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Mad Dog Cafe

Posted by Staff / Posted on April 20, 2011

Mad Dog CafeMad 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.

Mad Dog Cafe TorontoRegardless 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.

Mad Dog Cafe Toronto"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."

Mad Dog Cafe TorontoThe 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.

2011421-mad-dog-jpgWriting and photos by Robert Morrissey.



sonnyb / April 18, 2011 at 10:48 am
Great place. Lovely atmosphere and friendly service. Love what Johnson is doing for the neighborhood. Hey Riverdale, come support one of our own!
Bill / April 20, 2011 at 07:16 pm
When I lived on Logan I always thought that block on Gerrard had a ton of potential. Glad to see something good start up.
SMurphy / April 20, 2011 at 08:42 pm
So nice to see signs of development in the Logan and Gerrard area. It's ripe for some cool shops and places to eat.
KLM / April 20, 2011 at 09:40 pm
Tried a Mad Dog latte today and enjoyed it. This is a gem of a spot - Johnson has done a top notch job on the renos and has some great ideas about the direction he wants to take with the menu. I'll be back for sure.
Ski replying to a comment from Abomb / April 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm
I love this place! The staff are super nice and amazing at what they do. Great atmosphere, and even better coffee. The guy in the picture up top was who served me and it was one of the best shots of espresso I've had in a while. Keep it up Mad Dog. Glad you're in the neighborhood!
Mad about coffee / April 24, 2011 at 07:13 pm
Open Sundays too!
Kristen / April 30, 2011 at 11:49 pm
Mad Dog is a great new cafe and a welcome addition to the neighbourhood! Stopping by there on my way to the dog park is one of my favourite things to do, and Adam is a great barista!
Arby / May 16, 2011 at 01:33 pm
I visited Mad Dog for the first time yesterday and was impressed. And I really enjoyed my stay. I was served by a barista who gained her chops in Halifax at another indie shop. Therefore it was a pleasure being served by her and being able to talk coffee with her. And she pulled me a couple of scrumptious singles on their Elektra. Detour is one of my favorite coffee companies. The flavor I had was the ubiquitous Punch Buggy and it's great coffee.

I was introduced to Johnson (spelling?) and found him to be sharp, friendly and unprentious. There are now two decent indie coffee shops on Gerrard on the east end - that I know of. The other indie shops need tweaking. Pooh pooh the idea of training (on the espresso machine) at your own peril shop owners! Also, Never, never, never let your baristas come to work drenched in perfume or cologne. Do you actually have to be told that?

Having said that, I would like to see all the indie shops on Gerrard work because they have what it takes and there's no reason why they can't. The people I've met in all of them are good people and the coffee is fine.

Back to Mad Dog. l really liked the physical space here. It's comfortable and warm and it just works. I suppose it's sometimes the luck of the draw. There are classy, happening indie shops where the physical space isn't great. That alone doesn't make a indie shop indie, and good. But it's a factor. When everything is in place, including a good physical space (for customers and employees), it's magic.

This bleak as heck corner suddenly is a lot less bleak. Hopefully, It'll spur a few more projects. I see shops that have potential. Regardless, I'm happy for the overjoyed locals. I am seeking to move back to TO, and seeing how I know this part of TO best, I could very well end up in this hood. Now I don't have to fear such a development!
Gregörb replying to a comment from Jasmine / July 13, 2011 at 06:51 pm
Love the new addition to the neighbourhood. Great space, tasty grilled sandwiches and really good coffee. Lots of potential - a patio out front would be great. My new hangout.
Another Jane / July 27, 2012 at 01:27 pm
Mad Dog is LOVELY! Delicious food and coffee and Johnson is a delight. I love working there for hours, and watching the world go by.

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