Guess who's in the news again? Red Rocket Coffee is! Twice.

Danforth Gem – Red Rocket
Thanks to Sarah Kiriliuk for this Danforth Gem….


Danforth East denizens who consider coffee a secondary food group have already started to line up for their daily brews at the newly opened Red Rocket coffee at 1364 Danforth, just west of Monarch Park.

Those already familiar with the aromatic roasts of the famed Leslieville coffee house know that their coffee is second to none. Although the Leslieville location was forced to close, their loss is Danforth’s gain. The new Danforth location resides in the space formerly belonging to Three’s Company Two and Niche. A minor facelift has transformed the space into a cozy and chic spot on the strip to get your daily dose of java. There is an an antique children’s school desk in front of the fireplace and archived prints of the real red rocket framed along the wall. We shouldn’t forget to mention that there is lots of room for stroller parking!

The coffee and espresso offerings are partnered with a selection of treats and sandwiches, with more menu items on the horizon. Here’s a hint: blueberry bran muffins are not always that appealing, but the ones found here are worth writing home about!

If you’re looking for a place to answer emails or get some work done, Red Rocket offers free Wifi – look for the passcode on an antique chalkboard on the wall.

And the final bonus is the cheery staff behind the counter. A handful of former Three’s Company Two employees stayed on with Red Rocket, so you will still be seeing familiar faces at the espresso machine.

For news and updates, read the Red Rocket blog: http://redrocketcoffee.blogspot.com/.


Red Rocket (Danforth)

Posted by Robyn Urback / Reviewed on January 20, 2012
Red Rocket Coffee Toronto Danforth

Red Rocket (Danforth) is the original Leslieville location transposed. After five strong years on Queen East, the cafe's owners say they had no choice but to leave their former location. "Basically," Pamela MacDonald says as we take a seat on the first day of the Danforth opening, "the landlord wanted double the rent. Which, we know, is not market value. It's not a fair price."

Red Rocket Coffee Toronto

"There were lots of games," she continues, commenting on how she saw the landlord (Queen Street Partners, which also owns the Toronto Standard) conduct his business. "And it was more than just how it ended — in that way, it was a very unhappy five years."

Red Rocket Toronto

The relationship Red Rocket had with the Leslieville community, however, was anything but unhappy, and many loyal customers were heartbroken to see them leave. "We left out a guest book," co-owner Liako Dertilis says, taking a seat to join the conversation. "And some of the things people said; it was really emotional." "People met their life partners in our cafe. We watched kids grow up. Really, we're still trying to digest it all."

Red Rocket Coffee Toronto

Pamela and Liako had all of seven weeks to get out and find a new place, and I could certainly see the residual stress in their faces. They managed to find this new spot on Danforth just east of Greenwood by following up on a tip from "Bob," the notorious espresso machine repairman used by many independent Toronto cafes. The first steps included getting in those splashes of red rocket colour, installing an awesome window bar made from reclaimed wood from a rubber factory, and doing their best to make the transition as easy as possible on their customers.

Red Rocket Toronto Coffee

That gentle transition, of course, means keeping the coffee just the same, and my Americano ($2.40/$2.95/$3.45) is pulled using the same Reunion Island blend, and it tastes just as bold and full-bodied here as on Queen East. Granted, the corner spot in Leslieville sure was a great place to kick back, especially in the spring when the sun would saturate the cafe through the windows, but Pam and Liako have done a great job in making the new space feel bright, modern, and open. Along with the regular pastries and baked goods, Red Rocket has plans for a weekend baked brunch, as well as possibly applying for a liquor license and extending hours in the evenings.

Red Rocket Toronto

Though they're happy in their new spot, Pamela and Liako say they know their departure shook some of their former neighbours, especially those who occupy buildings owned by the same landlord. "It's scary when a successful business is pushed out by a difficult landlord," Pamela says. "I know some of them are worried."

Red Rocket Coffee Toronto

Liako and Pamela are now focused on creating the same sort of community feel they had in Leslieville at this Danforth location. "A coffee house should be like a pub, but with coffee," Liako says. "And while we do have great coffee, I think it's more about the service, the personal attention, the sort of feel you provide. It's all about building a community, and we're hoping to do that here."

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Photos by Jesse Milns

1 comment:

Sandra said...

Welcome to the 'hood! As a resident of the Greenwood/Danforth neighborhood, I was delighted to see you open up shop so close to home.
Leslieville's loss is our gain!

2012 is the year of the dragon, and is supposed to be a great year for new beginnings. Wishing you every success in your new location(s), see you soon ~