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Cafes

Grain Curd & Bean

Posted by Wendy D / Posted on March 12, 2009

Grain Curd & BeanGrain, Curd and Bean is "not a health food store", says owner Mike Wdowiak. Nor is it a tofu factory. There's something meaty about the name, something clinical that may be misinterpreted by the everyday passer by. But break it down and you get to the facts, jack - the heart of the matter - that GCB sells bread, cheese and coffee. It's a cafe, it's a cheese shop and it's a delight full of delights.

GCB GrainsBut back to the "not a health food store" thing. A lot of cafes pride themselves on serving healthy, organic fare - which is cool - but GCB has a mandate to put cheese in your gullet, starting with the display case full of mostly Canadian deliciousness. Weekends fill the shop with fromage lovers from the Dundas West neighbourhood, which up until now was lacking in its cheese selection.

GCB Cheesecake"We make a cheesecake that'll kill you," he declares. (PS: Mike makes the cheesecake. Respect. His wife prepares other wares, like the hummus.) See, the whole idea started with a love of cheese and the dream of opening a small shoppe. When he found this property in his neighbourhood, things fell into place - the spot was a lot bigger than he imagined, so it grew from the dream of a tiny cheese store to a renaissance cafe.

GCB Seating"Bread, cheese and coffee - that's what we like. We want to keep it simple." Stop by, sample some cheese and pick up a baguette for dinner. Breads are supplied by Fred's Bread and Ontario Bread, with the "best bagels in the city" by A&D Bagels. Pick up Evelyn's Crackers, which are made with red fife whole wheat or just enjoy a latte in the huge side room. "We're not pretending to be gourmet - we just like food."

GCB CurdThe most charming part about GCB is that even though they've settled in nicely, Mike and his wife Yvonne are far from finished. They want to add sandwiches and soups, they want to expand the kitchen, they want to see where development in the next few months can take them. "I'd really like to fast forward to the summer and see this place when it's warm," says Mike. They plan to host events and currently showcase rotating artists.

GCB CounterPoint is, just like the neighbourhood developing around them, GCB is a work in progress - but they've already found a groove. "We specialize in three things that are kind of a weird combo, but people love them!"

Wi-fi: Yes
Closed Tuesdays, otherwise open til 6pm.

GCB Cappuccino

GCB Roomy

GCB Menu 1

GCB Menu 1

Discussion

24 Comments

Deni / March 13, 2009 at 09:00 am
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Hey ... I was a little skeptical at first about getting a latte in hybrid shop that specializes in cheese and bread as well as coffee. But to my pleasant surprise, it was a good latte! Good for you GCB.
JT / March 13, 2009 at 09:56 am
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$2 for tea?
Ashleigh / March 13, 2009 at 10:14 am
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Glad you reviewed this place - I've walked past it a few times and wondered. Next time I'll go in!
TraderZed / March 13, 2009 at 10:15 am
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I grab cheese from here pretty frequently, great selection and friendly service! Americano's here are fantastic!
labrevFrab / March 13, 2009 at 11:11 am
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Another well designed cafe that sells overpriced flavored water. wow. $2 for Tea??? Are you serious??? I hope it's that tea that comes from leopard shit. Will BlogTo post anything with close up images from an SLR and write about it?
Jen / March 13, 2009 at 12:34 pm
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Yeah, $2.00 for tea is far too much, unless it's the really good stuff (an in that case, you'd think that the varieties would be on the board). You have to wonder what is so special about the water that they have to charge 50 cents extra to turn that espresso into an americano, too.

That aside, it does sound like a great store, and focuses on three of my favourite things :)
Reelair / March 13, 2009 at 01:02 pm
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JEN
I think the 50 cents for Americano might be for the larger cup. I am just guessing, but then again that is a lot for a cup. What would Mr Miller think of all this cup crime?
Cho / March 13, 2009 at 03:27 pm
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They have amazing Green Olive/Chipotle bread. Yum. Actually, I'm a bit obsessed and disheartened when they’re sold out of it.
anon / March 13, 2009 at 05:59 pm
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Another coffee shop for freelancers, stay-at-home moms, and the unemployed. I love the number of indie coffee shops in this city, but as someone who works regular office hours, I'm stuck supporting the mega-chains when it comes to coffee shop sitting in the evenings. A damn shame too.
Burt / March 14, 2009 at 10:14 am
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Wow, $2 for tea. OMG! Quit yer bitchin you tightwads. Starbucks charges a buck and a half, so if I have to pay fifty cents extra to support a local buisness, I'm happy to. If you can't afford fifty extra cents for your tea so you can support local business and drink it in a nice atmosphere, then get your ghetto-self over to second cup and be done with it. Yeesh!
Michelle / March 15, 2009 at 09:49 am
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I think we all need to remember that restaurants can not charge for only the cost of the item you purchase, and their prices must include a contribution to the costs of running the business, otherwise, the business will fail. Costs of running a cafe include things like rent, wages, cleaning, maintenance and services such as wireless internet access. If you expect to pay only for water and a tea bag, you can always stay home.
Kim / March 15, 2009 at 09:51 am
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nice people! good coffee! fabulous cheese and bread! nomnom :)
Mike / March 15, 2009 at 01:52 pm
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A note on our pricing for the espresso americano issue. $1.50 is the cost on a single espresso. Our americanos are double shots thus 2 bucks. Thanks for all the great comments!
urbanist / March 15, 2009 at 10:06 pm
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Looks lovely! I can't believe that people complain about the price of a tea. It costs a lot of money to run a business and the good independent cafe owners aren't usually raking in the cash and driving around in jag's. They are sharing their passion with the community.
Shari / March 27, 2009 at 05:14 pm
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the bread & latte's are fabulous! I live in the area and I am so glad that a nice new cafe/coffe shop has been added to Dundas west instead of another crummy drunken smelly portuguese bar!
mr / April 3, 2009 at 02:11 pm
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I have to say I enjoy this shop! Great cheese, bagels, coffee, and an amazing room to sit and chat, work and relax. I do however, find the service to be very disapointing - the last few times I have been in there the owner has been very rude, grumpy and short with myself and other customers. This is the general buzz I have gotten from three or four friends that refuse to go back because of the service.

