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Get to know a street: Dupont Street

Posted by Robyn Urback / February 1, 2013

Dupont StreetDupont Street is one of those chameleon city stretches that seems to morph at about every three blocks. There are some characteristics that might stand out to the occasional visitor — the seeming abundance of storage spaces, the one gas station that's always a cent or two cheaper than the rest, the surplus of brown buildings — but there actually is quite a vibrancy that might be missed by a quick commute. While the west end of Dupont has its churrasqueiras, the odd cafe, and plenty of sports bars, the eastern end is ever-expanding with brunch options, diner restaurants, and specialty shops.

Here are some places to check out on Dupont Street.

Cafe Con Leche (1571 Dupont)
One of the newest spots for espresso on Dupont and easily one of the favourites. Opened by the couple behind CocoLatte on St. Clair, this cafe is less lunch and crepes and more coffee and snacks, with ample room for WiFi surfing and cafe con leche (naturally) to go alongside. A friendly spot with a real "neighbour" feel.

Rose and Sons (178 Dupont)
In the former home of the beloved People's Foods, Rose and Sons is trying to ease the neighbourhood's wounds with matzo ball soup, club sandwiches, and chicken souvlaki for a little taste of the past. This spot is a little more refined than the former restaurant occupying the space, but it does offer old comforts in the form of classic bread pudding and bagel and lox.

El Almacen (1642 Dupont)
Part yerba mate cafe, part general store. Like the El Almacen on Queen, this spot offers deliciousness in the form of empanadas, homemade alfajores, espresso, and yerba mate, but they come alongside racks of printed tees and leather boots, as well as vintage furniture and memorabilia. This spot is more grab-and-go than sit and sip, but at least you can buy and take the bar stools home with you.

Leiria Bakery (1617 Dupont)
It's not particularly trendy or pretty, but Leiria Bakery certainly serves its purpose if you're looking for homestyle, nostalgic baked goods. Front and centre are Leiria's Portuguese custard tarts, but the bake shop also makes fresh breads, croissants, pastries, and sandwiches. Prices, especially on day-old items, are quite good here as well.

Hacher and KrainHacher and Krain (256A Dupont)
Because what stretch of urban road would be complete without a place to pick up a Japanese cleaver? Hacher and Krain offers over 200 different knives in its tiny lower-level shop, with a special focus on Japanese, German, and French knives. Not for clumsy or accident-prone patrons.

Churrasqueira Arcuense (1595 Dupont)
A very casual spot for Portuguese chicken in the Junction Triangle. The restaurant itself doesn't really wow on first impression, but the chicken (which is, of course, the most important part) certainly does. Best to opt for take-out here, but since Churrasqueira Arcuense is open late every day of the week, hours will definitely accommodate evening cravings.

Thai Lime (1551 Dupont)
Yes, it's in a tired-looking strip mall, but Thai Lime really shouldn't be overlooked. Never mind the sleek and modern-looking interior design, Thai Lime offers some pretty tasty pad thai, spring rolls, and various types of curry, plus huge portions and incredible quick service. Score one for the strip mall.

Eduarda's BBQ (1507 Dupont)
Some love it and some, well, probably wouldn't be so kind. Granted, this churrasquiera isn't exactly upscale gourmet, but if you're looking for cheap, filling, and indulgent BBQ chicken (and aren't on any diet whatsoever), Eduarda's will surely suffice. And no one will look twice if you show up wearing sweatpants.

farmhouse tavern torontoFarmhouse Tavern (1627 Dupont)
Just so long as you don't mind a giant moose head staring at you while you eat, Farmhouse Tavern is a choice spot on Dupont for a smoked oyster Caesar and fried duck egg brunch. This place goes beyond the standard bacon and eggs offerings with selections such as mushroom frittatas, smoked chicken crepes, and duck prosciutto. And while the menu does change from day to day, the moose stare remains a stagnant feature.

