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Cafes

The New Tequila Bookworm, Pt 1

Posted by Tanja / Posted on January 23, 2007

20070122-newtequila-1.jpgEarlier this month I mentioned that one of Queen West's great cafe's, Tequila Bookworm, had closed its doors and moved to a new location along the strip.

While that doesn't sound like a big deal, if you've been to the original location, you've got to wonder why any owner would want to leave behind such a gorgeous spot. With it's extra high tin ceiling, chandeliers, exposed brick, and vintage wooden window booths and furniture, Tequila Bookworm was easily one of the nicer cafe's on Queen St.

The move promised a new look, a soon-to-be 2nd floor and a real kitchen (which would bring a new extended menu to the table). Was it worth it? After hearing mixed reviews, I packed up my laptop and spent an evening blogging from the new location as I scoped things out for myself.

Blogging? Yes, I said, blogging. Speedy WIFI is thankfully still available here... and it's totally free.

The seating is set up a little 'friendlier'. As in, you should hope you like the people sitting next to you 'cause they're probably reading your e-mail over your shoulder.

Things seem closer and a little less private due to the arrangement, but it's still comfortable. If anything, there are more tables around to push together if you have a group larger than 2-4 -- something that was hardly a viable option at the old location.

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Sofas? Yeah, there are still one or two upholstered seating areas, but nothing as extensive as before. New is the funky round booth at the far back (it peeks into the bottom right corner in the above photo) and it's a nice spot if you can snag it. Old, is the row of seats lining the bar. They've gone from retro stools to tall bar-chairs, but the effect is the same -- you can still chat and inquire as to whether or not that's really William Shatner the waiter is playing stereo system.

Ok, so for those who were drawn in by that sandwich photo, I'll get to the food.

Nothing has changed (yet). The new extended menu isn't ready quite yet, so I'll bring you Part 2 of this review once the fryer is sizzling and crepe-maker steaming.

In the meanwhile, we ordered from the usual selection of sandwiches and salads -- all still delicious. Pictured at the top is the chicken sandwich in super soft tomato focaccia, surrounded by a side salad. Below is the tuna sandwich (again on focaccia) with the daily soup (corn chowder on this occassion).

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Creamy hot chocolate with Bailey's (served in a cup or bowl) to top it off:

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20070122-newtequila-5.jpgAnd the verdict?

Yes, I miss the high ceiling and the window booths, but the new Tequila has still got charm and the drinks are still prepared with much TLC... so, I'll stick with 'em.

That said, a new spot called "Just Us" is opening in the old location. Despite the painfully bland cafe name, I may just pay them a visit if they've still got those old booths.


--
Tequila Bookworm - 512 Queen St West.
Yes, the storefront, like the old, has no signage.

Discussion

23 Comments

Abraham Lopez / February 1, 2007 at 12:00 am
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That place looks really nice.
Lunch Crew #5 / December 12, 2007 at 05:21 pm
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This is where I had my worst lunch ever. I went out with 3 other co-workers for a quick lunch. The place was relatively empty at the time. We had to get our own menu after 15 minutes of waiting. We each order a sandwich, nothing special. While waiting for our food, a guy came out of the kitchen and chatted with us for a while about astrology and babies. After an hour of waiting for our sandwiches, we find out the chatty guy was in fact the one who is suppose to be cooking our food. After the hour of waiting, we asked the guy at the bar it was normal to wait this long, and to our surprise, he said "yes, especially when we have a rush like this." I looked around, the four of us are the only people there. After an hour and a half of waiting for our food, we decided to ask for it to go. Even then, they got my order wrong, and didn't give me the salad that was suppose to be with my sandwich. I left anyways because I didn't want to spend another 40 minutes waiting for a house salad. I will never go back to that place, unless you want an amusing story to tell your friend about the worst lunch experience ever.
Eli Budd / May 19, 2008 at 10:08 pm
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I've given this place way too many chances. As much as I want to like it, it always lets me down.

Today I went in and ordered the firecracker chicken sandwich. When I ordered the server asked me if I wanted to have fries or a salad. I opted for the fries, which turned out to be way too greasy. When I went up to pay I found out that fries were extra, but the salad would of been included in the listed price. After tax and tip (as a former server, I almost always tip), it cost me over $17 for a sandwich and fries.

I have never had good service here. It's a shame because the atmosphere is actually quite charming. So much potential wasted with this place.
JenX / August 23, 2008 at 04:24 pm
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I do not recommend tequila bookworm. this place has been a disappoint because its service is terribly unreliable. I entered the cafe and we waited 30 minutes before a waiter addressed us. when he did, he said "sorry we forgot about your order. we apologize, and I completely understand if you want to get up and leave." so we left, and haven't gone back since. it was not a good experience.
Fdot / October 14, 2008 at 03:30 pm
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I had an amazing Sunday brunch here this past weekend. The service was quick, friendly and frequent. The food was fresh and yummy. I had the tequila sunrise and my friends had the avocado/cheddar omelette and a waffle with strawberries, respectively. We all enjoyed the location and the meal. We will definitely be back to Tequila Bookworm.
Dimitri Bookworm / December 13, 2008 at 02:39 pm
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I love Tequila Bookworm for the food. Yes, service is slow, but I have never had a bad meal and the food is always fresh. And as a bonus, there is entertainment on the weekends in the form of none other than "Dimitri The Lover" attempting to seduce women half his age (he seems to be successful most of the time). I have been waiting for my turn to be shmoozed by "The Lover" for the last 2 months (maybe I have to dress a bit trashier). I am sure that when he does finally approach me, he'll be using some of the techniques described here:

