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Cafes

The Rooster Coffee House

Posted by Elizabeth / Posted on February 1, 2010

Rooster Coffee HouseThe Rooster Coffee House opened in December on a sleepy stretch of Broadview across from Riverdale Park. Co-owned by Shawn Andrews and her partner Dave, they were surprised at how quickly their dream turned into a reality.

Packed to the high ceilings on the Saturday afternoon of my visit, it's full of people who treat it more like their living room than a cafe.

Rooster Coffee HouseComfy leather chairs are rearranged at will into more suitable positions for chatting, surfing, or playing the board games casually strewn about on the vintage luggage that serves as coffee tables.

Want to have an afternoon work meeting with some friends or colleagues? Pull up a chair at the huge rectangular table in the back. Stopping in for a quick cup on the way? Slide up to the bar seats at the window and gaze out over the park.

Rooster Coffee HouseThe Rooster Coffee House sells it's own specialty roasts, done to order by the artists at Te Aro. Here you can get anything from a standard Americano or make choice from their selection of custom blends like Atomic Rooster or Bold Beaver ($2.75-$4.00).

Rooster Coffee HouseNot one to leave cautious neighborhood moms without options, Rooster offers an array of Tealish and kid friendly drinks -- including a surprising take on a hot chocolate, called a Toastee Almond Latte -- containing no sugar and steeped in milk. This, however, is not to be outdone by the killer hot chocolate, which certainly hits the spot.

Rooster Coffee HouseThe modern-meets-vintage design gives Rooster an elegant but comfortable vibe. Cut glass chandeliers hang over the modern counter, and old serving silverware provide places for dirty spoons.

The staff are incredibly friendly, taking special care to make each cup right, while chatting up the regulars who came in droves.

Rooster Coffee HouseShawn tries to emphasize locally made products, and it shows. She does live next door, after all. The treats on the counter come from a neighbor down the street, muffins, butter tarts and homemade marshmallows ($1.75-$2.50), while local artist Matt Durant graces the walls with his unique work.

Rooster Coffee HouseIt's clear Shawn cares in a way that's characteristic of a small town upbringing, attending to each and every detail -- right down to the dog mat and bowls out front, which are there because she feels bad they can't all come inside.

Rooster Coffee HouseRooster doesn't share the street with much, and that makes it the perfect neighborhood gathering spot. The view from its windows offers a spectacular vista of the city and front row seats to some wonderful sunsets.

Rooster Coffee House

Rooster Coffee House

Discussion

69 Comments

Buddy / January 7, 2010 at 02:37 pm
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LOVE this place! Best coffee in T.O., GREAT staff and awesome decor/atmosphere.
Ace / January 7, 2010 at 04:13 pm
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Checked this place out recently - they actually have good coffee, and are using some top notch beans. Owners seem very cool as well.
CYKL chick / January 7, 2010 at 09:41 pm
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this place is awesome! coffee is smooth and delicious and the staff is warm and welcoming. The decor is cozy, you don't want to leave and everyone makes you feel like you don't have to :) Had the best banana bread there too, perfect combo with my latte!
Craig / January 8, 2010 at 07:56 am
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i believe this place is Only called the Rooster? I don't think it is Red. Great to see it made the list!!
Michael Schellenberg / January 8, 2010 at 08:30 am
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This place is awesome--it has a great vibe and the best view in the city. The latte is delicious and the baked goods delicious.... It is definitely a "no-attitude" zone--and will be a great place to get your hot chocolate after a vigorous tobogganing session or dog walk.
Kenny G / January 9, 2010 at 12:52 pm
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So rad, this place is dope. Love the coffee and the atmosphere is wicked. Tubular!
kelly / January 9, 2010 at 07:00 pm
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the Rooster is an oasis of friendly staff, comfortable atmosphere and great coffee. there is nothing better than a neighbour coffee cafe to relax and enjoy a good cup. look forward to coming back
WoW! / January 10, 2010 at 09:40 am
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I love this place. The staff are great, The coffee rocks, and the vibe here is so wonderful. What a great addition to the hood!
jadegirl / January 10, 2010 at 10:04 pm
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checked this out today with a girlfriend after reading your review. We played scrabbel, (they have it there!) with two dudes we had never met before??? when does that happen..
Jamie / January 11, 2010 at 09:50 am
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Great place, friendly staff welcoming environment and good espresso to boot. The Rooster will be in the top three next year!
Merrie Wasson / January 12, 2010 at 01:22 pm
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This place is great - the coffee is good, the owners are fantastic and they play good music. Toronto needs more places like this: no attitude and totally relaxed.
James / January 12, 2010 at 01:36 pm
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5 Stars from me. Just found out they use Te Aro coffee - no wonder it was so damn good. I will be back and be spreading the word about this radical place.
cobaretti / January 13, 2010 at 08:01 am
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I personally know the owners and can say that they are the nicest people I've ever met. The opening of this coffee house was highly anticipated by members of the film and commercial industry. I know it will be around for years to come.
dave / January 13, 2010 at 08:49 am
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WOW. Great atmosphere and staff. Can't wait to go and get my next latte fix.
Kevin / January 13, 2010 at 11:24 am
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This is what a coffee shop should be! I was sick of "chains" and am happy to support local homebrew. The owners when the extra mile and it shows. Well done!
Tannis / January 13, 2010 at 07:06 pm
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Just discovered this coffee shop after skating at Riverdale park. Great coffee and really inviting atmosphere - perfect place to get a cuppa and a snack!
Arby / January 16, 2010 at 12:13 pm
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I love The Rooster Coffee House! Dynamite digs, free wifi (which may need to have some bugs worked out but that's neither here nor there), very friendly and enthusiastic baristas, appropriate eats and awesome coffee make this place top notch. The owner is super nice and I could only wish my boss were as easy going. She's up for the challenge of doing this business well and providing smiles to all, diving into the learning curve involved. It helps that she's getting great help and assistance from Te Aro's super nice owner, Andy.