Boo Radley's (1482 Dupont)
For when you need a little pang of literary nostalgia. Or a beer — most likely a beer. Boo Radley's has a bit of that local watering hole-type feel, with great service, classic pub food, and a bartender that will probably remember your name the next time you visit. Wings and the Sunday roast are particular neighbourhood draws.

Picea 997 (9997 Dupont)
Neapolitan pizza for the Dovercourt village crowd. A much-anticipated area arrival in 2012, Picea 997 helps to ease the community's yearning for a classic, delicious margherita. Receptive to text-message ordering and complete customization, this pizzeria and bar also does a well-reputed pork ragu and classic lasagna.

Piri Piri (1444 Dupont)
This is Portuguese chicken with seating, table service, and 10z steaks sharing the menu. Piri Piri is a little pricer than some of the other Portuguese spots on Dupont, but it comes with a much more varied menu that includes options such as shrimp soup, grilled octopus, and cod. The piri piri sauce, naturally, is a customer favourite.

sullys boxing gymSully's Boxing Gym (1024 Dupont)
You need some place to work off all of that barbecue chicken and custard tarts, right? Sully's Boxing Gym is a famous name worldwide, with notable alumni that include Muhammad Ali, George Chuvalo, and Fern Bull. Former Canadian Heavyweight Champion Tony Morrison helps to work would-be athletes (or just people who want to up their fitness) into shape, with plenty of programs for various ages and skill levels.

Pimlico (643 Dupont)
As you move further east along Dupont, you'll find this Canadian-centric design shop that's plush with colour and hand-blown glassware. Tahir Mahmood is a big name at Pimlico, along with Jennifer Grahams' ceramics and Timid glass and accessories.

Peaks and Rafters (585 Dupont)
Peaks and Rafters is a furniture shop for big and small, tackling huge interior design renovations as well as small refurbished or salvage projects. Peaks and Rafters will tackle any room in the house (or cottage) with a sister location out in in Port Carling.

Vinny's Panini (787 Dupont)
Yes, there really is a Vinny, but these paninis are based on his mom's recipes. While you might have to wait around for a bit for your sandwich to be prepared fresh to order, the veal cutlet panini and meatball sandwich are definitely worth a few extra minutes standing idle by the counter. Those who know call ahead to pick up their order about 20 minutes later.

Universal Grill TorontoUniversal Grill (1071 Shaw)
Right at the corner of Shaw and Dupont, Universal Grill arguably makes one of the best plates of Huevos Rancheros in the city. This is a place with a no-fuss, diner-type approach to weekend brunch, with a menu of classic egg n' bacon options, and drip coffee that always outdoes its fancier espresso-based counterparts.

Body Harmonics (672 Dupont)
A pilates studio, a health clinic, and a training facility all in one. Voted among the best pilates studios in Toronto, Body Harmonics offers dozens of classes each week with everything from bootcamps to body sculpting, mat classes and post natal pilates. The Dupont studio also hosts welcome packages and one-on-one sessions throughout the week.

Marlene's Just Babies (631 Dupont)
Like Vinny at the panini shop, there really is a Marlene. And this Marlene knows a thing or two about babies and their gear. This shop stocks everything from strollers to car seats, toys, clothes, and more, with regular safety seminars hosted by Marlene Krybus herself. The staff here is usually incredibly friendly and knowledgeable, and prices are about on par with other baby shops in Toronto.

Faema (672 Dupont)
With a fantastic, expansive patio in the summertime and great cappuccinos throughout the year, Faema is an easy choice for a coffee on the eastern end of Dupont Street. The cafe caters to the lunch crowd with freshly made soups, pizzas, and sandwiches, but with a name like "Faema" Cafe, the espresso drinks are certainly the main attractions. Lots of room, too, to spread out and sip.

Stubbe Chocolate (653 Dupont)
This petite little chocolate shop has a remarkable ability to distract drivers and sidewalk pedestrians; blame it on those delicious-looking truffles and gift baskets in the window. This family-run shop offers handmade truffles, chocolates, pastries, tortes and more, with various classes and workshops available for those who want to try their hands at the chocolate-making process. Most just stick with eating, however.

