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Baked Goods

Mabel's Bakery (Queen St.)

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on June 15, 2012

mabels queen streetMabel's Bakery just opened its second location on Queen West at Beaconsfield Avenue. "This area needed something different than restaurants from bars," owner Lorraine Hawley says simply as she scans her new shop. "So we're offering something different."

mabels queen stMore specifically, Mabel's is offering an assortment of homestyle baked goods, pantry items, prepared food, and artisan breads. And much like its Roncesvalles predecessor, the emphasis here is on natural and organic as much as possible.

mabels queen stLorraine tells me she opened the original location on Roncesvalles in 2008 after noticing a lack of quality prepared foods and baked goods in the area. The original Mabel's — named for Lorraine's niece — took off soon after opening, and four years later, Lorraine knew it was time for another.

mabels queen streetThis new Queen West Mabel's looks and feels much like Roncesvalles, with the exception of an unpainted exposed brick wall and a couple of standing cocktail tables instead of seats. But the spread is the same — fridges of vegan chili ($9) and free-range chicken stock ($4.25), meals ready to heat and serve such as beef lasagna ($9.95/$19.50) and quiche ($5.95/$15.70), and plenty of breads and snacks to satisfy cravings for the walk home.

mabels queen street torontoMabel's used to exclusively offer Thuet breads, but Lorraine tells me the bakery has seduced a new breadmaker and will be rolling out its own line of light ryes and boule. As for the other baked goods, Lorraine says they're mostly her own with a little honing and technique via classes at George Brown.

mabels toronto"I always loved baking and working with food," she says, adding that she previously worked in telecommunications. "After I had my son, that's when I really starting doing this."

mabels torontoMabel's has since garnered a reputation for superb cookies ($1.99), cupcakes ($2.79), and most notably, triple chocolate brownies ($3.05), and I can't help but surrender to the latter on this visit. The brownie is big enough for two (and indeed, I can't finish it in one sitting), with a hard chocolate coat over a creamy ganache layer and moist brownie cake. It's incredibly rich, quite sweet, and leaves me feeling like I just finished a meal.

mabels queen street torontoOf course, there are less indulgent options such as gluten-free lasagna and seasonal veggie soups, as well as a variety of specialty cheeses and charcuterie. The meats used in the prepared dishes are all organic and/or naturally raised (Beretta Farms, predominantly), and Mabel's also keeps a small supply of organic milk and eggs in its fridges.

mabels queen street torontoLorraine hopes to expand the organic grocery selection to include a few more basics (butter, veggies, etc.), but in the meantime she'll just be using them as ingredients to feed Queen West prepared eats and sweets.

Photos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

19 Comments

Liam / June 15, 2012 at 09:25 am
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Looks amazing! A welcome addition to the neighbourhood.
mike / June 15, 2012 at 11:14 am
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love having you in the neighbourhood! :)
Jason / June 15, 2012 at 02:29 pm
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Welcome!
b. / June 15, 2012 at 07:08 pm
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so thrilled to finally have a bakery around the corner from me.

hopefully it'll send a message to other shop owners that the area needs more than just bars, bars and bars! welcome to the neighbourhood...
Alex / June 15, 2012 at 10:49 pm
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Some of the best bread I've bought in Toronto, can't wait to try one of their pies or other treats.
Carl / June 27, 2012 at 06:56 pm
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Well I tried a cupcake and it was stale and very sweet. The coffee was good but cupcakes not so much.
Maria / July 3, 2012 at 08:25 pm
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Yeah, I agree with the above. Cupcakes not good.
n / July 11, 2012 at 02:25 pm
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just visited a few days back and picked up an organic spelt loaf. the bread is deeelicious!! i'll definitely be making the trip to buy more.

Bonnie / July 16, 2012 at 09:17 am
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Mabel's was kind enough to donate some pies to a local neighbourhood event that I helped to chair and won over everyone who tasted these delicious treats. Mabel's is both civic minded and they are excellent bakers. The raspberry pie is to die for...check out their yummy offerings and support a business that supports our neighbourhood!
Quinn / July 18, 2012 at 01:07 pm
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Bought a sourdough baguette and it was awful - too well done and brittle. Sadly, it was the least done of all the breads and waste of Riopelle.
Angie / August 2, 2012 at 03:45 pm
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I stopped in for a sweet treat and decided on a cupcake. It was really dry and icing was stiff. When I mentioned this to the lady she offered a 50% discount as it might have been one of the day olds. Who wants a stale day old cupcake? I wasn't impressed. Will not return.
Jessica / March 12, 2013 at 10:30 pm
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Mabel's is nothing but a rip off of Wagamama Pastries. I use to see the owner and her husband go in there all the time.
Nothing original here.
Lorraine replying to a comment from Jessica / April 13, 2013 at 06:02 pm
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I'm the owner and I felt compelled to respond as although as would be expected, my husband and I did extensive research that included visiting bakeries in Toronto and elsewhere, I'm quite sure we never 'frequented Wagamama' (although it looks lovely online). Thank you however for noticing our lack of 'originality'. We worked hard to repurpose found treasures in both of our stores (restoring leaded glass, reusing woodwork, etc.) and I spent years combing through books looking for time tested recipes. Many of our recipes are the family treasures of our staff. In fact we recently added Nanaimo bars to our Queen St location in honour of one of our newest pastry chef's birthplace and we didn't change a thing!
Jessica / April 27, 2013 at 10:42 pm
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When I lived in Toronto I would go to Wagamama's and see you and your husband there.. Sat beside you a couple times.
: )
Brenda / June 8, 2013 at 06:55 pm
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Randomly stopped in while visiting the area a few months back and grabbed a croissant. WOW! LOVED IT! I live uptown and have been looking for a croissant to rival yours, but they are never even close. I love the crispy and sweet outside and airy buttery inside. MmmmMMm can't stop thinking about it, and need to come in for more! Question: Do you make these in-house/yourself?
Neighbourhood Watch / June 12, 2013 at 12:12 am
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Lorraine gurrrl you busted! Thank you Jessica for calling out the truth which lots of people in the hood have been talking about! Finally it's out in the open. Do you care to also address the poor state of your garbage in the back? Neighbours are talking about that too. And the last time I was in I bought a cookie and it was rock solid hard. Not two days fresh!
Dan / June 15, 2013 at 10:01 pm
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Seen squirrels, birds and racoons in their garbage. Gross. One has to wonder how "clean" the place is inside.
Lynne / September 9, 2013 at 12:05 am
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Daughter and I had a cupcake each both were dry and somewhat cold. I'm certain they were frozen before serving. I wouldn't bother going back.
Original Baked Goods Looking for Foody Trolls / October 17, 2014 at 07:55 pm
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Amazing baked goods and a great addition to the neighborhood. Clearly all the cupcake divas are missing out!

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