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Thursday, May 28, 2015

New Cafe on Danforth: D'Lusso Is A Hidden Gem

Co-partner & manager Daniella, always ready with a smile. 
Pioneer has a new HQ and it's called D'Lusso Cafe. That's right, you heard us, we're moving out of our shared bedroom office into the shiny new cafe at 1504 Danforth. What girl wouldn't want free wifi and gourmet espressos at their fingertips after a stressful business meeting? Plus, the crowd at D'Lusso is familiar and unexpected at the same time - it could be because everyone's a cousin in this family run business, including 'uncle' Joe.

In all seriousness, finding D'Lusso was like uncovering a really really secret hidden gem on the Danforth. Many readers probably vaguely remember an unremarkable cafe and lounge in that space called Apollonia, and before that a really sketchy sports lounge, so when D'Lusso first opened its doors in March it was tough to get the attention from pedestrian traffic already used to passing by.

When Pioneer discovered this gem, the girls behind the counter (Daniella & Laura) were immediately like soul-sisters, and we felt like we'd walked into someone's kitchen party. This can, and will, make all the difference in the world when you've got some fierce competition moving in down the street.

The cafe serves not only coffees and espressos, but also a long list of paninis, juices, breakfast sandwiches, specialty iced drinks (iced caramel macchiato anyone???), italian sodas and desserts. Our tastebuds literally screamed with joy after sampling an almond ice, a grown up version of a slushee made with almond paste straight from casa della nonna in Italia.

We were eager to come back and try the next day's special: a smoked-chicken panini with tomato chutney, herbed butter and apple cheddar. It was melt-in-your-mouth delicious and Pioneer ate every single bite of the over-sized but well priced sandwich.

The cavernous space has been remodelled to accomodate large mummy-and-baby groups at the back, or Pioneer's next birthday party! You can sit at the front next to the open patio doors and people watch all morning, or sit at the bar and chat with Daniella who will tell you all about the history of the neighbourhood. She and most of her family (and a whole gang of regular customers) have lived on that block for decades - we've dubbed them The Originals, and they've got pictures up on the walls of Danforth shops owned by their grandfather 50 years ago.

They're also one of the only coffee places in the neighbourhood that are open after dinner, so next time you're looking for a quiet-ish place to escape to, this is the place to go - and don't worry, we'll save you a seat! Salute!

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