Te Aro's coffee is used here. And I'm truly impressed. It's air roasted, which I understand can make for brighter (weaker) coffee. Well, Not only is there no problem with Rooster's espressos, it's memorable. That's my way of saying that it's not just okay. It's excellent. Considering all the other plusses here, namely those I just mentioned and the fact that it's in an awesome location (summer's going to look gorgeous here), I'd be visiting regularly whether or not the coffee was great. So the coffee here is the cherry on top for me. It doesn't hurt that a friend of mine works here as well.

Well done Sean (spelling?)! Look out Sam James! ;-)
Emma / January 16, 2010 at 05:09 pm
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Great cafe! The ambience is wonderful and the coffee is fantastic. Also there are two scrabble boards :)
Tim / January 19, 2010 at 04:23 pm
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Great coffee...super nice owners/staff...decor is awesome...they play good music (although a little quiet)...amazing view (especially the sunset).

Can't wait for summer and the patio! One of the best cafes in Toronto.
Christine / January 20, 2010 at 06:46 pm
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The coffee is outstanding! Love the communal table and bright space, the owners are wonderful and remember our names! We love the Rooster.
Sebastian Mirecki / January 21, 2010 at 04:36 pm
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The owners and staff are really relaxed and have no attitude about them, they are very inviting and make you feel at home in their cafe. The decor is charming and homey while the space is well utilized for maximum comfort. Also, lots of light and a great view of the cityscape from the cafe!

Be sure to check this place out when you are out in the East end!

The coffee is as excellent as the place! Come for the coffee, the people, and the atmosphere, it's a win win!
Dave R / January 21, 2010 at 05:14 pm
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I love this place. The owner so kindly offered me free coffee when all I had was VISA and Debit. Wicked wicked view and a gent told me that their drip coffee was way above average!
Bryan / January 29, 2010 at 06:20 pm
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I have never thought too highly about roosters. They seem quite full of themselves considering they have stick legs, weird flappy skin and wake everyone up in the morning. But after visiting the Rooster Coffee Shop in Riverdale many times since they have opened, I now proudly crow to others about the excellent service and great coffee at this fine coffee house. Although it's not the only coffee house in Riverdale, it's far superior to anything else in the area. The coffee roasts are excellent (my favourite is the Kenyan), the space is open with a lot of light and a big communal table, families are welcome and they make a great London Fog. Best of all is the service. The owners run the business and hire staff who share the same principle: treat your customers well and they will return again and again. Way to go Rooster...Cockadoodledoo!
Dundas BP / February 1, 2010 at 11:09 am
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I moved from Downtown TO a year ago to Dundas Ontario. I arrive back in the city most weekends to visit friends...found the Rooster Coffee House.. wow! The coffee is superb and the "family" of owners and baristas make it feel like coming home to a best friend's kitchen table. Always friendly, always a smile, and even though I buy their special blend coffee beans to take home.. my car finds it way back every Sunday for the real thing.
littleman / February 1, 2010 at 11:32 am
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my dad loves this coffee shop. lots of big soft armchairs for his old butt. good capps and nice staff. i just hope they keep up the care factor and don't let the general public break them :]
citygal / February 1, 2010 at 12:48 pm
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wow, judging by all the posts here, this is a must visit!
and look at that hot chocolate, they are certainly not stingy with the marshmallows. mmm...
Tyrone / February 1, 2010 at 04:04 pm
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This place looks great and all, but can cafes in this city stay open later than 6pm please?
mondayjane / February 1, 2010 at 06:25 pm
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hey, that hipster in the first pic looks just like Kevin Drew!
grace / February 1, 2010 at 11:26 pm
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this place makes for a nice study spot on weekdays when it's not too busy. (although with all these rave reviews it's bound to get busier now!) the coffee is truly tasty.

