Super-Jet International Coffee Shop
Super-Jet International Coffee Shop opened a few weeks ago along the Annex's northern edge on Dupont Street just west of Spadina. When I arrive on a particularly sunny and warm afternoon, I'm immediately envious of the customers relaxing on the patio, sipping their coffees while reading the paper. I quickly head inside to get my caffeine fix and lounge at a sunny window seat.
Before launching Super-Jet, owner Jonathan Whitley built and owned The Cloak and Dagger pub on College Street for about six years. He sold it, wrote a novel, and then, almost out of money, decided to open a coffee shop. "This is much more civilized than a pub," he says. "There were too many late nights at The Cloak and Dagger." As for the new shop's aviation-themed name, "it's a long story," Whitley says mysteriously, but won't provide details.
Whitley had worked as a barista about 20 years ago and recently brushed up on his skills with the help of the folks at I Deal Coffee , who provide his beans. "As far as I'm concerned, they're the freshest and best coffee in town," he asserts. Super-Jet serves up brewed coffee, teas, espresso, and your typical menu of espresso-based drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and mochas. Whitley also sells beans from I Deal Coffee ($16/lb) and David Lynch Signature Cup Coffee ($19.50/lb), which could be worth a try based solely on Lynch's freaky four minute commercial featuring, yup, a talking Barbie head.
I opt for a medium latte ($3.50), which comes served perfectly hot, with a sufficient yet simple foamy topping (read: no fancy latte art here). The creamy milk and rich, warm espresso flavour make for a filling and comforting drink to sip while people-watching.
From the display of scones, muffins, and other baked goods provided by Circles & Squares , I go for a sweet potato and pecan muffin ($2.50). It's moist, light, and tastes just like autumn, with a sprinkling of crunchy pecans and a little sweetness balanced by warm spices. Also popular are the brownies and chocolate chip cookies. Super-Jet plans to expand the food offerings soon to also include vegan goods and hot soup.
Like a sleepy cat lazing in a sunbeam, I struggle to peel myself from my sunny window seat, and stay a while to enjoy the bright and relaxed atmosphere. Large front and side windows let a ton of sunlight into the corner space, which is furnished with a simple light wooden bar and wood tables made by Whitley himself. Visitors can grab a seat on one of the window stools, basic black chairs, antique church pews lining the walls or can take advantage of the sunny side patio. Some more industrial touches provide a bit of contrast to the airy feel, such as large black light fixtures and artwork made of scrap metal and dark wood. Free WiFi and background music featuring LCD Soundsystem give me further reason to linger for a bit.
It seems like locals are starting to get on board with Super-Jet (plane pun fully intended). During my visit, there's a steady trickle of folks popping in, including regulars asking for "the usual," parents with young kids in tow, and a group of 20-somethings out for a lazy weekend stroll. Whitley makes friendly chitchat with everyone while offering to stamp their Super-Jet frequent flyer reward card (buy six drinks, get one free).
On my way out, I order a medium brewed coffee to go ($2), made that day with I Deal Coffee's Prince of Darkness roast. The dark, fresh coffee goes down smooth and provides the extra oomph I need to get on with my day. With its quality coffee, proximity to the subway, and comfortable vibe, I can see Super-Jet becoming a regular go-to coffee spot for many nearby residents. Plus, who doesn't love collecting frequent flyer points?
Super-Jet is cash-only for now, and is open Monday to Friday 7am-6pm, and Saturday and Sunday 9am-6pm.
Photos by Morris Lum