If you are a pedestrian or cyclist who travels along Harbord regularly, you were probably deeply saddened by the closing of Linux Cafe. You probably used to go there for the free, open-source Wi-Fi and the space to plug in your laptop to get your schoolwork or your freelancing done in similar company. Maybe you’d grab a latte, a fresh smoothie or a bottle of fancy juice with a cookie or a muffin before settling into your work or having a conversation while sitting on one of the picnic benches in the sun at one of the best people watching corners in the city.
Well, the good news is that the space has been reactivated.
Yesterday the doors opened at The Bickford at the corner of Grace and Harbord.
The bad news is, that they’ve now closed. The good news is that the space is being activated again by a new owner, and I happen to know that what is expected to go in there is going to be TASTY. But here’s the Flexitarian ‘review’, for nostalgia’s sake:
I was waiting for my free bike check by Cycle Toronto across the street and noticed the brown paper had finally been removed from the cafe windows and went to check out what it was. As I told the two friendly gentlemen behind the counter; I’ve been eagerly anticipating their opening. I missed my corner cafe. It’s, of course, different from what we will all remember, but lovely. It’s modern without being cold. Cool with warmth?
Like Linux used to have, there is a wall of teas to choose from, but these guys also have a laminated list you can peruse rather than having to strain your eyes. I went with an Emerald Green tea, which was yummy, but a bit pricey at $3 with tax. I asked them whether they’d be offering the same internet connectivity that used to be expected at that corner and they said they’d taken out many of the outlets, and hoped that the laptop usage would be kept to the window stools.
I probably should have taken a photo of their menu, as I can’t find them online anywhere, but there was, if my memory serves me right, salads, soups, sandwiches, and the counter display had many sweet and savoury treats to choose from; a sort of upscale deli cafe is how I’d describe it. (Edit: They now have a website, a twitter, an instagram, and a facebook!) They offered me a free muffin, which I obviously took. It was gluten-free, with almond, orange and chocolate chip. I’m not usually a fan of citrus in baked goods, but it is probably what kept it so moist. It was good, though it tasted a bit floral, and I’m not sure why.
Despite the fact that they have the word ‘Flexitarian’ on their sign and menu, which kind of makes me shudder with judgement, I will go back to sit down and try some actual food. They were super friendly, and their fruit slushies and italian sodas will surely be enticing to many who spend their time lazing in the grass or playing softball across the street.
Good luck, The Bickford (or are they called The Bickford Flexitarian?[*Edit: it turns out they ARE called The Bickford Flexitarian])… you have big shoes to fill, but maybe we were ready for a new, grown up pair.