Sonic in Chinatown is going to be an urban cyclists' pit stop in a couple of months. This urban cyclist in question bikes every day to and from work, knows a thing or two about how her bike works, but is no expert when it comes to changing a tube or reattaching her brake wire when it accidentally gets caught in her purse and she yanks it out of its socket. What's more, she enjoys a fine organic brew on occasion, and if she's lucky, on a south-facing outdoor patio... and with a muffin to go with it.
Indeed, that kind of urban cyclist and others more advanced in bike-know-how will be able to hop into this colourful building on Cecil Street, east of Spadina, and use the tools that owner, Anthony Darcy, will have available to cyclists to perform quick fixes themselves. After you've wiped the grease off your hands, Sonic steps in with a hot cup of organic coffee as well as light, homemade fare and a rooftop view of the 510 streetcar bustling up and down Spadina.
When Darcy bought 60 Cecil Street, he didn't know what he was going to do with the building; he just knew it had to be his or he'd regret it. But seeing as he's opened during one of the coldest weeks we've had this winter, the cyclist-focused mandate of this spot will have to stay simmering on the side until the warm weather hits. But urbanites can certainly stop into this unique spot for their hot-beverage fix. Darcy stands behind quality products, and sources coffee from a local roaster that uses only organic beans.
The kitchy interior is just as full of personality as its exterior. The first floor's main focal point is a multi-coloured piano that sounds out an equally colourful tune or two on Sundays. The steep staircase up the back reveals a cozy second floor with mismatched tables and chairs and plenty of room to spread out, plug in, and connect via their free WiFi.
Sonic's menu is simple and offers up a classic coffee-based menu as well as fare to go with it. A latte ($4.00) holds a perfectly stiff foam (best enjoyed with a spoon as proper foam should be), and their grilled cheese sandwich is the best deal in the house ($5.00). Served on brown toast, a thin slice of cheese is grilled up and served with blue corn tortilla chips, a pickle and ketchup and/or hot sauce.
Sonic's chai is made from a homemade syrup, and while a bit on the weak side, I am happy to see it on their menu. A cranberry muffin ($1.25) has a wonderful crumb, and is vegan to boot.
Sonic is a welcome addition to my cafĂŠ-rotation, and it'll be added to a list of great patios come spring. In the meantime, on this frosty day of the year, I might capitalize on some bike help too - getting Anthony to lend me a mug of hot water to defrost my bike lock.
Sonic Cafe opens at 8:00 am Monday to Friday and 11:00 am on weekends.