Wednesday, September 2, 2015Mostly Cloudy 31°C

Lit Espresso Bar

Posted by Sarah Ratchford / Posted on September 2, 2013

Lit Espresso TorontoLit Espresso Bar thrives in not one, but two Toronto neighbourhoods, and owner Joe Angellotti says they're always looking to expand on that success.

Lit EspressoThe cafe's first location opened on Roncesvalles in 2008, and its tables have been crammed ever since. When I was a student, I'd often try to work from that location, only to walk in and find the tables already full of others with the same idea as me and a considerable stroller-wielding crowd. The College St. location followed suit a couple of years later, and it's also successful, though you'll probably have more luck finding a seat.

Lit EspressoInstead of taking Lit's popularity as an annoyance, I choose to just be happy there is such a friendly spot in the area that also had great coffee. They're looking to spread the wealth, too. About a year ago, Lit chose to focus on the roasting side of the operation, and Angellotti launched Pig Iron Roasters, which supplies all of Lit's coffee. They also have around 11 wholesale customers throughout Canada.

Lit Espresso"I love cafes and stuff, but I wanted something different to do. Plus, this is good for the cafes since it brings the cost down," Angellotti says. Though he's always interested in expanding his operation, running a business is always a give and take kind of situation. They once had a third location in the Burroughes building too but vacated the premised in the middle of the night. Angellotti doesn't want to get in to details as to why that happened but suggests (as other previous tenants of the building also have) it was due to issue with the landlord.

Lit EspressoWhile there are no other locations in the works as of now, Angellotti is actively expanding on the menu at both the Roncy and College locations. He says they're about to "up the food game," scrapping the panini currently on the menu in favour of higher quality sandwiches and salads. "We're in the business of high quality coffee, so we might as well make everything good in the process."

Lit EspressoSpeaking of the coffee, I would recommend hitting up Lit for any of the classics. They churn out batches of fruity cold brew in the summer, and in the winter, their lattes or cappuccinos come complete with delightful foam art and rich, comfortable flavours.

Lit has become an institution in both Little Italy and Roncy, and it's only getting better.

Lit EspressoThanks to the New Listerine UltraClean for sponsoring our coffee-fueled adventures.

Photos by Jesse Milns



Ben S / September 2, 2013 at 09:30 pm
Best espresso on Roncy. Just wished they would up their game in the baked-good department. I'd love for Cherry Bomb and Lit to make a baby.
jenn / September 2, 2013 at 10:00 pm
Bebe / September 2, 2013 at 10:47 pm
Cherry Bomb has the best coffee - I'd love to love Lit - but as a soy milk drinker - they'd have to switch brands and not charge extra for soy!
piero / September 2, 2013 at 11:30 pm
For all the craze about Soy, very few incarnations of soy are actually healthy for you. The ones that are have their origin in traditional Asian food. See more below.
Matt / September 3, 2013 at 09:48 am
To those who know anything about what third-wave coffee is supposed to taste like, you can't even come close to Lit and their Pig Iron coffee anywhere else in Toronto.
trickydisco replying to a comment from Bebe / September 3, 2013 at 12:24 pm
agreed - cherry bomb slays on all fronts hands down!
Sara @ Sweetpea's / September 3, 2013 at 06:17 pm
I have to admit, I am not a coffee drinker. Not in the least. I have had two cups my entire life. But I do have a (and sometimes twice) daily stop at Lit for a large Jasmine tea and blueberry bran muffin. So much so, that my dog, Toby, knows to just walk to the bike post out front as part of our daily walk to work, so he can wait for me to pop in and grab breakfast.

This is my happy place. It is where I go to get away, but still be part of my neighbourhood. The staff there are always extremely friendly and I love that I don't even have to ask when I step up to the counter, it is usually already being set in front of me.

On one very specific day, I remember walking in, beat, tired and looking for my escape. I had broken my wrist not long before that and taken to journalling to deal with some changes in my personal life. I needed some "me time" to get my head together. The line-up was out the door, but my favourite table was just in the process of being vacated. I dropped my bag to save the spot and went to join the masses. Josh smiled at me and as I walked towards the back of the line, he handed me my much needed tea, and said to pay for it when I was ready. I know this seems like such a simple thing to do, but when you are exhausted, can barely lift your head, your arm is throbbing and your pain meds hadn't kicked in, I felt like someone had given me a bar of gold. A few minutes later, he popped by the table with a chocolate croissant and apologized that they were out of muffins. My heart nearly exploded I was so happy. I think I left a $5 tip that day for a $5 bill. I felt like I should have left more.

There are days you remember the simple kindnesses that strangers do for you, and this happened to be one of them. For that day, and every day I pop into Lit, thanks guys.
Ash / September 4, 2013 at 05:40 pm
Not particularly stunned any time I've been here...
The staff is nice but hit and miss at the College location.
$18 for a 1/2 lb of Ethiopian I can't even try on store?
Sorry, no dice.
Pat / May 25, 2014 at 01:07 pm
Not the ones in charge or managing at the Roncesvalles cafe, but the other staff do not have people skills or awareness of transactions and the public. While the customer is ordering, they (yes, sometimes all of them at the same time) are more focused on what's going on outside like a friend or someone they know coming in or scheduled to come in (or their personal plans), meanwhile not listening properly to the customer being served and then acting like the customer is fault and that they're not at fault themselves for lack of focus. A sign of certain generations being affected by too much technology in society now showing its effects? In other words, they have to wake up!

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