Rooster Coffee House (King East)
Rooster Coffee House opened its second location this past week in the brand new attachment to the Toronto Sun building. The cafe's Riverdale location is housed in a cozy home-like building across from the park, and has become a second home to many of its regular customers. Walking in to the new location, I feared the worst; a hospital-like monochromatic interior, cold and impersonal. So you can imagine my glee and surprise when I entered for the first time and was greeted with the same friendly smiles and cozy aesthetic (this time with an industrial twist) that I've come to know and love.
I'm greeted by some familiar faces from the other location, namely co-owners Shawn Andrews and Dave Watson, who are behind the counter and playing Mr. Fix It respectively. As I sit with my Americano ($2.75 and made with the same chocolatey custom Pilot Coffee blend as Rooster Riverdale), I'm amazed by the reception the place gets from incoming customers, new and old. One regular from Riverdale comes in to wish Anderson and Watson well on their opening, carrying with her a giant brass rooster that once hung on her grandmother's mantle, and that is now officially on loan to the new spot.
Rooster Coffee House has only been open for a week or so upon my arrival and owner Andrews is excited to reveal some great additions soon to appear on the menu, the first of which will be part of a series known as "Feature Fridays." Each week, Rooster Coffee will bring in feature beans from all around the world. Starting hyper-local with blends from Toronto-based roasters and then branching out to Ontario and across Canada before eventually featuring beans from American and International roasters. (I'm holding out for a guest spot from my favorite Brooklyn haunt, Cafe Grumpy ).
Additionally, Rooster will be setting up a "slow bar" mid-summer, with a range of unique cold brew beverages served up by experienced baristas. Look forward to Japanese cold brew stations and a signature bottled Rooster Cold Brew (another custom blend from Pilot Roasters).
For those who love the cafe experience, but are perhaps not "coffee people," Rooster has a range of tea lattes (the Toasty Almond Latte $4, a particular favorite of mine) and an impressive and unique selection of fresh squeezed juices and lemonades to get you through the hot sticky months.
I salivate over a watermelon lemonade that looks as thirst-quenching as it tastes (also available are a raspberry ice tea and an iced matcha lemonade—yum!) The food selection is quite similar to that of their original location, with sandwiches and salads brought in daily by Cinq Foods, pastries from Jules Patisserie and gluten free options from the folks at Queen B Pastry .
For those who have already grown to love the services of Rooster Coffee, fear not, this new location is as charming and welcoming as ever—they even kept the daily crossword going, so customers can get their brain working while they wait for their drinks. For those of you who might be new to the cafÃ©, welcome. I assure you, your 15 minute coffee break will never be the same.
Photos by Morris Lum