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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Small World After All

I was going to write a review of a new cafe today, but I wanted to address an issue that the whole community seems to be talking about.

I recently found out that Small World Cafe is closing (sob!). I spent so many happy hours there drinking coffee and eating Dufflet pastries that it was a serious blow to my heart.  The East York Mirror had run an article a few months ago about the owners trying to sell the biz on Craigslist, but I never followed up to see what the result of it was.

I logged on to chowhound to see what the rumour mill is saying and according to intel from JamieK, there will be an Ethiopian restaurant opening. I haven't confirmed this yet, but I was actually stunned when I read it. I love Ethiopian food, but how many restos can this neighbourhood float? Most of the current restaurants closer to Greenwood are pretty much empty around dinner hour, other than Blue Nile which gets the nightclub crowd.

There's also another rumour that Starbucks was poking around. Perhaps that's what the strip needs, but I would be saddened to see this as I love our other small community coffee shops like Three's Company Too, True Brew and Seb's.

As of yet, there isn't a single legitimate coffee shop or bakery for people to hang out at after 6:00 (other than Seb's if you're so inclined). I was hoping that someone from the neighbourhood would buy Small World and keep it afloat, tweaking the business model to include better customer service and extended hours, but as Debbie Gibson once said, this will have to stay "only in my dreams".....


  1. Our family tried supporting Small World, we really did, but it seemed to me that on every visit, there was some kind of issue. Whether it was the less-than-friendly customer service, or a feeling that we were an inconvenience because we arrived 15 or 20 minutes before closing (and the fact that they closed early was also a problem), or the feeling that our kids were making too much of a "mess" in the play area, there was always something. Just a weird vibe overall. And even though we always cleaned up and put the toys away, we always left feeling that something was just... off. So I'm not so sad to see it go. Maybe we'll head over to S Walter Stewart and give that a try. It'll be a less expensive outing too!

  2. I agree, completely! I will miss it, but there was a downside for sure. On numerous occasions on maternity leave, my friends and our kids were made to feel like garbage while we were hanging out there. Once Tony tried to make my 9 month old eat off a plate (RIDICULOUS!), and Beth once made a comment that the amount of food on the floor could feed the next "crowd of new moms".
    Regardless, the little one loved the play space and it was a nice spot to meet up with friends for playtime.
    Walter Stewart, here we come! ;)

  3. Hey Sarah, did the Mirror do that story too? Maybe they did after the Town Crier did! I wrote about the cafe in a shopping column and then when I Googled the cafe as I was fact checking I saw a listing on Craigslist. We did a story on Nov 19; here it is:

    Anyway to your question, I was in the 'hood a week or so ago and heard from a local biz owner that it's closing as there were no takers, but I didn't hear about the resto.

    Don't hate me but a Starbucks could revitalize that area. I think a lot of people liked the idea of a cafe there, especially a kid-friendly one, but someone needs to come in and do it right. I'll be staying tuned just like you!

  4. Yah, I agree. I am not hating the idea of a Starbucks, as it will be an anchor for other things, but I hate that everyone thinks this is what we all want or that it's the only solution. Could we have a Second Cup? Atleast that's Canadian. I have a soft spot for small mom and pop coffee shops, I guess.... :)