Lit Espresso Bar Leaside
Lit Espresso Bar has closed up its location at College and Ossington and opened an outpost on Bayview in Leaside instead. Taking over the space that used to be Play Cafe , owners and siblings Nicole and Joe Angellotti have always wanted to be in this area because it reminds them of Roncy , the home of their original location .
Like the Lit on Roncy, the decor here is a mix of opulent (chandelier, tin ceiling, marble countertop and communal tabletop) and rustic (a multicoloured wood panel wall, wood tables and shelves). Credit for the design goes to the Angellottis' father, whose photographs of a trip to Italy are featured in a lightbox near the back of the shop.
This Leaside location also boasts a barista bar, which Nicole likens to the chef's table at a restaurant. Patrons can sit here and watch the baristas pull shots at the La Marzocco as they sip or wait for their own espressos.
As for the coffee itself, Lit stopped serving Stumptown a few years ago and Joe started roasting his own beans under his Pig Iron Coffee Roasters brand. Default double shots of the house Steel Wheel espresso blend are used to make espressos ($2.75), Americanos ($2.81), cappuccinos ($3.75) and lattes ($3.99, large $4.49).
Drip coffee (small $1.71, medium $2.05, large $2.29) is available, with a rotating roster of single origin beans from Costa Rica, Colombia, Ethiopia and Kenya. There's also decaf, dubbed Decaf Wolf in tribute to a quirky werewolf party a client once threw at their former College location (a wolf mask wearing dark sunnies covers said coffee grinder).
340g bags of the beans can be purchased ($15-$19) here as well as bottles of Pig Iron's own cold brew coffee ($3.56). The Angellottis are even making their own cold-pressed juices (small $4, large $8) on site using produce purchased from the local market. Nicole tells me they've been flying off the shelves, and they can't make more fast enough.
Food-wise, there are panini ($4.95-$6.35) made fresh daily using Blackbird Baking Co. bread; croissants ($1.98) from Ma Maison ; filled-to-order cannoli ($2.25 each) from Holy Cannoli ; and vegan cookies from Bunner's . On weekends (Fridays to Sundays), there are doughnuts from Glory Hole .
There are also baked goods made in-house courtesy of baker Natalie Chu (who once wrote our Get to Know a Chef series ). While not formally trained, Chu was hired to be responsible for Lit's baking program because the Angellottis find her as passionate about baking as they are about coffee.
Chu bakes whatever strikes her fancy: loaves, pies, cinnamon buns (on weekends). The day we visit, there are peanut-butter-and-jelly bars ($1.80), feta jalapeno scones ($2.78), can't-tell-they're-gluten-free apple cinnamon streusel muffins ($2.55) and Nutella brownies ($3.21). All freshly baked items are replenished until 12:30 each day.
Photos by Hector Vasquez