Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cafe Review: T-ShirtGuys/Plan B

I hesitate to write about this shop because I have set out a few rules when I do these reviews.  I try not to read what other reviewers have written so that I do not react to them and so that I can form my own opinions.  One of the other guidelines is not to know too much about the owners so that my relationship with them does not impact my writing.

So, I read a bunch of comments and blogs.  I also talked to the owners about their shop and what I liked and didn't like.  I don't think it makes a difference in my review but there it is.

This cafe is located at 401 Logan at the corner of Logan and Dundas.  It is situated in the old Woods building at the south side.  It is set in an old loading dock a with garage door opening on one side, a door to the road on the other and of course, you can get to it through the T-ShirtGuys retail front end.  There is an outdoor space that is converted to something like a patio.  It kind of reminds me of the front of a firehall on an open house day.

The inside has the feeling of a general store.  There place feels mismatched in a good way.  You are walking into a working environment with a cafe that serves Mountain View coffee for a reasonable price on one side.  One of the cheapest prices for a middle of the road coffee not found in a place with the name Tim's or Mac.  But it is much better.  There are other zones within the area.  You can browse their tshirts or buy flowers or penny candies.  It is just under the clutter mark and above the visually interesting.

When the development around the corner is finished, the working from home thirty somethings will have a comfortable location with people they can relate.  The cafe will be bringing in goods from Knead bakery and maybe even getting a store front set up.  I like this type of collaboration where different small businesses or business concepts get together and provide a joint space.  It makes sense so that if something does not work, then that space can be freed up without leaving a gaping hole in the place.  Walk down East Chinatown or stretches of Yonge Street to see what I am talking about.

I would normally end my review now but this is where reading other reviews has influenced me.  I can see where people feel as if they are being ignored or treated in a lackadaisical fashion but I am not sure if they are justified.  When I have gone in, there has rarely been someone at the cash of the cafe.  You are walking into a production environment and the cafe is Plan B.  Plan A is making tshirts.

The person responsible for serving has always been there but sometimes it appears as if they are customer as they are sitting down and working on their laptop or some other such thing.  This is where I wonder if it is a generational thing.  I recognized this casual approach to service from living in a rural area.  I meant when I said it is like a general store.  They get to know you quick, in both the good ways and the bad ways. This is not the way employees act but rather people who are running the business.  I think it is inconsiderate as a consumer to expect that someone is waiting to take your order in a mom and pop shop.  Especially when, as these people are, they are social enough to ask how your day is going and make appropriate inappropriate comments (I was called crazy for wanting raisins in my butter tart).

Would I recommend this as a great coffee shop?  No.  Would I recommend this for someone who wants a community vibe and have a place to do some work and hang out?  Yes.


  1. Huh - RH, I like your review and it actually makes me want to go and try them out
    thanks! -m
    p.s. Really - raisins in the butter tart ??!

  2. They have now replaced this cafe with Red Rocket. Much improved.