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Cafes

The Beet

Posted by Joseph / Posted on March 6, 2008

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It would be an unfair to lump the The Beet together with the hefty entourage of organic shops appearing around the city. Instead, The Beet should be heralded as setting a new standard for fair-trade, organic cafes and shops.

The store embraces every shade of greenness, from 100% biodegradable take-away cutlery and packaging, to environmentally friendly furniture made from, among other materials, sunflower seed husks and recycled paper. The majority of the produce, including grains, cheese, butter and household cleaners, are sold in bulk in order to reduce packaging.

The store has only just opened and locals are already crowding the shop. I was tipped off by Rebas Cafe who told me that I had to check it out, because although I had seen the signs for The Beet before, the entrance is a little misleading.

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The Beet shares its front entrance with a TD Canada Trust ATM. To get to the store, you have to walk into the tiny ATM foyer. Only then do you see the store through the glass doors to your left where the bank would normally be (and was) for years.

The Beet functions as both a cafe and a store. The cafe serves a wide variety of organic, fair-trade coffees and teas, juices and smoothies as well as organic and nutritious meals suitable for people "with a wide variety of dietary limitations, from vegans to those with gluten allergies," as explained on their website.

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The store provides a wide variety of produce, breads, dairy, grains, tea... the list goes on and on. The Beet also makes shopping local easy with a massive island of local and seasonal produce featured in middle of the store.

Friendly staff I encountered were also more than happy to share their knowledge on nutrition and products sold throughout the store.

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If all that wasn't enough, this summer, plans are underway to open a licensed patio serving organic beers and wine.

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Discussion

31 Comments

Sam / March 6, 2008 at 03:10 pm
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the website link is wrong. should be www.thebeet.ca
joseph / March 6, 2008 at 03:48 pm
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thanks sam, it's been fixed.
??? / March 7, 2008 at 12:34 am
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Organic food... but plastic cutlery?
/ March 7, 2008 at 01:49 am
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that cutlery looks like the compostable kind ... made from potatoes
Chris Orbz / March 10, 2008 at 01:02 am
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People "with a wide variety of dietary limitations, from vegans to those with gluten allergies," not to mention those afflicted with the inability to digest anything but bison burgers.
Samantha / March 20, 2008 at 01:56 am
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The Cafe looks GREAT!! Can't wait to come check it out for myself. Congrats on the grand opening!
/ April 4, 2008 at 03:54 pm
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are you still hiring? Im available weekends
hummus erectus / April 10, 2008 at 09:45 pm
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The cutlery is all compostable...
kat / April 12, 2008 at 09:40 pm
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Amazing! I stopped by earlier today after reading this review, and I'm very pleased. They have a really intriguing selection of meals available - all look healthy and appetizing; in fact, I couldn't decide which I wanted most!! It was busy inside so obviously an in demand shop for the area. Nice work!
Mel C / April 16, 2008 at 11:06 pm
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A much needed enterprise! Its a back to basics cafe where the food is great tasting and nutritious ~ a boon to young parents wanting to introduce children to good fast food! Their freshly baked low-fat muffins are the best I have tasted in a long while. Well worth a visit.
Stevie / April 19, 2008 at 12:27 am
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Come on Toronto we need your help to uncover the Tim Hortons unrban myth!

Come to http://www.rolluptherimto.com/ now.
love junction but / April 24, 2008 at 06:05 pm
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I have many sanitary concerns about this place - mainly, if your idea of having jucie/cofee and sitting next to a box of dity potatoes and beets, among shelves that remind of a convenience store thhen sure go ahead. What a dissapointment.
junctionite / May 31, 2008 at 07:25 pm
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The food at the Beet is bland, bland, bland, and the service is horrible. Hugely disappointing.
tishbet / June 7, 2008 at 11:54 pm
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I had the chicken roti today, which comes with a side salad and it was delicious. My companion had the special which was a burrito which was also very good. I will be back for sure.
pnf / July 22, 2008 at 07:27 pm
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Dirty potatoes? sitting next to them? isn't this what it used to be years ago? isn't this the part of being organic? i think we're all brain washed into the germ epi!
jrodbeatbag / August 6, 2008 at 05:48 pm
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absolutely one of the best meals I have had in years. I couldn't believe how fresh and tasty everything was. I was instantly converted to locally grown produce.
dalobeida / October 21, 2008 at 02:12 pm
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/ January 26, 2009 at 01:23 pm
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Odd place! I don't it knows what it wants to be be! There are other places in the neighbourhood that I would prefer.
Colleen / June 19, 2009 at 01:56 pm
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To say this place is dirty would be kind, to say it is filthy would be accurate.
Janine / July 5, 2010 at 03:41 pm
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The Beet is one of my favourite places to eat in the Junction... incredible food and an awesome licensed patio - perfect for a casual Friday night dinner.