I think when you open a place like this, people can back for two reasons: 1. great coffee (and for GCB, cheese, bread..etc) and 2. great service.

If you are made to feel unwelcome or it's a hassle to ask for a coffee and some cheese, I and many others will simply just go to the next coffee shop. Within a 2 min walk you can access a few other coffee shops with excellent, friendly and welcoming service.

All I have to say is - if you don't want to be there, hire someone that does - because you are going to drive even more customers away.

I will try it a few more times, in hopes that the service changes because I do like supporting my local businesses, however, if I get the same service I received last time - I will not be back.

Scrooge McScottish Stereotype / May 5, 2009 at 04:50 pm
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Re: omg $2 tea????(s)

Last I was there they had free wifi. That justifies the price bump. Starbucks charges $1.50 for tea and something like $3 for wifi. Personally I'd like to support an indie shop regardless, but it helps to know there's no gouging afoot.
Johnny Jacks / May 8, 2009 at 09:30 am
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It's a nice place and the food is good - expensive but not unreasonable for a boutique shop.

The real problem is that the owner is an arrogrant dude that doesn;t seem to realize how pompous he is - he should leave front-of-counter to his other excellent staff.
Thaipografik replying to a comment from Burt / October 21, 2009 at 04:39 pm
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AGREED.

I love this cafe. I usually stop in every weekend for a delicious smoked salmon bagel, an equally as delicious Americano, and usually a big slab of Valdeon or Beemster to take home. They've recently started selling cured meats and such. love. love. love.

Also, Mike the owner really isn't arrogant at all. He's just a bit stoic at first. He's warmed up to us after a few visits and it's an absolute pleasure going in.
J.T / November 25, 2009 at 08:47 pm
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Visited this place for the first time today and really enjoyed the
experience! The Americano I had was terrific and it stands among the cities best. And for two-bucks, it can't be beat! The service was excellent and the ambiance is very welcoming. I love the neighbourhood this cafe finds itself in. It's a very Portugues and
working class part of the city that has over the last few years begun to undergo a slight demographic shift. All the trendy cafes on the strip are a nice counterweight to the butcher shops and hardware stores!

Keep up the good work GCB!!!
HHH / March 3, 2010 at 05:52 pm
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I walk down that strip everyday on my to work, and it bugs me to no end that GCB, Zoots, and the other coffee shops are not open until 9:00 am. The only thing I need a coffee shop to have (besides good coffee) is to be open early when I need the coffee. The couple of times that I was going by there later on in the day, the americano is pretty good though, not as good as "the Common" but there is almost never a line up here.
abdv / May 27, 2010 at 10:22 am
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I just moved into the neighbourhood last month. The first thing on my list was to find a good place to buy bagels. I was delighted to stumble upon GCB. I love the thin montreal style bagels they sell. In the first three weeks my roommate and I have bought bagels almost daily along with cheese and the odd tea.
I found my first few encounters with the owner to be a little strange... he was kind of rude, and would never return my "hello's" or "have a good day" I thought, oh well, ill endure his grouchy attitude for the bagels. The other morning he was so outright RUDE that I will never return. He ruined my whole morning!
Like I said, im a fan of the bagels. For the past few mornings I have been sending my roommate in undercover. This morning was the worst....
He got to the shop at 9:30 to find the door locked. The sign clearly says he opens at 9. My friend tried pulling on the door and even made eye contact! The man just looked away and acted as if he didnt see him. My roommate waited 30 minutes in the sun until finally another customer he seemed to know came up to the door. He ran over and unlocked the door.
Really?

Can anyone recommend another place to buy bagels in this neighbourhood?
nevetsb / May 27, 2010 at 11:00 am
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i am relieved to see that i am not the only one who has been receiving attitude from this guy. having worked with the public for many years myself, it would seem common knowledge that first impressions really are lasting impressions (as cliche as that sounds) would it kill the guy to return a "good morning" or crack a smile? yes, the bagels are delicious and the americano's are possibly the best on the block but i am willing to compromise taste for a friendlier encounter, especially first thing in the morning when i want to start my day off on a positive note rather then walking away feeling bothered by this mans grumpy, non caring and somewhat "f-you" attitude.
i have continued to return on the basis that this is a small business in my community and i would like to support him, however with the amount of comparable shops within a short walking distance who's staff are friendly and happy to serve me i doubt i will be returning nor will i recommend this place to friends.
Ychhh replying to a comment from abdv / July 23, 2010 at 07:20 pm
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@abdv:
You can get excellent Montreal-style bagels from Naturalis on Roncesvalles (1 blk N. of Queen). They are every bit as good as GCB. http://www.blogto.com/bakery/naturalis

@abdy & @nevetsb:
I agree that basic friendly customer service goes a long way, and when you encounter ongoing rudeness from any store staff -- and especially from a store owner -- it is a big turn-off, and justifiable motivation to finding alternatives. I've personally never had any problems with GCB service, but then again I try to keep my expectations of others not very high (so as not to be let down too far).

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