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Cafes

Ezra's Pound (Dundas West)

Posted by Emily Thomas / Posted on May 7, 2009

Ezra's PoundI wish the new Ezra's Pound had come along a few years earlier. When I was living at Dundas and Bathurst, the only sign of life on that strip was Saving Grace. A few solid establishments had been there for years (Café Braziliano, Musa), but west of Manning wasn't looking too good and development was essentially nil. I moved away before all the new clothing stores, cafes, pubs and salons really dug in their heels. These days, a trip around those parts is like walking through a glorious urban experiment on neighbourhood migration.
Ezra's PoundAlyssa and I were near the area on Saturday, taking in some Contact with friends. We had lunch in one of my old haunts, California Sandwiches, where we got full on veal and sausage. Drowsy, we thought about some coffee to get us home, and had the delightful convenience of finding ourselves in close proximity to Ezra Braves' new digs - just west of Clinton on Dundas.
Ezra's Pound"Braves - like the Atlanta Braves," he tells me. I'm jealous. Ezra Braves has an awesome name and an awesome café. Actually, he has two awesome cafes (of the same name). The first Ezra's Pound is (near my current house!) at Dupont and Spadina and always hopping. The second Ezra's seems to have followed suit, just one month into business. The first time my Contact entourage walks past (on our way to get veal), the place is completely full. "Dundas is to Queen what Dupont is to Bloor," says Ezra, citing the similar artsy crowds and welcoming neighbourhoods.
Ezra's PoundWhen we return (after the veal) they're forty-five minutes from closing and the place is quiet, almost empty save for a sweet little family enjoying the goods and Ezra's company. These guys make pleasant conversation while we sprawl out on a table with jackets, camera gear and a daily paper. It starts to rain outside. Excellent. We're going to wait it out in here and I couldn't be more comfortable.
Ezra's PoundWhile our coffees are being crafted on a good-looking espresso machine, we discuss what makes a good café in this city. The collective agreement narrows the criteria to three simple things: stellar coffee, lazy tunes and clever decor (not to be confused with lazy decor and clever music). We put a mighty check next to all three. Ezra's Pound has 'em and then some.
Ezra's PoundOur coffees turn out smooth and strong. Alyssa has a (really crafty and attractive) cappuccino ($3.71), smooth and light as they come. My Americano ($2.62) goes down strong and easy. It puts me in a good mood. In fact, I'm downright peaceful. Alyssa, on the other hand, has not had any coffee for a week and a half (some kind of healthy experiment... go Alyssa go....) so she's not feeling peaceful after her cappuccino - she's feeling grreat!
Ezra's PoundThe coffee is a grand feat because Ezra Braves roasts his own organic, fair trade beans. He gets them green and ensures they come environmentally sound. "We have strident environmental policies," he says. All the take-out gear is greenshift, and local product is used whenever possible. The goods are baked on site, including the baguette on which you can have peanut butter and jam for a few bucks. We choose a couple of soft and buttery cookies ($1.90) and rugalach ($0.92), and go at them slowly to the tune of The Stones and The Velvet Underground.
Ezra's PoundEzra's PoundWe're not having lunch (as much as I wish we were), but Alyssa enthusiastically looks over the options. "I could not be more on board with these menus," she says. They're constructed out of old record covers, ranging from Crosby, Stills and Nash to Raffi. The Raffi menu is actually autographed on the front and our minds our momentarily blown. Way to go Sarah!
Ezra's Pound"Used things have energy," says Ezra Braves, referencing the menus, the old glass bottles that he fills with water for our table, and the front counter, tastefully constructed out of repurposed doors. There is an old payphone around the corner and a front of elevator buttons on the wall that deceivingly appears to be in working condition.
Ezra's PoundThe rain dies and Ezra's starts to close down. We follow the family outside and I catch site of the 7-11 that I used to frequent when I lived here, before the plethora of Dundas west options. Luckily we're headed home to Dupont, the Dundas of the north, complete with its own Ezra's Pound.Ezra's PoundEzra's PoundEzra's Pound
Photos by Alyssa Bistonath

Discussion

22 Comments

Human Fly / May 8, 2009 at 09:22 am
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This place looks nice but $7 for a hard-boiled egg? I am way too poor to eat lunch there. I'll stick to the local Portuguese cafes, unclever though the decor may be.
TraderZed / May 8, 2009 at 09:55 am
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Just as a side note - Emily, your photography is pretty outstanding.
TraderZed / May 8, 2009 at 09:56 am
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Wait nevermind... let me try again...