Get to know more Toronto streets via our Toronto Streets Pinterest board.

Discussion

30 Comments

EricM / February 1, 2013 at 08:32 am
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Great piece Robyn! The west end of Dupont is developing very quickly and it will only continue as more and more folks move into the area and demographics continue to change. Just for it's simple neighbourhood pub vibe, I love Boo's.
Amanda / February 1, 2013 at 08:36 am
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It should be really interesting to see how things change from about Dufferin to Dundas in the next five years. Tons of change there and becoming more and more vibrant. lol Now, if the Galleria Mall and Coffee Time cold only experience some kind of misfortune (where no one is hurt) where both mysteriously fall down we'd be on to something!
cybershaz / February 1, 2013 at 09:16 am
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A few more notes of spots in the Junction Triangle...

In the same plaza as Thai Lime there's Sham Shawarma. Very good and authentic.

Just a few doors east of Farmhouse tavern is Mod Robes - great spot for clothes. And just beyond that is the Image Foundry gallery.
Emma replying to a comment from Amanda / February 1, 2013 at 09:49 am
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hehe love how PC you are about the end of the coffee time. I think there is a Metro and Shoppers set to move in across the street. More traffic should actually help with making the coffee time less of a 'hang out'.
me / February 1, 2013 at 10:10 am
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At least Coffee Time is a Canadian company unlike Tim Horton's.
Karyn / February 1, 2013 at 10:12 am
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You forgot PLAYA CABANA the most yummy mexican food ever at 111 Dupont St.
whatisupwiththat replying to a comment from me / February 1, 2013 at 10:35 am
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Aside from all that, have you ever noticed that EVERY Coffee Time pretty much anywhere in the city is always a bit sketch? It's like they somehow brand that into their business model. Put a Coffee Time in Rosedale and it would be the same. As for Dupont, Boos in the evening and The Farmhouse for brunch makes for a good weekend.
the lemur replying to a comment from me / February 1, 2013 at 10:39 am
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Tim Horton's IS a Canadian company (again) - they haven't been owned by Wendy's since 2009.
rick / February 1, 2013 at 10:58 am
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Please fix the address of:
Picea 997 (9997 Dupont)
klaus / February 1, 2013 at 01:31 pm
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It's disappointing that most of our mainstream city "journalism" in Toronto is so consumption-centric. Why is an (ostensible) article about getting to know Dupont street simply a list of the author's preferred places to spend money? How about some history, architecture, residents, politics, landscape, art, ANYTHING, PLEASE, to indicate that Toronto is more than a culturally devoid swath of commerce, where people spend their days wondering where to eat, drink, and shop next?

I wouldn't have been frustrated by this if the piece was called "where to shop on Dupont"; like, ok -- fine. I get it. But an introduction that portends an analysis of vibrancy hidden amongst the run-down hodgepodge of Dupont street, let down by basically a consumer's itinerary? BlogTO, you can do better than Toronto Life. And Now. And the Grid.

If you're really interested in exploring the city, and believe me we'd like to read about it, then you've got to step it up. If you're interested in shopping, then call a spade a spade.
the lemur replying to a comment from klaus / February 1, 2013 at 01:53 pm
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That's true. Between the fact that some of these places have already had their own profiles (under a pseudo-inquiring headline like 'Where to buy _____ on Dupont') and the stuff covered in the history pieces, there's a lot about Dupont (and every other street profiled) that could be written without having every photo be taken inside a business of some sort.

