Belljar Cafe is a little less city, and a little more neighbourhood. Off the beaten path and away from the hustle and bustle, this cafe is the perfect spot for Roncesvalles residents looking for a fresh space to start their morning, or relax in the afternoon.
Opened about two weeks ago, Belljar Cafe is still working out the details, but the place looks like it has been in business for years. Owner Geoffrey McPeek wanted to create his own space, and offer something different to nearby options like Alternative Grounds and Balluchon. With WiFi access and a slightly European feel, Beljar Cafe has coffee and creativity in mind.
I order a regular Americano ($2) and Stefania orders a creamy Mochaccino ($3.50). All the coffee beans come from Classic Gourmet in Concord. The desserts are catered in from other bakeries such as, Circles and Squares and OMG Baked Goodness. Treats range from giant ginger molasses cookies ($1.50) to sticky, sweet butter tarts ($2.50).
I fell in love with the creamy lemon cheesecake ($3.50) perfect for sharing. The menu also offers lattes ($3.25) and espressos single ($1.50) and double ($2). McPeek doesn't charge extra for any specialty milks. Desserts and treats sell out pretty fast, and savory snacks like quiche are also offered. Soups and sandwiches are hoping to make their way onto the menu soon.
The cafe name comes from Sylvia Plath's famous book and the concept of being stuck in a Belljar, trying to break free. McPeek says, on a more positive note, the cafe name also can mean a place for people to incubate ideas. As we walk out, I overhear a woman exclaim to her friend, "I love this place."
I flip the business card over and it doubles as a coffee card. If a customer reaches eight coffees they get a free one, including espresso. If I'm ever back in the neighbourbood, I'll definitely stop by and get my card stamped. One down, seven to go.
Belljar Cafe is open from Monday-Friday 7a.m-4p.m and Saturday-Sunday 8a.m-4p.m.
Photos by Stefania Sgambelluri