Krave Coffee is an appealing cafe in Hillcrest Village on St. Clair West . Taking over what was once a Vietnamese pho restaurant, the space has transformed into a rustic haven for caffeine fiends, with exposed brick arches and walls, a wooden coffee counter and hardwood floors.
Vintage coffee ads pulled from old magazines can be found on the walls, while other interesting touches include hanging lights made from old chicken feeders and crates from Ontario apple orchards as wall shelves.
Owner Calay Hall tells me she's going for a Barnyard Canadiana look; she loves antiquing, and is filling the place with her finds.
A workbench from the 1940s is used as the condiment station and baked goods are displayed in a piece from the 1830s that Hall had glass built around.
Treats ($2.25-$2.75) like muffins, scones, butter tarts and croissants come from Circles & Squares , and Sweet Flour Bake Shop makes the all-natural, gluten-free cookies. Sandwiches and salads are from Cinq.
As for caffeine, patrons have a choice between Rufino and Propeller for espresso ($2.25/$2.75; Americano, $2.50/$3; latte/cappuccino, $3.25/$3.75; flat white/cortado, $3.75), although decaf is Propeller only. For drip, there are three sizes ($1.75/$2/$2.25) and types of beans to choose from, including Propeller's organic dark roast and a single origin coffee.
Coffee tonics ($3.50/$4.25) with raspberry or cherry house-made sodas are also available, as are loose leaf teas ($2.25) from Metropolitan Teas. Hall plans to use other local roasters as specials for drip and pour-over options: "I try to support local as often as I can and most of the products I used to build Krave were from local companies and suppliers."
There's a good amount of seating here, especially with the side patio - a raised wooden deck Hall added to the property. When I visit on a weekday morning, it's MacBook City inside (there's free WiFi here), but Hall tells me it becomes much more social in the afternoons and on weekends.
She lives in the area and wants Krave to be a neighbourhood hangout spot. While there's also Zaza Espresso Bar and Ellington's nearby, each has its own vibe, and I'm sure this place will find a niche of its own.
Photos by Jesse Milns.