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Baked Goods

World Class Bakers

Posted by Emily Thomas / Posted on March 20, 2009

World Class Bakers TorontoWorld Class Bakers was in my life for a while before I knew it. Because my shortbread- loving friend was going crazy for the gigantic shortbread cookies at Tan Coffee on West Queen West. Alyssa hung a show there last week and paid my shortbread-loving friend to help her. Paid her in gigantic shortbread cookies.

World Class Bakery TorontoSo I finally tried these Tan Coffee cookies this week, and the kind young men behind the counter told me they came from World Class Bakers, which is right up the street from me. So with our shortbread friend in tow, Alyssa and I go up there for lunch.

Sure enough, we see the familiar cookies in their original environment. They come in cranberry or chocolate chip for $1.60. Beyond being bigger than "regular" shortbread, they have a taste of salt, which is really nice, especially in the chocolate chip. They also taste more buttery than usual, if that's even possible. Bites of cranberry are a bit sour, which makes them less heavy and easier to eat the whole thing and then some. Furthermore, you can get mini shortbread cookies for $0.75. I love it when food comes miniature.World Class BakeryThere's lots of fine looking bread and bagels. The pizzas look great. Unfortunately, right after we finished eating sandwiches a man called out "fresh pizza!" and dumped a new batch of personal sized pies in the display case. I would have had the pizza if that had happened twenty minutes earlier.World Class BakeryTwenty minutes earlier, I'd ordered a toasted Western on homemade rye bread and Alyssa ordered a grilled cheese on thin slices of buttery, toasted, homemade whole wheat bread. My shortbread friend had turkey on rye. All the bread was fresh and delicious, but we would probably take it home and make our own sandwiches next time. Our sandwiches cost around $5.00 each and it just wasn't worth it. I'd rather buy a couple loaves of bread for that price (or lots of miniature cookies).World Class BakeryWe split a great cherry cheese danish ($2.25) which would have been nice with a quality cup of coffee. World Class unfortunately serves Seattle's Best, which is pretty mediocre. It's a shame because the atmosphere is nice (including the service - very kind) and they have free Internet, so I'd like to hang around in there and do some work. But I wouldn't want to drink too much of that coffee. I guess could eat the mini shortbread for a couple hours. That would make for a good day.World Class BakeryWorld Class BakeryWorld Class BakeryWorld Class BakeryWorld Class Bakery

Photos by Alyssa Bistonath

Discussion

34 Comments

Stuart / March 20, 2009 at 11:33 am
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WCB is my local bakery/cafe stop, their smartie cookies are great! Definitely a nice environment to get some work done with the free internet as well. Recommended!
jamez / March 20, 2009 at 11:39 am
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wow I have to go there... like NOW
amanda / March 20, 2009 at 01:28 pm
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can I mention how much I would LOVE a giant shortbread cookies?
the ones at letteri are good but expensive!!!
o_O / March 20, 2009 at 01:49 pm
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Tried the oversized shortbread cookies the other night and let me tell you, the writer does not exagerate. These things are heavenly. The only thing that might be better at WCB is their carrot cake -- and I say that as someone who is generally anti-carrot cake.

Another reason to support WCB: They got dealt a shitty hand. They bought the place from a below average bread store. Re-did the whole store over several years while overcoming some rumoured financial issues. Then as soon as they were to open Starbucks plopped down across the street in an old bank and a little after that Second Cup moved in a few doors down. In spite of all that, WCB looks like it's doing well for itself.
Elle Driver / March 20, 2009 at 04:05 pm
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This is also my local bakery/cafe shop - the rugelach (pictured under the cheese danish) is VERY tasty!

I used to devour their chocolate croissants on a weekly basis, but they changed the recipe sometime last year - what used to be light and airy, I now find them too greasy and heavy.

