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Cafes

Grinder (Gerrard Street)

Posted by Staff / Posted on September 19, 2010

Grinder Cafe TorontoGrinder Coffee on the corner of Gerrard and Marjory is an offshoot of the popular Main St. joint of the same name. Although the three-month-old cafe sells the same brew and baked goods as its older sister, it is crafting its own identity in a hub of Toronto defined by Home Depot, Winners and, more recently, Great Burger Kitchen.

Grinder's most prominent trait is its grab-and-go urns conveniently installed for nine-to-fivers attempting to swiftly pour a cup before catching the TTC. While owners Euan Mowat and James Feistner encourage patrons to pay before bolting, the two also support the honour system and allow customers to pay when they return.

Grinder Cafe TorontoOn my most recent visit, I enter the narrow beige space with a red accent wall to the chime of two friendly baristas. Before I even gander their chalk-board menu, the two pleasantly chirp suggestions and pairing advice with a comfortable serving of weather chit-chat on the side. I settle on a coffee (sm. $1.41/lg $2.25) and a recommended cranberry muffin ($2.65) -- both are delicious. Although I generally prefer (essentially) gasoline before noon, Grinder's signature roast is a welcomed medium bodied and lightly acidic brew with strong floral accents. The cranberry muffin deliciously balances the tart fruit with the sweet dough, and the treat pairs flawlessly with the coffee.

Grinder Cafe TorontoFor Grinder enthusiasts, the coffee shop offers 1/2lb bags ($10) of their signature roasted drip, decaf and espresso beans to prepare at home. For tea lovers, Grinder sells loose-leaf tea by Whole World Trade Ltd. ($2.25).

Grinder Cafe TorontoIf there's a disappointing aspect to Grinder, it is the cafe's lack of originality. While everything looks tempting, their menu never extends beyond the expected and obvious. Grinder offers your standard espresso drinks: americanos (sm $2.81/lg $3.39), lattes ($4.22), cappuccinos ($3.93), mochas ($5.42) and chai lattes (sm $4.22/lg. $5.42) to name a few.

Grinder Cafe TorontoIt has a selection of "genuine Montreal bagels" ($2.50) and a number of common sandwiches made on site ($5) such as BBQ pork loin, roast beef and chicken salad. And, displayed in kitchsy glass bell-jars is a rotating selection of standard cafe fare (cookies, bars, tarts, etcetera) purchased from Toronto-based caterers. They even offer what many consider essential cafe perks such as no extra charge for soy or specialty milks and soon-to-be-available free WiFi.

Grinder Cafe TorontoMowat claims the cafe's predictability is a kind-of-sort-of Waterloo, stating Grinder isn't offering anything new but rather it is offering a service. I can easily go along with his thinking as there is certainly a place in every city for the archetype cafe. Some (including myself) prefer to describe this kind of run-of-the-mill business as homey and/or comforting.

Grinder Cafe TorontoAll in all, Grinder offers good coffee and good food. The baristas are charming and, most importantly, the cafe fills a void in an area of Toronto that would otherwise be snagged by a Coffee Time.

Hours: Mon-Sat 7:00am - 4:00pm; Sun 8:00am - 4:00pm

Grinder Cafe TorontoWriting by Carl Hiehn. Photos by Dennis Marciniak.

Discussion

13 Comments

kyliep / October 1, 2010 at 10:34 am
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one of the tastiest cups of machiatto i've had in awhile. will definitely be back again.
dennie / October 1, 2010 at 02:32 pm
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Grinder - either location - is one of my fav spots to meet friends. Excellent coffee, fabulous staff and a simple pleasure.
Regular / April 22, 2011 at 03:57 pm
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The coffee and the friendliness of the staff are what keeps me going back. Everyone who has served me there has been kind- probably better than any other cafe in Toronto.
joy / June 20, 2011 at 06:03 pm
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great donuts too!
Jamie Laidlaw / September 17, 2011 at 06:40 pm
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Friendly and funky Grinder Coffee is a welcome hang out in The emerging Hood.
b / October 1, 2011 at 12:00 pm
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They have free Wi-Fi.
Paul chattem / October 17, 2011 at 04:02 pm
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Decent coffee, prices don't make sense. Love the bench.
Jeffrey Paull / December 2, 2011 at 04:35 pm
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The barrista (spelling?) is welcoming and friendly, instead of being the more usual employee-behind-the-counter functionary. Also, she brings your order to your table, so you don't have to stand around at the counter. That sure adds class to the joint! The place has a lively personality. And it's right next to Underground Cinema.
Chris Archer / January 8, 2012 at 03:59 pm
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What do you mean doesnt make sense? You get decent prices, decent coffee, decent food and Ewan and Laura for a reasonable price! If cheap suits you, Tims is down the street!At Grinders you can stay as long as you want! Grinders is worth the price!
Jon Kapos / February 26, 2012 at 11:26 pm
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I tried one of their coffees one day and I could tell that they use old coffee. The drink had no aroma or flavor.
Noob / March 2, 2012 at 03:19 am
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First time at Grinder today. Great coffee, great staff and owner. I wish this cafe was in my neighbourhood. Be back again for sure.
Sharon / April 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm
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At the top of the ad, the address and a map would be helpful. I've visited the shop and was pleased but please do not include me on any email list. My comments are to help your positive progress forward.
Alison / July 8, 2014 at 03:44 pm
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I got a dark chocolate and sea salt cookie there today, and it was really bad. It appears that they took a regular chocolate chip cookie, drizzled chocolate on it (which hardened in a weird way), and then poured so much regular table salt on it. Not impressed

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