Wallace Espresso is a new pocket coffee shop serving grab-and-go espresso at the corner of Wallace and Lansdowne. Now, this area was not particularly devoid of caffeine prior to Wallace Espresso's arrival — there's Paris Bakery & Cafe a couple doors over and Cafe Neon a little further west — but nothing in terms of a no-frills coffee bar at which to quickly pop in and grab your morning jolt. After all, a neighbourhood can never have too many highly specific coffee bars, right?
Wallace Espresso, known colloquially as "WE" to its growing roster of regular followers, is pretty much as basic as an espresso bar gets. Other than a couple stools on which to rest your bag, seating is limited to the few turquoise chairs out front with a couple of reclaimed barn lamps inside acting as decor. The central wall feature is a fantastic GTA map circa 1967, which could surely keep captive a pair of geographically-minded eyes.
But WE's main focus, surely, is its espresso. Owners Dan and Alex opened this spot after working for years in the industry, Dan citing spurts with the Drake Cafe and Parts & Labour , among others.
"The other coffee places in this area are sort of restaurants and cafes combined," Dan explains as he tells me more about the bar. "We love that dynamic of a coffee shop as a social meeting space, and that's sort of what we want for here."
Just two weeks old, WE has already accrued a small collection of daily visitors, many of whom are seduced by the (small selection of) locally sourced baked goods on the counter and specialty drinks made using Social Coffee Co. beans. There is no menu posted here, but the bar offers all of the espresso standards including cappuccinos, lattes (lactose-free, soy, and almond milk available), two-buck Americanos and more.
Dan prepares me a cappuccino that comes off deliciously smooth and creamy. Good for an afternoon pick me up — not quite a morning jolt, I'd say — but a nice treat to break up the day. And that seems to be how much of the area is embracing Wallace Espresso. The cafe is (and probably will remain) cash-only, and is open during the week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Photos by Jesse Milns