Brickyard Grounds, at the southwest corner of Greenwood and Gerrard, is a fantastic addition to the neighbourhood. Just steps from Greenwood Park, it's sure to become a pit stop for tired skaters in winter, or hungry families post swim come summertime. The name of the cafe owes a nod to Greenwood too, as this area used to be home to a number of brickyards . It makes sense, then, that upon entry I find exposed brick walls flanking the hardwood floors and a large reproduction of the building in its glory days.
A hardwood communal table, made by the owner from salvaged wood from the building, sits in the window and a series of two top tables run along a banquet. Further back, past the coffee counter and kitchen, are more tables for twos and fours.
Warm staff greeted me and described the menu in detail. I ordered an Americano, $2.14, which was made for me using Rufino Espresso beans on a Simonelli machine. Stiff and chocolately with a beautiful crema, and with subtle traces of blackberry and cherry fruit notes, the barista offers extra water if I want, as I'm drinking it black but I decline. It's perfect. They serve Ceylon Tea Bush teas, and you can buy their products there as well as drink a cup.
But the real outstanding contribution offered by the Brickyard Grounds is its extensive breakfast and lunch menu. They've got waffles and breakfast sandwiches with thick pea meal bacon, they bring in Kanga meat pies and there is a list of sandwiches with mix and match salads to accompany if you so desire.
Famished, I ordered a Pork Belly Po'boy with their grilled peperonata salad. Served on a soft Ace Bakery bun, it had tender chunks of juicy pork belly in an espresso bbq sauce, creamy coleslaw, and thin slices of grilled zucchini.
It was massive, I almost couldn't finish it, but the flavours were so addictive I couldn't stop. The peperonata, a blend of grilled yellow peppers, eggplant and pickled onion, lacked enough of the ascribed pesto dressing, but was still great. At $8.95 for the sandwich and salad, it was a steal. I wished I'd had a hollow leg so I could eat more, and started conjuring plans for a Greenwood Park skate with friends, finished off with lunch at the cafe.
The name Brickyard Grounds - Fine Coffee and Light Fare - makes it sound like you'd find some namby-pamby finger sandwiches behind a glass dome, so I suggest they change it to Fine Coffee and Hearty Fare for a more accurate portrayal.
Photos by Jesse Milns