Such as: what's the deal with that typesetting building? Or the one next to Loblaws, the most anonymous-looking gym ever?
Yildo replying to a comment from Karyn / February 1, 2013 at 01:55 pm
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Seconded. Playa Cabana is an amazing Mexican restaurant on Dupont. It's just a little bit east of Dupont and Davenport.
Danica replying to a comment from klaus / February 1, 2013 at 02:14 pm
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Wow, you must be fun at parties...
LessAffected replying to a comment from klaus / February 1, 2013 at 02:43 pm
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You know... when business moves in 'amongst the run-down hodgepodge...' in most cases it does warrant an introduction that portends to a developing vibrancy. I'm sorry you can't see that, but the erudite shield you hide behind simply makes you look ludicrous.
graeme / February 1, 2013 at 03:00 pm
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The anonymous gym next to Loblaws is the Queen's Club, a place with a pretty interesting history worthy of an article.
SockySocko / February 1, 2013 at 03:01 pm
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How about Open Door Designs at 1597 Dupont, next to the flopbot chicken joint? It Toronto's only puppet store with a wacky array of new and vintage puppets, puppet theatres made by owner Joanne Bigham, a puppet hospital, and nifty workshops let by international puppet artistes. Truly unique.
GL replying to a comment from the lemur / February 1, 2013 at 03:04 pm
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The Mono Lino Typesetting building?
It's owned by an Asian Noodle Company now. They make Fortune cookies and Noodles in there.
Tuffyrocks / February 1, 2013 at 03:14 pm
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There is also a awesome little library @ 1589 Dupont.

http://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?R=LIB075

This site http://www.junctiontriangle.ca/ is the neighborhood that takes up Dupont from Lansdowne Ave, and Dundas St. West.
the lemur replying to a comment from GL / February 1, 2013 at 03:34 pm
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So Wing's actually owns that building? Are they doing anything with it? It seems to be used for film shoots from time to time.
GL replying to a comment from the lemur / February 1, 2013 at 04:03 pm
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Can't imagine film shoots are all they use it for, they also own the warehouse on Albany
the lemur / February 1, 2013 at 04:49 pm
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I thought the building on Albany was the main production facility - I mean, that's where the fortune cookie aroma comes from and what the trucks back up to.

I never see anyone or anything coming or going to the MLT building, nor very many lights on. I don't think it'd be used for more than just storage and/or offices.
duponter / February 1, 2013 at 06:54 pm
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Great article. I know you don't have space for everything, so a quick shout-out for Oliphant's Gym - now there's a piece of fitness, history and community spirit (it's member-run) all squeezed into an obscure little package!
John / February 2, 2013 at 12:24 am
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Great Coverage!

There's also an LCBO on Dupont
http://www.lcbo.com/lcbo-ear/jsp/storeinfo.jsp?STORE=15

And the PUB THE POUR HOUSE - Great Spot
http://maps.google.ca/maps?q=pour%20house&;oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&sa=N&tab=wl
CulDeSac / February 2, 2013 at 12:27 am
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What else is on Dupont?
quasimime / February 2, 2013 at 12:37 am
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uhmm, how could you forget Fanny Chadwick's at 268 Howland Avenue (East of Bathurst Street). the restaurant has awesome and tasty dishes made with locally-sourced produce. good food, good service and a real gem in this city.
Sassafrass / February 2, 2013 at 03:21 am
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Have always wondered about the glass box building on the NE corner of Dupont and Dovercourt. Spectacular. But decrepit.
Simon Tarses / February 7, 2013 at 07:46 pm
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This street looks like it could get a LRT line in the future...
Eya replying to a comment from CulDeSac / September 29, 2013 at 06:44 pm
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Well, there's ATELIER IVAAN at 789 Dupont, which is neatly nestled between Vinny's Panini and the Universal Grill, at the corner of Dupont and Shaw. We are a tiny but exquisite jewellery studio and gallery dedicated to the metal art of Ivaan Kotulsky, who is the "Ivaan" in our name. Ivaan's 40 year love affair with metal arts makes him one of Canada's national treasures. We try to be understated, but I didn't realize how successful we were, because the writer must have walked right by us when researching this article.
Marc / June 12, 2014 at 11:11 am
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"Hacher" actually means "to chop" not "to cut," as indicated in the article on Hacher and Krain.
Fig / June 12, 2014 at 11:57 am
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Great post Robyn!
Derek - perhaps an upcoming historical post on "what Dupont used to look like"?

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