A Coffee at Safehouse / by Didier Young

There is no denying the fact that Toronto has slowly, but surely, become a coffee metropolis of its own. Coffee shops in Toronto are often supplied by local roasters such as Sam James’ Cut Coffee, Pilot Coffee and Demello but they also do not shy away from ordering coffee beans from places such as The Barn in Germany.  With this array of coffee shops all showcasing fantastic beans, it is often hard to pick out your allegiance. Often it all comes down to location, instagrammability, latte art abilities and service. Today’s post is the new coffee shop and Instagram darling, Safehouse Coffee.

DSCF4269.JPG

Located at Brock Ave and Dundas Street West, the coffee shop co-owned by Chris Faria and Tyler Kostman, may seem to be located quite out of the way for most Torontonians who are used to the security and comfort of the downtown core and yet it became a hit within weeks of its opening. One of the reasons for this rise to prominence resides on location. While it may seem far to some, the Brock and Dundas area has become an up and coming area thanks to the gentrification process that it is experiencing and the influx of people moving into the area. Location: check. Setting their roots in a gorgeous 100 year old building with a fantastic patina tin ceiling and exposed bricks gave the shop an immense amount of character and comfort, something which is hard to achieve in a building withtall ceilings. The location was no fluke obviously: with Tyler’s background as a real estate agent, Safehouse was destined to be born into a glorious piece of real estate. Adding on to the charm of the building, the owners had the brilliant idea of creating an Instagrammable floor of black and white honeycombed tiles showcasing the word HI. This decision caused the whole Toronto Instagram community, including yours truly, to rush to Safehouse like one rushes to the holy makkah. Instagrammability: check.

DSCF4267.JPG

Next comes the latte art test. The coffee shop uses Pilot coffee, one of the better local roasters in the city. This is also not a coincidence: Chris previously worked in the coffee business which earned him a skill set that once paired with Tyler’s design and branding ideas, made them a perfect fit as business partners. This knowledge translated in perfect art on top of your lattes, cortados and flat whites. Latte art abilities: check. Now comes the most important of all the attributes of a hospitality institution: service. This is by far, the most important factor that would usually make me come back to a coffee shop or a restaurant. The first time I went to Safehouse, I was greeted by Tyler who was working alone that day. He was friendly and super chill, even coming up halfway through my stay there and allowing the patrons to sample pieces of the cheesecake being sold that day. The music selection was fantastic, the service spectacular and the Desmond and Beatrice pastries were delicious. Service: double check.

DSCF4266.JPG

Often people seem to believe that the only reason to keep going back to an institution is the quality of the product. However, I personally believe that while a product’s quality is primordial to the longevity of a business, the service and environment that you are exposed to are also key players in turning a business into an institution. Safehouse achieves, with brio, to create a compelling case for itself and will undoubtedly withstand the sands of time. 

-Didier