My lady and I were really excited to see the Broadview porn shop finally close down. even more exciting was watching its conversion into a coffee shop.
Last summer, we stopped by the shop a week before it opened and met the owner. we talked for 30 minutes and he offered us espresso shots.
our only hesitations: he had a small espresso machine (we envisioned lineups and quality issues) and we love our Mercury.
Fast forward one year. the Lady and I finally went to Broadview Espresso (on the east side of Broadview a block or so north of the subway station) and found out why there always seems to be a steady customer gathering inside the cafe.
First, the decor: a REALLY nice space. It definitely is one of the nicer cafes in Toronto and looks like it would be super cozy in the winter.
the staff: really nice and friendly. both girls working there didn't give the cold shoulder we often find we get at Mercury. they also drew really nice shots and made a great looking (and tasting) latte. saw them make a french press and they also knew what they were doing as well.
the bean: this is the only "issue". its a dark roast. not the horrible Starbucks espresso roast (which tastes like burnt fish bones to me). it had a strong, bold taste to it but still had a smoothness. so when i say "issue", it depends on what you like from your espresso. using Mercury as my previous Toronto gold standard, i liked the feature roast option. you can occasionally get a yummy Ethiopian roast that is really smooth, not as bold tasting and has some nice blueberry notes to it. at Broadview, you just get your bold-but-very-tasty espresso. which is a good thing for the majority of people who like a latte that tastes like it has espresso in it.
rest of menu: they have the typical cafe drinks. no caramel macchioato-style drinks you find with the chains. they don't do ciders and i didn't observe any cold drinks.
the food: all of their desserts looked really appealing. we tried the butter tart, which was like a mini cinnamon bun. not sure where they get their desserts from, but the tart was excellent. a great sharing dessert for 2 with their lattes.
outdoor space: unfortunately, there are 3 park benches to sit on. none of them are really in the sun. no tables as well. while the indoor space is beautiful, the outdoor space isn't really meant for summer loitering.
environmental stance: biodegradable cups are a great call. reusable glasswear for indoor drinks. didn't see a recycling bin, but not sure if there's a need for one.
if you live in Riverdale or the Golden Triangle and have a latte craving, Broadview Espresso is a great option. not as many bean selections as Mercury, but the atmosphere - especially come fall and winter - and staff and a nice, dark espresso roast certainly make up for it.