The Merseyside is a neighbourhood cafe near Dundas West subway station. Cafes in this area are starting to challenge the Shopper’s, FreshCo and McDonald’s that dominate here, but none are quite so daringly close to those places as this, making it key for coffee en route to errands or the TTC.
Owner Todd Delaney was born just outside of Liverpool and lived there until he was 16, alongside the river Mersey...Merseyside. His backstory doesn’t stop there: a former opera singer, he always felt cooking and coffee was something he longed to explore.
The space is super cozy, offering up lots of wooden warmth. Delaney tells me he picked up a lot of this stuff from off the side of the street, like an impressive mirror, or from garage sales, like an antique school desk he nabbed for just $15.
The Mersey Fog ($3.75 - $4.75) must be good if they’re putting their name on it. Like everything here the ingredients are simple but combine magically: vanilla, raw sugar, Earl Grey from Pluck tea. The vanilla is intoxicating, creating a sweet warm drink.
The grilled vegetable feta bureka ($8) is bursting with red pepper, onion and zucchini on a bed of excellently spicy genoa salami with arugula, baby onion and dijonnaise. They get the bureka from a Kosher bakery and then bake them at the cafe.
The breakfast sandwich ($4.25) follows the same principles of simplicity and quality, made with real eggs, real cheese and real butter. All the sandwiches are double-buttered here, and you can get this sandwich with your choice of sausage or what we got, house-cured peameal.
Scones ($3.25 - $3.50) baked fresh daily in house are another star here in flavours like blueberry or cheddar and onion. There are specials that rotate like a spicy, aromatic apple ginger that are so popular Delaney puts them on the menu regularly.
Delaney says the cubano ($9.50) might be his favourite sandwich and it’s one of the better cubanos I’ve had. Delaney roasts pork shoulder for five hours and combines it with ham, mozzarella, full Kosher sour pickles, and “yellownaise,” just mayo and mustard together.
It’s a tight space, but there’s enough room to hunker down with your little laptop. Outlets aren’t exactly everywhere, but if you shimmy and kneel and hunt under the pews, you’ll be able to plug in and munch scones and stay productive for hours.