Leslieville Bakery occupies a famillar spot once home to the much-beloved Altitude Bakery . The latter bake shop had acquired a loyal following over its years serving shortbreads and sour cream pie, so suffice to say the neighbourhood was more than a little down to see it had closed its doors for good over the summer.
But there's light at the end of this somewhat "tart" story (groan), and it comes in the form of Leslieville Bakery. Opened about two weeks ago, the new shop has many of Altitude's old favourites, including butter tarts and scones, rum balls and croissants, and those rave-worthy apple and sour cream pies. Best of all, these are not just futile imitations, but the same recipes touted by Altitude in its heyday.
Leslieville Bakery's manager, Carolyn, tells me that Altitude's owner (and the landlord of the space) has worked with the team behind the new bakery's operation, helping to revive some favourite former bakery treats. "They are the ones that everyone is used to," she says. "The ones people have come to know and love."
The physical space, too, retains that old Altitude charm, pretty much packed with sweets and baked treats, and only a bit of room available before the counter. Carolyn tells me that she was approached by Leslieville Bakery's owners after she sold her restaurant on the Danforth ( Three's Company ), and hammered out an arrangement for her to manage the new shop. The space is sticking with the classic, homestyle baked goods for now, with a few welcome additions and some savoury options to come.
"The cookies," Carolyn says, referring to the chocolate chip ($1.00), oatmeal raisin ($1.50), peanut butter ($1.50) and others behind the counter, "are actually my mother's recipe, handed down from my grandmother. Leslieville Bakery has also started developing some gluten-free options such as cinnamon buns (along with its regular cinnamon buns, of course) and turtle bars, which are made in a separate, gluten-free kitchen downstairs.
Carolyn adds that customers can expect some daily soups, dips, and panini on the menu in the new year, though the tarts and cookies will still be front and centre. I can't leave the space without indulging in a classic apple studel tart ($1.95), which seems to embody all that is "country kitchen" despite the taxis honking outside. The shell is a crumbly vehicle (albeit, a delicious one) for the sweet apple filling (skin-on, I believe), which just has the faintest hint of cinnamon as to not be overpowering. The sign may be new, but the recipes are certainly classic.
Photos by Woodrow Walden