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Wallace Espresso

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on February 19, 2013

wallace espresso torontoWallace Espresso is a new pocket coffee shop serving grab-and-go espresso at the corner of Wallace and Lansdowne. Now, this area was not particularly devoid of caffeine prior to Wallace Espresso's arrival — there's Paris Bakery & Cafe a couple doors over and Cafe Neon a little further west — but nothing in terms of a no-frills coffee bar at which to quickly pop in and grab your morning jolt. After all, a neighbourhood can never have too many highly specific coffee bars, right?

wallace espresso torontoWallace Espresso, known colloquially as "WE" to its growing roster of regular followers, is pretty much as basic as an espresso bar gets. Other than a couple stools on which to rest your bag, seating is limited to the few turquoise chairs out front with a couple of reclaimed barn lamps inside acting as decor. The central wall feature is a fantastic GTA map circa 1967, which could surely keep captive a pair of geographically-minded eyes.

wallace espresso torontoBut WE's main focus, surely, is its espresso. Owners Dan and Alex opened this spot after working for years in the industry, Dan citing spurts with the Drake Cafe and Parts & Labour, among others.

wallace espresso toronto"The other coffee places in this area are sort of restaurants and cafes combined," Dan explains as he tells me more about the bar. "We love that dynamic of a coffee shop as a social meeting space, and that's sort of what we want for here."

wallace espresso torontoJust two weeks old, WE has already accrued a small collection of daily visitors, many of whom are seduced by the (small selection of) locally sourced baked goods on the counter and specialty drinks made using Social Coffee Co. beans. There is no menu posted here, but the bar offers all of the espresso standards including cappuccinos, lattes (lactose-free, soy, and almond milk available), two-buck Americanos and more.

wallace espresso torontoDan prepares me a cappuccino that comes off deliciously smooth and creamy. Good for an afternoon pick me up — not quite a morning jolt, I'd say — but a nice treat to break up the day. And that seems to be how much of the area is embracing Wallace Espresso. The cafe is (and probably will remain) cash-only, and is open during the week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

wallace espresso torontoPhotos by Jesse Milns



Poopdawg / February 19, 2013 at 11:24 am
12 Garbage Pail Kids cards for one latte? Too rich for my blood.
John / February 19, 2013 at 11:32 am
Shhh! Stop telling people about the area! Things are going well all around and we don't want to be Queen W! Go back to your business folks, Davenport, Dupont, Geary are just sketchey... very scary places. Stay away.
Amanda replying to a comment from John / February 19, 2013 at 11:36 am
To late buddy! The good thing 'so far' is that the newbies seem to be working with the neighbours. I wanted to move when I grew up in the area. It was sketch. Now I am thrilled my husband and I are here.
LT / February 19, 2013 at 12:11 pm
It all sounded and looked good until I read Social Coffee. There are way better roasters out there. Hate this take over of TO coffee shops.
Jenn / February 19, 2013 at 02:27 pm
A welcome addition to Wallace Avenue. Super friendly folk and tasty treats.
Thomas / February 19, 2013 at 03:15 pm
This place rules! Good, friendly, cheap and not pretentious at all.

And get over yourself John, people reading this post (you and me) are the reason this neighborhood will be like Queen West soon. And, trust me it is way better now than it was when the only thing you could buy around there was crack and a blowjob.
ugh replying to a comment from Thomas / February 19, 2013 at 04:28 pm
Really? You think that before the likes of you and John moved in it was skid row? It was poor, verging on very poor, but it was not a ghetto. There was crime, but it wasn't a dangerous or drug/prostitution-ridden area.

To John, the only way a place like this (and its two similar neighbours) will survive is if more people like you move in. You can take my word for it that the longer term residents aren't going to shell out for locally sourced brownies or high-end coffee. That sort of excess is strictly reserved for condescending newcomers like Thomas.

The GE-Hitachi plant might get pushed out, but you'll know this neighbourhood is really over when places like these are more popular than the Coffee Time.
LA replying to a comment from ugh / February 19, 2013 at 08:51 pm
I live a little closer to Bloor and Lansdowne, and I have to say that I have seen my share of drug deals and prostitutes in the area, but they aren't dangerous. I know that sounds strange…. maybe because they recognize my face after living here for years? They are just doing their thing- you don't bug them, they won't bug you. In fact, a prostitute by the Coffee Time once helped me hail a taxi when I was clearly struggling to get one.

Anyway! Love this 'hood. Can't wait to check out this new spot.
Kristen / February 20, 2013 at 09:54 am
Great addition to the neighbourhood!
jsdhjfjksdhfkjsdhflksjdhfjksdhfjksdhjksdhlkjfhsjhk / February 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm
This web site really has all of the info I needed about this subject and didn't know who to ask.
Gizelle replying to a comment from LT / February 27, 2013 at 01:51 am
Can you elaborate on 'way better roasters' please?
Michael / March 1, 2013 at 06:16 pm
A short stumble from my front door. So glad they've embarked on this endeavour!
Joe / March 15, 2013 at 08:59 am
It is around the corner from my house too Michael.

Love this little shop!

Dan and Alex are really great. The shop is comfortable and inviting and the coffee is high quality! Great addition to a great little up and coming hood :)
Kanika / March 29, 2013 at 03:32 pm
So happy this place opened up. I live down the street, and have been hoping for some new businesses to come into the area. Had my first latte here last week, and it won't be my last. Welcome to the neighbourhood!
Ash / September 4, 2013 at 06:32 pm
Watching this shop grow over the last few months has been incredible.
Handsome Dan is getting much, much better at his cortados,
And his americanos? Hit the spot every time.
Thank you, Sir.
Chanandler / December 4, 2013 at 06:43 am
This coffee joint rocks and it's owner John is the most beautiful man you'll meet. If you don't go for the coffee, go for the hunks.
mmj / April 26, 2015 at 11:35 am
Haters are going to hate.

Wallace Espresso is, hands down, our favourite coffee place in the neighbourhood. They know our family, our order, and we always have great conversation.

There are other coffee places in the neighbourhood. If you prefer those, go. Those of us who love Wallace Espresso will keep going here.

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