Introducing: The Abbott, yet another coffee shop in Parkdale

Introducing: The Abbott, yet another coffee shop in Parkdale

“Coffee shop opens in west end”—it’s a story we’ve been able to write not once, not twice, not three times, not four times, but five times in November. And now, number six: The Abbott.

The latest addition to Parkdale’s caffeine scene is truly a locals’ coffee shop (and shouldn’t be confused with this Abbott or this Abbott). The owners and the manager live within walking distance, and they opened the café to give their neighbours a place to hang out in the ’hood besides the seedy bars that line King Street west of Dufferin. The space, a former dry cleaner, is tucked around a corner on Spencer Avenue. “I saw the space, and I thought it would be silly not to open something,” says co-owner Fadi Hakim.

Hakim founded The Abbot with Alex Sengupta, Danny Greaves (lead singer of the 1990s rock band The Watchmen) and Evan Johnsen—the same three partners he has up at The Lakeview and once had at the Chelsea Room, a bar-lounge on Dundas West that shuttered in 2007. They gutted the space, revealing original tin moulding under a drop ceiling and mottled plaster walls behind wood panelling. The only artifact hanging around from the dry cleaner is a hand-painted sign that reads “Spencer,” now up on the wall as artwork. The name of the café, however, has its own historical significance: Anderson Ruffin Abbott, the first black doctor in Toronto, lived down the street. A collection of vintage medical equipment on display pays tribute to his memory. Black and white hex tiles, art deco blown-glass lights and an eclectic mix of tables and chairs finish off the decor.

The coffee is sourced from Canterbury, a fair-trade organic line from Vancouver. Drip coffee (small $1.75, large $2.25) and americano (single $2, double $2.50) are the hot items with morning commuters, along with muffins ($1.75) and croissants ($1.75). All of the snacks, which also include cookies ($1) and bacon-and-cheese biscuits ($2.50), are made in-house at The Lakeview.

“There are lots of moms and pops who work from home around here, or moms with babies who just want to get out of the house for a bit,” Hakim points out, “We have really good coffee and a nice space. I want people to feel comfortable here.” To that end, there’s also free Wi-Fi, and coffee cards for frequent customers.

The Abbott, 99 Spencer Ave. (at King St. W.), 416-876-3855.

Left to right: Fadi Hakim, The Abbott's medical decor, the view (Images: Lisa Paul)