http://dimitrithelover.com/TRMannouncement.html
Caroline / December 15, 2008 at 08:31 am
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OMG! I know exactly who you're talking about: Tall, dark, handsome Greek God, black jeans, sport jacket, leering at every big butted woman that enters the Bookworm. THAT'S DIMITRI THE LOVER??? There are never any photos of him on line so I figured he was just some creepy, sleazy, ugly guy. Man, am I pleasantly surprised! He never approached me, probably because I am always there with a group of friends. Next time I'm going in alone and giving him a wink on my way to the washroom so as to partake in a seduction by "Canada's Greatest Lover and Seducer". BTW, I nearly fell off my chair laughing when I read the link you posted. What a total freak (my kind of guy)!
Dennis / December 15, 2008 at 01:00 pm
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I thought this thread was meant to discuss the Bookworm, which has awesome food. The lattes could be better (bad foam) and the free wifi is really slow. But you can't beat it for the food. As far as "Dimitri The Lover" is concerned, I was in there a few weeks ago and now that you describe him I did see Dimitri the Lover chat up then leave with a really pretty redhead, likely no older than 22. I saw them shake hands after he asked what she was working on, so I know they just met. They chatted for max 20 minutes and I saw him wrap his arms around her and kiss her and grab her ass on the sidewalk outside the venue after they left. I overheard bits of the earlier conversation and he just kept complimenting her on her skin and eyes and kept running his hands through her hair and all over her body. Talk about balls! She was really cute and just ate it all up. I heard her say "I'm dripping wet" at one point in the conversaton. I guess I have to start going to his meetings, because man, my luck with the ladies has been shit lately.
Tanja / December 15, 2008 at 01:11 pm
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I wonder how many names this guy can comment under.
Tim J / December 15, 2008 at 01:52 pm
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Tanja, my wife and I are sitting here enjoying the read over the last couple of days because we love the venue and also witnessed what the others are describing about Dimitri at Tequila Bookworm. Unlike them, we knew both WHO he was and WHAT he was doing, making the spectacle more enlightening. I have a gut feeling that you have some sort of animosity toward the man. Accusing posters of being imposters rather than countering the veracity of their statements directly is rather intellectually shallow, especially for an author and photographer of your calibre (as an aside, we love your beautiful photographic work). Just our 1.6 cents worth(converted).
Ian / October 20, 2009 at 09:40 pm
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Come on a weekend for brunch. It's a perfect place to sit and have a Southern Breakfast (eggs, sausages, potatoes, toast, cornbread and beans), or an omelette. The service is always friendly and you're never in a hurry to leave.

One of my favs.
Dimitri is a sex offender / November 5, 2009 at 03:05 pm
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Dimitri aka James Sears is a sex offender (who clearly spams this site). Watch out:
http://jezebel.com/5020419/dimitri-the-lovers-history-of-sexual-assault-weapons-stockpiling-and-psychiatric-evaluations
Dimitri is a MOVIE STAR / November 12, 2009 at 12:01 pm
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I never heard of this guy until I read the above comments. Personally I think they're all inappropriate and don't belong in a blog discussing a restaurant (poor Tequila Bookworm). But I think you should read http://twitter.com/dimitrithelover with specific focus on his last 20 or so tweets. It turns out that Brad Goodman of Borat, Bruno, etc., created the character Dimitri The Lover for a feature film and the voicemails to Olga are fake.
Stick to the TOPIC! replying to a comment from Dimitri is a MOVIE STAR / November 13, 2009 at 06:49 pm
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I agree! Let's stick to the topic at hand. The coffee at Tequila Bookworm is SHIT and the food is almost average. The atmosphere upstairs is really quaint, so it's a shame. BTW, that Dimitri twitter is the most remarkably douchey thing I've ever read. If it is meant to be true, then wow. Just wow.
Elisabeth / March 13, 2010 at 11:17 pm
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I went to the Bookworm because it was on my list of places to check out in Toronto, and was really disappointed. I walked in, and immediately felt like I was in the middle of a pitch-black renovation project. There was a sign saying to go upstairs for food, but I couldn't tell if it was still the Bookworm, and the sign blocked most of the stairs anyway, so I stayed downstairs. There were two tables in the front window, and I got one of them, which was pleasant. The well-lit picture above, however, is completely alien to my experience. I really felt like I was hanging out in someone's grungy, dark garage, and they'd offered me a chai latte. The latte was completely unmemorable, but that means it wasn't bad, just not great. Overall, I feel pretty 'meh' about the experience, though I might go back someday when I'm in the area again and have a lot of time to check out the food. I will definitely never sit downstairs again.
Jackson / May 18, 2010 at 11:22 am
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The serice is so bad, it crosses into not counting as 'service' at all. Instead, sitting in this place, you feel like you've submitted yourself to a trial by scorn. Maybe the whole cafe, like this Dimitri character, is just a stunt; some kind of over-the-top installation satire of snobby cafes.
Beth / February 11, 2011 at 05:22 pm
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Is Just Us connected to Just Us Cafe of Halifax? http://www.justuscoffee.com/ because it's pretty freakin' amazing (The Halifax version likes to play up the Just Us is both the fact that it's a co-op and the whole Just Us sounds like Justice factor)
Kristian Ward / February 24, 2011 at 11:26 am
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Was there last night as a beginning of my journey to find my "New Spot" Check out my review @ Kristianward.com <- thoughts and feedback are most welcomed - Thanks
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Lavender / October 31, 2012 at 08:45 pm
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This place turns into a bar in the evening. It's extremely dark inside and the music is booming (though good). Very tequila, not so much bookworm. I didn't know they changed it and found out the hard way. NOT a place to study or read - or have a convo. The music is that loud. What a shame. This place used to be great.

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