Vv Magazine’s Libby Roach got the first look at Bean and Baker Malt Shop, Toronto’s very first fountain soda shop.
Bean and Baker Malt Shop is the culmination of husband and wife team Liezel and Bren Anderson, who, after slugging away at their respective food service jobs (Bren, “The Bean,” was a long-time barista, and Liezel, “The Baker,” comes from the pastry department at El Catrin) decided to open Toronto’s first soda and malt shop on Harbord.
The space looks like it’s been delivered from a 1950’s time warp, almost like that malt shop scene from Back to the Future, with retro signage and Formica tables. Chalkboard menus mark specials and enhance the vintage vibe, right down to their adorable “soda jerk” uniforms. The place seats about 16, but in summertime, the small benches out front (or at nearby Bickford Park) will handle the riff-raff.
A rotating roster of Kawartha Dairy ice cream starts at $2 for a kiddy cup, with heftier options like ice cream sandwiches going for $5.50. For organic vegans struggling to find decadent non-dairy desserts, Bean and Baker has stocked dairy-free Coconut Bliss ice cream ($5) as well as a sorbet.
The shop’s partnership with Kiwi pie baker Wiseys Pies means a selection of savoury options are also on hand, such as the mini veg or minced meat pot pie ($2.20). But crowds will likely swarm for the sweet stuff, like their warm cherry pie pocket ($3.25, but add $2 for ice cream). Brownies and tarts are made in house by Liezel, with gluttonous options like the bacon pecan butter tart setting you back $4.25
Sodas are made in house with hand-crafted small batch syrups that use only organic cane sugar and no artificial colouring, for $3 a pop. Floats and shakes, like this rich root beer float a la mode, will set you back $5.25. Added shots of malt (an extra 50 cents), the grain famous for many of our favourite alcoholic beverages, give a rich texture to their floats and shakes.
Liezel and Bren’s ambitious dream of owning something of a bygone era should be a perfect fit in this kid-friendly pocket of town, and setting up shop in the old Bickford Flexitarian means park-goers will be pack the quaint space in the summer months. Warm drinks (courtesy of Mr. Bean) should carry them through the dreary winter months. And with no other malt shop in town, let’s hope this concept can keep them afloat for the long haul.
What are you most excited to get your tastebuds on at the Bean and Baker Malt Shop? Let Vv Magazine know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.