I’ve been approached by multiple non-profits since then. I’ve been approached by people I might never would have talked to."

One of those people was fellow speaker, Faith Eagle. Faith approached Darby after the event to discuss a possible partnership with her organization STR8 UP, which assists former gang members in liberating themselves from gangs and criminal street lifestyles.

Darby plans to use his experience and expertise in the restaurant industry to mentor STR8 UP participants, providing them with employment and life skills they can apply to future endeavours. 

Q: What do you hope this collaboration achieves? 

Kells: “I don’t aim small. I’ve never aimed small. If I can take these guys to a provincial, national, international level, and start following the way other cities are doing this kind of stuff… Saskatoon has a lot of catching up to do. If this can escalate to something where it’s recognized, it helps a lot of people get on the right track. I’ll help out with it.”

Darby talks about his community involvement and his partnership with STR UP with the same energy, enthusiasm and desire to be innovative that has helped him launch two highly successful food destinations in Riversdale: “It is something new. It is a risky, new, high-energy kind of thing to be doing, and to be taking on. And anything that’s like that, kind of tests me in the same way, I like doing.”


Sitting on the Riversdale Business Improvement District, Darby is clearly interested in the future of Riversdale. Yet, he never loses sight of his own passion: “I know food. That’s it. I don’t pretend to know about gentrification or politics. I know food. So if you have a question about bread or prosciutto, I got it covered.”

We look forward to seeing how his partnership with STR8 UP evolves! Thanks for being part of Riversdale Love Darby!