Mad Dog Cafe
Mad Dog Cafe sits on a lonely stretch of road, just past Gerrard and Logan. From the outside it doesn't look like much — just two plastic patio chairs and a friendly dog tethered on a leash waiting patiently.
When I pay my visit, right away I am greeted by a smiling barista named Adam standing behind a long wooden counter at the rear of the cafe. At first I was a little confused about whether or not I just sit down and wait for service, or order from the counter. The cafe has a diner-like feel to it — cozy booths & and lots of big tables. There is even a wait station that just needs a POS. The barista tells me that the kitchen isn't fully operational yet, and that they hope to have much more than just coffee & pastries very soon.
Regardless of whether or not they are a diner or a cafe, they're doing something special with coffee. Right now they are offering two local roasters; Detour Coffee out of Dundas for their espresso; and Merchants of Green for their revolving single-origin drip coffee offerings. They have an eye catching two group Elektra 60 espresso machine complete with dark wood handles and a modified Mazzer Robur grinder with timed dosing. I can tell right away that they take their coffee seriously.
I ordered an espresso and I was impressed that Adam served me up a glass of water to prepare my palate, and he was able to answer my questions about the coffee that he was carefully pulling. They don't have saucers or spoons which is too bad because I really like stirring my espresso before sipping.
"We're serving Punch Buggy Espresso Blend roasted by Detour Coffee Roasters," he told me while carefully tamping the coffee into the portafilter. "It's a blend of Brazil for the sweetness, Ethiopian for the acidity, and El Salvadoran for the rich cocoa."
The espresso tasted sweet, nutty, and not too bright. A very balanced shot served in a classy glass demi-tasse. They always offer 21 gram double shots or 10 gram single shots for all of their espresso drinks, and they steam their milk to 145F so that it doesn't lose any sweetness.
They also offer pastries from the ever-popular Circles & Squares and they serve their vast Tea Emporium selection in a french press. Right now they're doing home-made soup & sandwich combos for lunch as they prepare to roll out more hot food in the near future.
The prices for their espresso drinks reflect how many shots you want. A single shot of espresso is $1.75 and a double shot is $2.50. A single shot latte is$ 3.50 and a double is $4.00. Their loose leaf tea is $2.00 or $3.00 depending upon the size of the french press, and tea bags are a $1.50. Their drip coffee comes in small ($1.50), medium ($1.75), and large ($2.00) sizes.
Mad Dog Cafe also offers free Wi-Fi with a password and soy at no extra charge. They are open during the week from 7am to 6pm, and on Saturday from 9am to 6pm.
Writing and photos by Robert Morrissey.