i love the cafe reviews on this site. i wonder though if future reviews can make note of the availability of fair-trade certified options? this is a priority for many, but we don't always want to confront staff about the issue at point of purchase...
Paulie / February 2, 2010 at 10:21 pm
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Fab,cool and quite the view ,and a great choc lab so happy to say hi as we were leaving if the dogs dig the vibe then it can only be good.
WELL DONE.
Arwen / February 10, 2010 at 11:01 am
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Excellent coffee. Beautiful view. The owners are really nice which has a wonderful trickle down effect to their exceptional staff. The east side is very lucky to have such a wonderful place to come and warm up.
paulie / February 11, 2010 at 02:01 am
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Just the best people, and why not take your 'relax' period in this space?you would be a fool not to,it is just like WOW .....all is good and you can kick back and start your day ,or end it with very warm and a very welcome back feeling,these guys have it together ..... soon there will be line up's ,correction,the lines are there ,and they will continue to grow,try it and correct me if I am wrong.
Love this place.
Paulie.
Ed / February 17, 2010 at 02:51 pm
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Only dropped in here a couple times as it's out of the way for me, but I really think this place is great. I'm a bit of a coffee geek, so I go out of my way to only buy coffee from Dark Horse(Queen E NOT Spadina), Te Aro Roasted, Crema, and Manic. I have to say, I think these people are taking their coffee seriously. The are buying some of Te Aro's best beans, like the Kenyan, and even though they are selling blends on the drip, they still seem to have single origins available as well.
Their espresso was made very well - I really love the big bro blend, it's nice and sweet but also chocolaty.
If you like the cafes I mentioned above, you will definitely like the rooster cafe.
Hunter / February 22, 2010 at 10:52 pm
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Shawn did an amazing job with the Rooster. The latte's are great and the atmosphere couldn't be more inviting. The luggage, used for tables, from a time gone by really gives an old train station feel that makes you want to enjoy this little escape so much more.

The location couldn't be better either. Overlooking the Riverdale Park (East) you see great sunsets and tobogganers when it snows.

Thanks Shawn for opening up a great coffeehouse. Keep up the great work!
Jordan Worth / February 23, 2010 at 12:01 pm
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Welcome to the Neighborhood!

Epic broad-view of park & skyline.
Yummy Americano's - the right balance of creamy texture & caffeine.
Cozy and eclectic.
Wifi & power receptacles.
Free street parking.

Looking forward to stopping by after a bike ride and
enjoying the patio!

