"How about we try something in your neighborhood? You're the Queen West girl!"
I usually get this response when I ask people where they want to hangout. Yes, I may live in Queen West now but that doesn't mean that I've tried all the places in the neighbourhood. I know where most spots are but I still have a lot to cross off my list. (Maybe ask me again in a year? :P)
One place that I've been dying to try is Tokyo Smoke on Adelaide and Stafford, about a 3-minute walk from my building. I always pass it during my outdoor runs but it wasn't until my coffee fiend Scott asked about it that pushed me to finally drop by. It's a great little spot away from the main streets that serves high quality locally roasted coffees, fresh juices, artful sandwiches and pastries. From the outside looking in, it looks like a pop-up cafe but behind the counter you'll actually find a well-lit and well-furnished communal space.
Tokyo Smoke is the "next wave of coffee shop." Sitting on one of the modern metal bar stools will make you feel like you are working in your own warehouse studio. You are surrounded with all these unique collectibles and treats that just pushes the creative juices out of you. The [interior] design is so immersive and experiential that it invites you to call the space as 'yours' while at the same time share it as 'ours'.
I came across the owner, Lorne, and he shared with me how Tokyo Smoke came to be. In a nutshell, it was a startup story wherein he had an idea, worked on it, and although it took years, everything eventually came together. I asked him what advice he'd give a budding entrepreneur and he says to get a mentor:
"Hard-work, risk-taking and patience can get you far but it's also important to have someone that believes in you and your vision."
850 Adelaide St W