The Depanneur has opened for your convenience at the corner of College and Havelock, just shy of Dufferin. Don't expect to find a plastic jug of wine or Du Mauriers at this corner store cum cafe, but an array of fresh produce, bold coffees, and breakfast sandwiches for on-the-go. Still in its infancy, The Dep is promising a full brunch menu on the weekends and hosting Rusholme Park Supper Club, a monthly get together with a cast of rotating chefs.
In the true spirit of the Dep, what you'll find are the grocer's necessities but re-imagined for a discerning crowd. Organic farm fresh vegetables are provided by Prairie Boy Farms which boasted both heirloom tomatoes and carrots, garlic, and yellow beans on the day I went by. Demi-baguettes by St. John's will save you the schlep east side to their bakery. And keeping it in the 'hood, I Deal Coffee is available by the cup or by the pound.
A sign posted out front mentioned a kitchen drive to stock the newly added cooking space with surplus kitchen stuff. A novel idea that plays into the community ethos of The Dep. The repurposed counters were salvaged from the former convenience store that once inhabited this space -- Chiclet and Double Mint adverts still in tact. Dougie Kerr, of Honest Ed signage fame, has provided a nostalgic touch with his fantastic lettering style adorning the cafe. An overall hodgepodge of new and old gives the space a lot of personality and the open kitchen gives you the impression that you're hanging out at your friend's.
Simple in its execution yet practical, the paper wrapped breakfast sandwiches are perfect for the morning rush. The yellow zuchinni frittata with lemon aoli wedged between crusty sourdough was delicious, as was the jam on walnut raisin bread. If sammies ain't your thing, daily quiches have recently been added to the menu with crust made by Wanda's Pie in the Sky. The supper club should be starting soon and I believe the space can be rented in the evenings for private dinner parties as well.
The owner, Len Senater, puts it best, "I started the Dep as an experiment in how to get closer to food in a fun, meaningful way that engages the community where I live, but that also avoids the pitfalls of the traditional restaurant model." An auspicious start for a neighbourhood dep with the best yet to come.
Photos by Peter Henderson.