Barton Snacks (Bathurst)
Barton Snacks is one of those throwback snack shops but with a bit of a healthy twist. Here you'll find chips made with avocado oil, natural chocolates from ChocoSol , and Johnnie Ryan soda made with cane sugar instead of lots of things you can't pronounce. While there is the odd bottle of Coke and packet of Pop Rocks kicking around (and I can certain appreciate the appeal of the latter), the emphasis is on snack food that's (somewhat) better for you.
The shop was conceived by Katherine Lehto, who tells me she spent 10 years in the food service industry in Toronto. She stumbled upon this space — a former psychic's "realm" — when she went looking for a home for her concept, and named it after the adjacent street. Katherine then purged the space of its, uh, "spiritual" past, painted one wall a bright orange and affixed wooden touches here and there to give it more "snack shack" feel.
The big summertime draw will likely be the Maypole ice creams, available in a rotating roster of eight flavours and served in a cone or take-out Chinese container ($3.50/$4.50/$5.50). Katherine says she working on a signature ice cream sandwich, which will include two soft homemade cookies and (optionally) rolled in a dusting of Pop Rocks.
Kids (and I, admittedly) will surely go nuts for the frozen treat, but Barton Snack has eats and drinks for adults, too. Katherine is currently pulling espressos ($2.50) for Americanos ($2.75), cappuccinos ($3.75) and lattes ($4.00) with beans roasted by Velvet Sunrise in Stouffville, and will soon offer Vietnamese coffees and the option of almond milk. For snacking, there are bags of G.H. Creators caramel/cheddar popcorn mix ($5.00), Kettle Chips (2/$5.50) and British candies to come.
I sip an iced Americano (straw from an old-school straw dispenser, of course), and find it has a floral, earthy taste, almost matcha-like in note. Katherine serves it literally overflowing with ice, which I can appreciate on this extraordinarily humid day. She tells me she's also planning to open another Barton Snacks over on Queen Street (next to Fat Bastard Burrito) that will have a bit more of a food focus (though this location is also planning to offer grilled cheese sandwiches made with St. John's Bakery breads).
"We're just a modern snack bar," Katherine says as I gather my drink to leave. "With a bit of old school fun."
Photos by Jesse Milns