Unfortunately, I think this spot is highly under-rated...the owner is a trained nutritionist and takes serious pride in all the ingredients that go into her food (all from scratch - even down to the ketchup!). Breakfast here is the best in the neighbourhood overall - by far.

My only 'ask' would be the ventilation indoors... not ideal and no A/C. Understand that perhaps A/C is not environmentally friendly, however neither is stuffy poor air quality. Perhaps some fans or better windows which open up would be a good idea for those seated indoors, otherwise in the summer the outdoor patio is my favourite spot to be.

BTW - to the previous comment (Colleen)... what exactly is "filthy" as you so eloquently put it? If you're going to dish out "feedback" then have the respect to back up your comments with some examples at least. Mean people suck.
wanttoeat / March 22, 2011 at 04:10 pm
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I think the food at the Beet is quite good, and the cleanliness is fine. The service however is terrible!

The employees seem to not care about the customers at all. Paying hardly any attention at all. Worst of all, my dining companion was not very hungry and wished to order off of the kids menu, but was denied! Why? No reason was given. The manager was even called and she didn't have a reason for the denial either. Come on! What's the big deal?? What's wrong with letting your adult diners order off the kids menu?!?
nancy / June 2, 2011 at 09:12 pm
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Not impressed with the customer service. Things are always missing from the order and not to mention, the portion sizes are always changing (for the worst). Don't go crazy with the side order of wedges...you will be lucky if you get 5 or 6 wedges with your meal. Prices are ridiculous for all the mistakes they make and my salad size is never the same. Always shrinking which really is frustrating.
MemeBlogs! / October 10, 2011 at 10:55 pm
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I would highly recommend the grilled Tofu & Avocado wrap from the Beet. It tastes really nice. It's like a party is dancing in your mouth once you take a first bite of be wrap!
Although I feel the menu is extremely over-priced. (I guess thats the price you pay for something that tastes so good - Just saying, I would buy meals there a lot more if they weren't so darn expensive).
Expect to pay approx $25.00 for one meal. These prices are totally non-justifiable, especially with the lack of hospitality and warmth this places offers. Seriously, if the food wasn't that good and flavorful, I certainly wouldn't provide them any business. All my experiences there have always included staff who are rude and ungrateful for business. They never say "Thank you" once you've paid for your order, nor "thank you" for placing an order with them- oh, and dare I mention they always EXPECT tips. I've only ever ordered take-out from there, so I can't much speak for the seating accommodations. ok, so back to the tipping part-never have I felt they've been "deserving" of any tips. But they always seem to think it's mandatory that people tip them, even if I've ordered take-out and even when they're rude. I just don't get it- isn't the whole purpose of tipping a point of acknowledging recognition for the service provided? Call me old-fashioned. . .Rawlicious a couple blocks down the street and are also quite expensive for their meal portions, as well, but never have I not tipped them for a take-out meal, since they've (for me) always provided such sweet, sincere service-you actually taste the good intent in the food they prepare personally for the individual ordering the meal.. You're always greeted when you enter Rawlicious ( too bad they just moved locations-although not too far, but to Bloor West Village). I hope this review helps prepare people when they enter The Beet. Like I said, try their wrap, but expect only that. Oh yeah, and my final "beef": Although it's an Organic cafe, they do serve MOSTLY vegetarian-so why not just serve THAT and lose the couple meat options? for The Junction, this place offers pricing that you would likely pay for a gourmet meal I a 5 star resort.
Thanks for reading, and until next review, happy eating! ;-)
???? replying to a comment from MemeBlogs! / October 11, 2011 at 07:23 pm
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I have eaten at the Beet a few times and to say that a meal costs $25 dollars is a total lie, unless you are eating for two. It is more expensive than your average cafe but considering that it is all organic i wouldn't call it unreasonable.
MeMeblogs! / October 12, 2011 at 01:32 am
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Thanks for your feedback, "????". Sorry, but it seems as though I've hit a nerve. It almost seems as though you own the place and you feel the need to be defensive.

If you eat there as muc as you say you do, then you'd agree that once you pay for one "entree", if you will, plus an organic juice drink, plus a dessert choice (like a single cookie or a muffin, perhaps) then you would agree that a "MEAL" (For one SINGLE person) would cost very close to $25.00+.