And I don't mind the coffee so much - I order their lattes, and they always take great care (and time) to make it properly for me. (Perhaps they use a different type of bean?)
Andy / March 20, 2009 at 05:35 pm
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Do you have any photos of the bakery from the outside so I know what I'm looking for if I'm whizzing past it? How about one of the inside so that we can see the space?
daniel. / March 20, 2009 at 08:18 pm
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Delightful...been there...going to start jogging to and from however, they're going to make me fatter than the guy at the pizza store a few blocks away.
Elle Driver replying to a comment from Andy / March 20, 2009 at 08:20 pm
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Click on the link to their website at the top of the post...
Tanja replying to a comment from Andy / March 20, 2009 at 11:25 pm
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Andy, it's right AT the intersection of St Clair & Christie - facing the beginning of Christie St (so much so that a car once even went through the window).
eagle3 / March 20, 2009 at 11:54 pm
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I remember about 6 years ago, I lived in the area close to world class bakers and we went in when it first opened. I was not impressed at all, the bread was not fresh, i think we had some dessert but it was not great by any stretch of the imagination. I have not been back since. Maybe it has improved?
Grant / March 21, 2009 at 09:01 am
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TAN Coffee is well worth a visit...and not just for the shortbread! TAN is all about the COFFEE, ethically sourced high quality green beans, expertly hand roasted in the cafe. Marilyn and Chris and great baristas and finish every drink - even the macchiato! - wth a latte art rosetta, not easy! The bake great croissants and muffins too.
warmflash / March 21, 2009 at 10:18 am
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I think it's long past the point where we need to see the phrase " WORLD CLASS. " again. It's so tired.
canuck1975 / March 23, 2009 at 08:39 am
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I got to WCB from time-to-time for the free Internet. It is just up the street from me. The cookies are awesome. The cakes are Dufflet. Apparently they make their own cheesecake, but I find it's a bit dry.

Everything is a bit expensive, except for the breakfast. They do make good breakfast.
Leah / September 5, 2009 at 10:37 am
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There Banana bread is NO JOKE. We live in the neighbourhood and my mom's been buying it for YEARS, and she's gotten her friends hooked...I don't eat banana's and have never touched the stuff, but I've taken a WCB loaf to parties and watched ppl DEVOUR it...a family friend now makes regular trips from her north york/scarborough home to buy a bunch of loaves, then she freezes them, and serves them at parties/family gatherings etc.....bought a loaf to take to a friend's place last night, and decided to have a slice...I ate it with butter...WOW...then I had another slice with cheese...AMAZING...now I'm hooked.
Leah / September 5, 2009 at 10:38 am
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*ouch* I mean "their" not "there"...sorry!
Chris / February 22, 2010 at 10:55 pm
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World class bakers is an okay place to do work, but their coffee (Seattle's Best) is terrible and refills are full price. Perhaps the biggest issue I have with the place are the staff. The old ladies that run the store are bizarre: sometimes confused, other times they fight with each other, and other times they act like I am putting a dagger in their back by asking them to pour me a coffee. The owner (I guess...) is some loud, fat jerk who I find to be rude.

I hate Starbucks, but I'll gladly spend my money there as opposed to this place.
St. Clarity / April 28, 2010 at 09:20 pm
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I have to STRONGLY DISAGREE with most of the posts here. There is nothing world class about the place. The owner is a HUGE FAT COW BEEYATCH and the staff is new about every week because she pays them like crap and treats them even worse.

The baked goods are mostly miss with a few hits. Nothing terrible, but mostly average at best. They can't even afford to fix their bread slicer which cuts razon thin slices except for about 3 of the saw blades which are broken and therefore you will get double and triple-slices in every loaf.