I am coming back!
joegge1 / March 3, 2010 at 12:34 pm
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funny, my studio is on carlaw, & i would rather walk the distance to rooster versus te aro....
Alexis / March 8, 2010 at 08:49 pm
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I'm glad I can go to Te Aro and Rooster! Best cafes in Leslieville. Rooster seems to really be making an effort with their coffee, which is great. They seem quality focused, which I think is not done enough in new cafes.
Janet Jones / March 13, 2010 at 12:44 am
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THE best coffee in the city! and i have tried them all!! I often go in after dropping off daughter at Withrow school...and work for a couple of hours. Love it! Great to see it is doing so well!
Evie / April 9, 2010 at 11:16 am
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This place is great. The coffee is SOOOOOO good. Best espresso I've had in Toronto in the last 6 months. And I absolutely love that they are supporting a local roaster - haven't been to Te Aro yet but going to check it out for sure. I'm so sick of supporting Chicago, Seattle, Vancouver and Montreal's economy!!! I'm from a town in the states, where all the cafes support the local roasters - you can't get fresher beans or better quality. Go Rooster.
Alex / May 7, 2010 at 08:54 am
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I'm a barista visiting from Mtl and I just have to say your coffee is the best. It was a random little detour that led me to your shop, and after visiting Mercury and Dark Horse, I have to say your coffee is just so much better. The espresso was one of the best I've had in the city - such a long finish and beautiful chocolate taste. I must get your roasters details so I can rave about my experience to the cafe scene in Mtl.
Alex / May 7, 2010 at 08:55 am
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PS - what are their details? I would like to get hold of them to order some beans for my cafe.
Watty / May 17, 2010 at 09:59 am
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Hi Alex
The Roaster is Andy at Te Aro.
http://te-aro.myshopify.com/pages/contact
Check them out
Ana / June 13, 2010 at 01:06 pm
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Even if they didn't serve delicious coffee and generously sized teas that they first talk to you about, I would drop by whenever I'm in the neighbourhood.
The atmosphere is relaxed sophistication, decor is unpretentiously stylish and service is graceful.
Choice of books is delightful, art on the walls, originally designed furniture, all just a sheer delight for the eyes.
But the best thing is Shawn's way with patrons. Always willing to explain the qualities of a particular tea, always genuinely friendly.
I'm recommending the Rooster to all my friends...
Marie Wilson / July 16, 2010 at 03:57 pm
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Hey Rooster, you are the best! Of course I love your coffee and your space but I also dig your chalkboard wit: "Your Servers Today: Sonny & Cher" (and they say our love won't pay the rent). Check out my ART at mariewilson.ca and consider it for your venerable walls.
Bo / July 28, 2010 at 08:17 am
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One of the best coffee shops in Toronto. Their espresso is incredible - wanted to buy some beans, but didn't see any? Older crowd here, but still a nice place to hang out.
Te Aro really is the best local roaster in the city - glad I can get such a great coffee so close to my new house. I'll be spreading the word to the younger folk.
Mario / August 5, 2010 at 06:09 pm
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Simply...the best.
The coffee is superb (comparable to the best I've had in Italy).
The selection of sweets may be limited, but they rival anything you'd get in the patisseries of Paris (especially the almond croissant from Jules....a little bit of heaven in Riverdale).
The atmosphere is inviting and the furniture is COMFORTABLE (thank you for that).
But all these things are secondary to the incredble staff. Their warmth and hospitality are the real thing. In my opinion, Jay is the best barrista in the city!
Thank you Shawn for bringing this wonderful place to Riverdale.
mike / August 22, 2010 at 11:45 am
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after reading reviews and hearing from a friend i was excited to try this place, i trekked all the way from the west end to try it.

i ordered my drink and was glared at by the cashier while the guy on bar pouted like it was a huge inconvenience to pour an espresso over ice.

i poured some cream in and started to walk to a table when the female staff member with long black hair shoved past me on the side where i was carrying my drink without saying excuse me. half my drink spilled on the floor. she didnt stop, apologize or even seem to notice. i will not be back nor will i recommend this place to others.
kitty / September 25, 2010 at 09:46 am
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Just read all about the Rooster coffeeshop in the Toronto Star and feel like I've fallen head-over-heels in <3 :))

- can't wait to visit -


Kitty
:)
sara / November 14, 2010 at 10:28 pm
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Forget the coffee, you gotta go to rooster for the tea lattes.
The Miami haze is perfection!
Jenny / November 24, 2010 at 05:22 pm
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I used to be a regular customer at Rooster and while their staff are really friendly, their service is abysmally slow considering the amount of staff they have working there and the coffee (their lattes in particular) are inconsistent. I loved it at first but now I'm meh about it. Loved the view though in the summer.
Edan / January 28, 2011 at 06:00 pm
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Hey Rooster! check out our project featuring some ofthe best in independent Canadian coffee here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TyVyi38q2rk

Check out the details of the project at www.globalauthority.ca

We would love to hear from you!

John / April 23, 2011 at 10:32 pm
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I'm really happy this place is in my area. I've become a regular here, the locals have come to bond with the incredible staff and everyone is on a first name basis.

This has become a gathering for locals, we have actually met people from our neighbourhood, which without this place would have never spoken to.
Coffee Beans / June 22, 2011 at 10:45 am
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Omigosh, this cafe sounds so wonderful and cozy, and your drinks look really delicious and warm hhmmmmmm. Wish I could go here!
Matt / June 22, 2011 at 05:32 pm
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Great warm and open design, friendly staff.

