Have you ever had a dream that you just had to pursue no matter how big or crazy it was? Opening a local cafe in downtown Toronto is an intimidating feat. With expensive rent rates, chain coffee shop competition, and the time and financial commitment that comes with starting a business, it takes a lot of faith and determination. I met with the owner and operator of Cafe Plenty, the lovely Melissa Patterson who shared with me the journey of opening her first cafe 6 years ago, to now having her 3rd shop that just opened in the PATH, Downtown Toronto.
How did Cafe Plenty Start?
“I opened my first location over 6 years ago at Dundas and University. For me I was just trying to figure out a way to make my life work in Toronto. I wanted to create a place that could be a reflection of me in aesthetic and atmosphere. A place that would be like inviting people into my home every day. Where I could host and entertaining and making those connections, Cafe Plenty is the perfect vessel for my passions. One of the things I love most about what I do, is creating community in the downtown core. The team we have at Cafe Plenty is an extension of my vision for community, they truly care for all of our patrons.”
Was it intimidating opening your first cafe in Toronto?
“I knew that it was the right thing for me to do. It takes a certain amount of bravery and courage to walk into the unknown, but I had such faith in my vision. I was so passionate about Cafe Plenty that I didn’t really have any doubts in it. Over 6 years ago, before I opened my first location, I was visiting some friends in Paris and was so inspired by what I saw in their lunch and cafe offerings. When I came home to Toronto, I could definitely see a pronounced gap. I wanted to create a space that was fresh and new. I could envision a beautifully decorated cafe, when you walk in there’s a full display case overflowing with delicious freshly made food, and behind the counter there’s a bright smiling barista ready to greet you. As I started dreaming of what Cafe Plenty would be, I knew I had to create it.”
How were you able to grow to your second location?
“We have such a strong team at Cafe Plenty. We all want to work together to make something great. Being passionate about our product and people and being consistent is what brought us a second location. It’s so competitive in the downtown core, but we look to stand out. We have built a reputation of excellence which has given us room to grow.”
Tell me a bit about your new location in the PATH.
“The aesthetic is the same as our other locations. Warm, bright, and welcoming. You’ll find that we still have all of our delicious beverages and baked goods in the new location, but I worked with our chef to create a unique lunch menu that is ready to grab for that person that is on-the-go. We wanted a way for someone to come in, pick up something healthy and tasty from the fridge, tap their card or redeem with the Cafe Plenty app, and go.”
The new Cafe Plenty store front is located in the PATH on Bay and Adelaide. There are plenty of to-go options. Tables are also placed right out front so you can grab a latte and a delicious baked good and meet up with a friend.