The best thing is that you can sit and steal their wireless signal but i'd rather do that at starbucks. Should be renamed World Ass Bakers.
Shay replying to a comment from St. Clarity / May 12, 2010 at 07:39 pm
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I have to agree with you on the lack of customer service at WCB. The workers are really rude and lack customer service. A friend of mine ran across the street for a starbucks coffee and came back over to buy a bagel and the fat cow wouldn't let him into the store because he had the coffee!!!!!! I will never support them again and I tell everyone I mean everyone to not go here.
nevergoingback / June 3, 2010 at 11:37 am
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The most horrible and scary owner ever! Same thing happened to me. I went in there with my mother and father (father had just finished drinking his coffee from Mcdonalds - hey it was a free coffee and there was nothing in the cup!) My mother was just about to throw the empty cup in the garbage when the owner (some really crazy scary dude) screamed and freaked at my mother! She told him the Mcdonalds cup was empty that she was just about to throw it out - she was just resting from the walk to his bakery, and the owner wouldn't hear it! He kept screaming and telling us how he owned the place blah blah - it was horrible. Everyone in the bakery was scared, even the cashier was getting hell from him and she kept apologizing non stop - just WOW... I will never ever set foot in there and have told all my friends about this horrible incident. One doesn't have to be so rude! The owner could have come up to my mother and said (I'm sorry,there is no outside food or drinks allowed in here - I'm the owner) everything would have been fine.
Ananny Mus / June 26, 2010 at 03:06 am
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St. Clarity is pretty much right on the mark. The owner treats her staff like SHITE. She's foul, rude, insensitive, and all around bat-shite crazy. Her workers are all basically terrified of her and she's freely admitted to creating a culture of fear in order to keep them from revolting or asking for raises. This one girl told me she hadn't gotten a raise in THREE years! It's majorly effed. One time, she almost broke out into a physical fight with one of the women working in the back. She was forcibly shoving her and calling her all sorts of nasty names and saying things like, "Get outta my store, b*tch, I don't want you here!" for all the customers and staff to hear. But she'll never fire anyone. Oh no. She doesn't want to deal with the hassle of potentially wrongfully firing someone. She'll say things like, "If you don't like how I run things, you know where the door is," so that you're essentially quitting, and she can't be blamed. The hilarious part is that almost everyone who works there is non-white so someone COULD possibly make the claim that she's a racist wretch who hires people who would be more inclined to take her bullshit. I'm just sayin...

Her boyfriend, this large, doughy, Peter Griffin lookin SOB, pretends he owns the place, when in reality he has zero ownership, and routinely walks behind the counter to grab himself cookies or make himself a sandwich (without using tongs or gloves, because really, who needs to be sanitary when you're the "owner" haha) and honestly, it's just filthy.

The store itself is beautiful and the atmosphere is really casual. The hot food is really good (the lentil soup is amazeballs) and the pastries are decent. It's just a shame that the owner is a bi-polar psycho betch, and should basically be put down. For realz.
Miss Lynx / August 31, 2010 at 10:05 pm
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I'm astonished to see all the negative comments toward the end of this post - I've been going to WCB for years and never had any sort of unpleasant experience with any of the staff, including the owner. She's always been nice to me and has more than once gone out of her way to find my favourite type of muffin back in the kitchen when there weren't any more up front.

And on the topic of those muffins, since no one's mentioned those yet: the chocolate chip muffins are the best I've had anywhere. A lot of places seem to just use some kind of generic muffin batter and sprinkle chocolate chips on top, but the ones at WCB have a ton of chocolate chips all through them, and are really moist and delicious. Super decadent.

Also, I second all the praise for the shortbread. And on the real-food front, I'm very fond of the spinach and rapini calzones.