My major qualm is the flood of kiddies and nannies between 3 and 4 weekdays. Chaos!
bethlonit / June 23, 2011 at 11:53 am
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Nice place, very nice coffee, and they're busy so I'm glad to see they're making go of it. The vibe is sort of lost on me tho, it's sorta tense in there.
cookie / June 28, 2011 at 10:18 am
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Great café, staff and the owner are fantastic. NO ATITUDE EVER SERVED just friendly smiles and great coffees and you've gotta try the brownies heaven in your mouth. Great job guys
In the summer borrow a blanket and sit in the park across the street. Worth the ride or walk over
Yves
kat / October 13, 2011 at 09:10 am
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.my fav spot in TO .lovely owner and great staff

Liam / October 26, 2011 at 11:27 am
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Though the rooster is a good environment, it lacks a couple things that neighboring coffee shop riverdale perk does supply, such as an extensive lunch menu. Also every time I have gotten an espresso from the rooster there have been copious amounts of coffee grains In it
BIG BRAINS replying to a comment from mike / March 22, 2012 at 12:57 am
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...and then part of the ceiling fell on me, and then the cashier yelled at me, then the barista made me eat poo and threw a rock at me, then the mean lady with the black hair was really a witch and she ripped my teeth out with her bad magic, then they all started flying around the room screaming, and the whole house lifted up into the air and there was this sound, this sound that you can't hear, a signal that is interpreted by the mind as ineffable terror, and the espresso was too bitter! gosh i wish i had a frappuccino right now!!
Adie / April 26, 2012 at 06:23 pm
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This is an awesome place to go for coffee. I'm usually a manic/dark horse/te aro/crafted fan, and have just now discovered this place. Great views, and really exceptional espresso and brewed coffee.
Eiman / May 6, 2012 at 07:09 pm
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I've been driving by this place for years but haven't dropped in. Tried it today. LOVED IT!!! the latte was smooth and delicate. The staff was friendly and the decor was comfortable. I would definitely go again.
Cynthia / September 22, 2012 at 04:38 pm
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Hi! I live in NYC and it is worth a trip to the Danforth just to sit outside and savor the delicious coffee, gazing over the park. Friendly service and clients. What a find!
mc / September 24, 2012 at 05:40 pm
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this is my kind of coffee shop i.. i love this place..
niall / January 1, 2013 at 03:37 pm
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I love this place too.

My daughter and I saw a fellow in a wheel chair trying to get in. It would be nice if they put in a small ramp to help folks get up the 3" step into the store.
Duke / February 4, 2013 at 02:37 pm
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Love the coffee. The pastries are nice. The view onto Riverdale Park is splendid. Unfortunately, the the otherwise pleasant ambience is ruined by music that so often drones in the background and is usually way too loud.
Anyone ever ask for the music to be turned up? I doubt it! Why not turn the music volume down(alot) or from time to time, remove the music altogether? People should be able to converse without having to shout at each other.
Otherwise, the Rooster is a very nice cafe.

Julie / March 27, 2013 at 05:19 pm
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loved the toasted almond latte and pasteries.. cozy and nice atmosphere :)
a bek / August 27, 2013 at 05:52 am
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Nice place, but the people who go there are annoying.
Bobby Hamon / October 8, 2013 at 08:51 am
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I bet you are in what was the old (circa 1960) Carloads grocery store between Withrow and Riverdale Avenues ?
Great stuff, congrats. If I still lived on Sparkhall Ave. this would be a great stop on the way or back from the Riverdale library (if it's still there?) or the YMCA that used to be south of First Ave. Across the road in winter was the best place for kids with toboggans and sleighs. I lived in Riverdale for 40 years and it's still the greatest place on the planet. Fond memories.
BA / October 23, 2013 at 03:18 pm
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By far and away my favourite coffee shop in Toronto! Yes the atmosphere is appealing and the staff pleasant, but the most important thing is they know how to do coffee right. I don't mind paying $4+++ for my coffee...if it's actually done properly! The lattes, cappuccinos and Americanos here are always perfect. So many trendy hipster places open and are ultra cool and trendy looking...and then they burn the crap out of the espresso and don't know how to froth milk. Not here! Perfect coffee, whatever your preferred style, every time. As an added bonus, the Cinq sammies they serve are gourmet and delicious! Worth the $8 for sure! Too many coffee shops serve subpar baked goods and lunch items, but again, not here! I make a special trip out of my way to come here whenever I have the time.

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