Just as a side note - Alyssa, your photography is pretty outstanding.
Dundastroll / May 8, 2009 at 11:27 am
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Great coffee and scones. But slightly snobby service. What's up with that?
DundasReg / May 8, 2009 at 02:41 pm
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Dundas between Bathurst and Dufferin is growing as a scene in exactly the right way, i.e. slow and local, and Ezra's Pound is a perfect fit. I'm hangin' on Dundas!
cafe guy / May 8, 2009 at 03:35 pm
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Can't say enough great things about this place - they get the cafe thing right...and then some

C. / May 8, 2009 at 08:01 pm
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I really enjoy this place and wish I lived closer so I could go there on a more regular basis! Staff are friendly and the service is great and goes beyond what I expect from a cafe.
joe / May 9, 2009 at 07:38 am
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Totally not snobby (can't stress this enough) - They don't make you feel silly/uncool if you don't order your coffee right - unlike some places -
wendy / May 9, 2009 at 07:47 pm
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really tasty cookies.

they don't charge you extra for soy milk.

all the people who work there are adorable and charming.
bjmax / May 10, 2009 at 04:38 pm
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classy place - but not pretentious, unbelievably good coffee and friendly staff - there actually is an Ezra
Morgan / May 11, 2009 at 10:40 am
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Hopefully the hours will be extended as it never seems to be open. I get a kick out of the half dressed female manikin operating the espresso machine when the cafe is closed.
Dundas Coffee / May 11, 2009 at 01:24 pm
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The hours are a mystery, I live across the street and it never seems to be open. The prices are a bit too steep for me, $7 for granola and yogurt? I prefer Ella's.
smith / May 14, 2009 at 07:30 pm
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best coffee in Toronto - all organic and biodegradable packaging - I'm pretty impressed - why pay for ella's non-organic when you can have Ezra's coffee for a bit more - and worth every cent
amandine / June 12, 2009 at 04:02 pm
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Hey guys... looks like the phone number needs to be adjusted.
cites 647.346.8448 on their website. I wouldn't want anything to get in the way of people trying this place out.
Blenteeseeste / November 6, 2009 at 12:56 pm
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Useful post, I have always meant to start start
my own blog. I really do enjoy reading your blog!
rebeccavox / January 8, 2010 at 09:16 pm
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great coffee spot - and the spadina/dupont location now has a wine bar in the evenings - even better. Rock on Ezra's.
didier / March 4, 2010 at 06:57 pm
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tried all the cafes in the area - by far Ezra's is the best. They really have the whole cafe thing down. I felt like I wasn't cool enough for one place and the other, I couldn't stay and hang
espresso machine / July 9, 2010 at 11:06 pm
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Finally had a coffee, wow. Very nice - they just opened some coffee institute - seems interesting
ristretto / January 20, 2011 at 11:07 pm
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"These days, a trip around those parts is like walking through a glorious urban experiment on neighbourhood migration." I could have sworn the first time I read this it said "gentrification"!

Mr. Pound himself and his blackshirt pals would have approved.

Saving grace sucks.
NEWSFLASH: just because there aren't yuppie coffee bars and brunch joints popping up everywhere doesn't mean there are no "signs of life" in a neighborhood. I find it totally revolting when I read stuff like this : are people who don't market to your narrow "lifestyle" even visible to you? Or are they, and their culture, (as your article suggests) in effect, dead?
sadaymarlene / December 29, 2011 at 03:25 pm
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you definitely love to get new coupon online shopping
padma / January 19, 2012 at 08:46 am
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pretty knick knacks. too bad ezra's kind of a douche.
Anonymous / June 2, 2013 at 12:19 pm
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This crowd here can be a little stuck up.

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