I agree the coffee's kind of mediocre, though. If you want better coffee, head west a couple of blocks to Ellington's.
Ally / January 20, 2011 at 06:12 pm
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Im pretty new to the neighborhood and Ive been going to the different cafes around. I just picked up a rugelach from World Class which was the best I had ever had! and they had this homemade potato pizza which has now become my favourite new pizza flavour. Definately a good place for variety.
shirley / January 26, 2011 at 12:35 pm
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do they have free parking?
john k / March 17, 2011 at 08:41 am
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Have been going here for years. The baked goods are out of this world. I know that they also supply a number of other businesses with their products. Having been in the bakery and restaurant business myself for many years, I can tell you that few can compete with their quality. Melt in your mouth shortbread in many varieties, heavenly rugelach (especially apple), unbeatable date squares, delicious butter croissants. If that is not enough the home cooked food will make you come back again and again. Lots of single men there looking for a good home cooked meal. Check out the lentil soup, so warming to the soul. The lasagna is great, the tuscany style chicken, the fresh breakfast - all great. I have always liked the coffee they serve - Seattle's Best - (which is now owned by Starbucks - it was their largest competitor in the U.S until they bought it in 2003). It is actually one of the priciest brands to buy if you are a restaurant. I have read some other posts regarding their attitude. I do not agree with some of the nasty comments that are posted on this site, the owner is a very hard working single woman who does her best to please me and everyone else whenever I am there. She is a strong contributor to her neigbourhood and has definitely made St. Clair Avenue West a better place to live in. Having been in the business, I have to say that every day in this type of business is challenging (as in many), having to deal with the many things going on in the kitchen and generally people's own life issues. I think that they do a good job in the service that they provide, the food is consistently good, they certainly keep the place very clean and the washrooms are always very well maintained. If only there were more people in this business out there that took quality and cleanliness as serious as they do.
amy / July 26, 2011 at 06:11 pm
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i was always addicted to butter tarts and went on a search for the best in the city....red beans were really good and came a close second in my quest but then a neighbour told me about world class bakers on st clair west - we went in and bought a butter tart each and they were so awesome i bought another one to take home......butter tart masters check it out!! :)
Han / August 29, 2011 at 12:37 am
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I strongly agree with other people on the lack of customer service. I live in the neighbourhood and been there twice. Both I had scary experiences...
Ken / November 12, 2011 at 12:15 am
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World Class Bakers? Yeah, maybe Third World Class. The owner is extremely rude, constantly yelling and staff (all of them are immigrants with no money and no other jobs apparently) are scared from her. There is constant yelling in the kitchen. You have to get your order, there is no table service although there are tables. Coffee refills are extra. I don't like their attitude and would never go there again. There is McDonalds nearby, and Starbucks right accross.
Lisa / December 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm
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I have never seen someone treat her employees so rude in my entire life. Not sure how this women is still even in business? Probably the worst customer service I have ever seen.
I had a friend who worked here out of fear TERRIFIED to quit because her boss would yell at her/ threatened to hit her / would hold her paycheck from her if she did. She had to quit because she could no longer afford to stay in toronto, seeing as she NEVER got her paycheques ontime.. Speaking of paycheques she didnt even have a real payroll. She paid my friend, as well as other workers under the table and told them to shut up about it. Also she hires immigrant students that way she is positive she will be able to rip them off.
HOW IS SHE STILL IN BUSINESS? WHY DO PEOPLE GO HERE?
MizWest / January 9, 2012 at 02:52 pm
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For the love of god people. DO NOT GO HERE. Worst service in Toronto, and after reading a few reviews online, clearly the owner is the problem.
Or do go here, if being treated like shit while purchasing overpriced dry baked goods does it for you. But don't say you weren't warned.
Yikes replying to a comment from Ananny Mus / March 14, 2012 at 02:05 am
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Holy crap, I was thinking of places to go for coffee in the area to kill time while my car is being looked after. I've passed by this place a million times but have never been in. I have to go just to have a look for myself but judging from these negative comments, not sure if I should bother. Sounds like a scary experience, even if I'm not the one being yelled at (these people better not yell at me if they don't want it dished right back is all I can say)!
Mec / April 10, 2012 at 02:50 am
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I live in the area and have been there twice and it's true, the staff is rude and kind of scary. The funny part is that it's always full of people! It might be because the store itself is beautiful, casual feeling, good bread, free internet.
Laur / July 31, 2012 at 01:09 pm
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I think WCB is fabulous! I love their baked goods, definitely some of the best in the city. I've never had a bad experience with the owner or any of the staff. If you've had a negative experience there before I would suggest giving it another try. You might just be surprised. They are great people.
Ken / October 19, 2012 at 05:55 pm
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I've lived in the neighborhood for 10 years. The first time I went to WCB, the service was downright missing. I did not go back for a couple years. The second time, the owner ignored me for a while, then finally served me with a look of bother on her face (maybe annoyed that her staff were not there to do it?). I did not go back for another 7 years as there are plenty of great options now in the area where they are happy to see and serve customers. Then, just last spring, we were out with a gang of kids (ages 4-8) who wanted to get Starbucks Hot Chocolate, but WCB cookies. We show up at WCB and the kids occupy the outside tables for all of 5 minutes while scarfing down $8 worth of cookies. As we were leaving, the owners boyfriend (partner?)mumbles to me "next time buy your hot chocolate from us". Frankly, he was lucky we spent any money there and this comment simply added injury to insult with my previous experiences. Next time, I'll get my cookies at Starbucks (or better yet, at Leah's a block down where we always get smiles.

What really amazes me is that WCB has such an amazing opportunity to be so much more. I would be willing to wager that under different management, revenues could double if not triple. Half the people I know in the hood steer clear of WCB due to the service and attitude in there. It's a shame really.
rocketus / January 1, 2014 at 11:31 am
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No comment on the baked goods, but the meals are mediocre at best. Very poor selection for a 'World Class' establishment. The owner is incredibly foul and mean to her staff, really a frightful woman all around. Why bother when you could duck across the street to Cocoalatte and be greeted with a smile?

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