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Cafes

Smock Cafe

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on May 16, 2012

smock cafe torontoSmock Cafe is a new Roncesvalles cafe that offers crafts for kids and respite for parents."The other day," owner Sara Wood begins as we sip coffees by the front-facing bar, "a woman came in from the Beaches with her child."

smock cafe roncesvalles"Her daughter sat quietly at the craft table for a full hour," she continues, "while the mother ate her lunch at another table, had two coffees, and flipped through a copy of Vogue."

smock cafe west endNot a parent myself, I quickly realize the anecdote amounts to a pretty impressive feat. "Those few moments to yourself can really be rejuvenating," Sara says. "She looked like she really appreciated it.

smock cafe toronto roncesvallesSuch is the mission, so to speak, of Smock Cafe. After having her daughter four years ago, Sara realized the need for a cafe that caters to both parent and child. Davina Cheung-Brown and Tera Goldblatt tapped into that market earlier this year with their baby-friendly cafe, Playful Grounds, over on College, but there was nothing in the Roncesvalles community, where Sara has lived for the past 10 years.

smock cafe roncesvalles"There are so many young families here and many of the parents are artsy-types — trying to juggle their kids and careers," Sara says. "But there was nowhere for them to go and bring along their kids."

smock cafe torontoIf Playful Grounds is more baby-minded in approach, Smock Cafe seems perfect for kids who won't put safety scissors in their mouths. The cafe has a play kitchen-station near the entrance, toys and blocks by the bench tables, and even a little hidden "reading nook" just big enough for novice readers or fervent fans of picture books.

smock cafe torontoBut the main kid-friendly attraction is the craft table at the back, which has everything from paints to pom-poms and ribbons and strings, and comes with a full-time "facilitator" who will help kids create the project of the day (fairy dolls, during my visit). For $8, parents can let their kids go at it and escape to a table to make use of the free Wifi and enjoy the soup of the day.

smock cafe torontoSpeaking of, that soup ($6.00) should receive its due attention. Sara comes from a catering background and has personally honed Smock Cafe's daily menu.

smock cafe kidsThe offerings include baked goods such as cookies and muffins, salads including carrot slaw and spinach/pecan/strawberry, and fresh, hot panini ($7.25)--all of which are made at the cafe. For kids there are Kiju juices ($2) and a combine-three menu plate ($4.50) that includes options such as grapes, hummus, and celery and peanut butter.

smock cafe toronto roncesvallesAs for coffee, the blend is Reunion Island (my personal favourite) and my Americano ($2) has that smooth, nutty flavour that has rendered it tops in my coffee books.

smock cafe torontoSmock's basement is currently being prepped for summer camps and classes, though it already offers a changing table (needless to say) and private bathrooms big enough for mom, dad, and child. Paper butterflies and other crafts are already displayed by the sinks.

smock cafe toronto"It makes me happiest to see kids come in and instantly know how to interact with the space," Sara says, glancing at a toddler rolling a toy car, as her mother watches from a nearby table. I'd say that goes for both kids and adults.

smock cafe roncesvalles

Additional photos:

smock cafe toronto

smock cafe toronto

smock cafe toronto

smock cafe roncesvalles

Photos by Morris Lum

Discussion

6 Comments

kat / May 16, 2012 at 03:38 pm
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I have never seen a staff member anywhere but behind the counter at Smock. We supervised our child when we were in on Friday. As did every other parent there.
Terri / May 16, 2012 at 03:52 pm
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Such a beautiful-looking space. Excited this is in my hood!
Joanna / May 16, 2012 at 05:27 pm
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Bright and inviting for both me and my 5-year old. Amazing menu. Will be spending lots of time at Smock - a great addition to Roncy!
Noelle / May 16, 2012 at 05:59 pm
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Reply to Kat: user-pic
'I have never seen a staff member anywhere but behind the counter at Smock'
Umm...never? The cafe just opened Fri./Sat. and it's absolutely beautiful, great food & coffee. What's not to love? I've been there twice since it opened and there was a supervisor there. It's a great place.
Jennifer / May 16, 2012 at 09:08 pm
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Good luck with it! We have a kid friendly cafe in my neighbourhood that was great when it opened but now some people have decided to use it as a place where they can get a free babysitter (a cafe staff member) while they use the free WiFi and play on their iPads and smart phones! Such a shame because the concept is great!
Sandman / May 16, 2012 at 09:12 pm
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Great news and welcome addition!
Not planning on EVER going there, but, it means (hopefully) I won't have to hear obnoxious, self-entitled brats at my regular cafe hangout now! ;)

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