Please know I would not bother wasting my time being a "liar"on a service such as BlogTO that's dedicated to serving the public.

As previously mentioned, the price for the wrap itself might be justifiable, but once you factor in the cost for a WHOLE meal (I.e. A wrap, a drink and dessert) then that's when it becomes totally overpriced with no discount offered for buying a whole, expensive-rudely delivered meal..
I am not cheap and i do strongly believe in paying for the service the meal is provided with, and a good meal in itself. I'm sure most would agree.
J.S. / November 6, 2011 at 04:50 pm
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I did really like this place until I found out more about the way it's managed.

Unpaid trial shifts are illegal, but the owner will "hire" multiple people for the same position, have them work full days during busy hours, without pay, and never bother to call them back (even to say "sorry but we're choosing someone else.") I realize this has become a common practice in the restaraunt industry, but it is illegal, and seeing as this business stakes it's reputation on serving ethical food you'd expect a higher standard.

Labour laws aside, the service is slow because the place is just so poorly managed. The staff do the best they can but it's so disorganized and understaffed over there that they can't help it. It's truly a shame when a potentially great restaraunt is ruined by the owners lack of respect for staff and customers alike.
JM / January 31, 2012 at 08:32 pm
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I have mixed feelings about this place. I do a lot of freelance work and am used to taking my laptop to various cafes and restaurants, ordering coffee and often food, and working for a couple of hours. I've been here three times, and each time I've be pointedly asked if I'll be eating. I've always said - coffee for now, and I'll be eating in bit. Each time, without fail, the server has given me a disinterested shrug. Now, as someone with previous serving experience, I know that the last thing a server wants is for someone to take up a table and only drink coffee. But it's like they don't *believe* that I'll be ordering food if I'm alone.

Anyway, the attitude aside, I have to say that while I like the menu and its not really that overpriced for an organic cafe, I don't appreciate the $1 charge for ketchup, mayo, dressing etc. It's totally ridiculous - not even Fresh, which some would argue is much more expensive, charges for things like that. In any case, I won't be coming here again because the food is some of the *blandest* I've ever had in my life. Not even extra sauce, for free, could give this food any flavour. Maybe I'm more accustomed to ethnic food, but if you're looking for food that you'll actually enjoy, there are much better places to eat.
bro / April 11, 2012 at 11:40 am
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Eco farts bro, try the chilli!
V / May 27, 2012 at 12:03 pm
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Having lunch here was a one time experience. No one greeted us and, having fetched out own menus and found our own table on the small, 10 table patio, no server approached us for 20 minutes. Finally a waitress arrived, took our order—two rotis and a bottle of wine. She returned 10 minutes later with a bottle of luke warm water, on a hot day, and two glasses. 15 minutes after that, our wine had still not arrived. When we inquired after it, the waitress came back with two glasses, also not cold, saying she was keeping the bottle in the fridge as they'd run out of ice, laughing that they "wouldn't have more until 'someone' went across the street to the store". Oh. Our rotis arrived, tasty enough, but with no dressing on the salad, and we had to reminded her that cutlery would be needed. She never refilled our wine glasses or returned to the table to clear our plates. 30 minutes later, we requested the bill, asking her to amend it to two glasses, not the bottle of wine we'd ordered that she was incapable of chilling or serving. Her response: "Don't you want the rest of the bottle"? Um, no. Our tab came to $52.00. Completely gouge pricing for two rotis, two glasses of middling (warm) white wine, and absolutely ZERO table service. This place is just another overpriced organo boite staffed by flakes that caters to the 50 yoga studios in the area.
mace / June 6, 2013 at 12:39 pm
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I'm at the resteraunt weekly, at minimum take out. Also because I've worked as a server for years, we all have bad days, even weeks - but this has now been 2 years of attitude. I've lived i the neighbourhood for 2 years and have been a regular customer, tipping well and promptly on time for take out over these years. Still however the staff continue to lack any sort of friendliness and on every trip in myself and guests are made to feel like we're burdening the girls. Coming in with various friends and family members, most have noticed the chilly demeanour before I say anything. I don't think it's much to ask for a response when I say, "how are you" or "thanks", even a smile once in a while would suffice. At least in review of these comments I know it's not only me - we're all treated like garbage despite supporting a location lacking in ANY form of gratitude. Heads up ladies - your tip next time will reflect the service or lack there of.
Holy Thundering Jesus / April 14, 2014 at 06:57 pm
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used to go on a regular basis, not anymore, i spend my money at other establishments, there are plenty to chose from now in the junction.

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