In café-riddled Toronto, it has been curiously difficult to find good coffee on the stretch of College Street between Lit Espresso Bar and Manic Coffee. First-time café owners Lisa Young-Kutsukake and Sarah Dillon want to change that with Empire Espresso, which opened at College and Beatrice earlier this month. At Empire, customers indulge in house-baked pastries while baristas pull shots on a custom-painted La Marzocco GB/5 espresso machine. The Silk Road-inspired café showcases local roasters—such as Dark City and Pig Iron—while a soulful soundtrack streams in from June Records next door. It’s a welcome addition to the neighbourhood, because after all, nobody should have to walk more than five minutes for a quality cappuccino.
Empire Espresso, 668 College St., 416-792-8890