A Jolt of Java at Jimmy's.


I walked past the Jimmy's Coffee sandwich board for two and a half weeks before I followed the finger. Well, I followed the finger every day, actually, as it pointed straight down Portland Street toward TAXI. But I didn't follow it into the coffee shop until my final week in the office.

Once I did, however, the relationship got serious.

I love coffee. And I love it much more when someone else makes it and hands it to me. I have a short list that a coffee shop needs to cover off on, which starts with deliciously brewed java. Obvious, but not always done. The vibe needs to be casual, but not to the point of uncared for, just a place where communities collide and build. I don't often buy baked goods, but my confidence in a place grows when I know delicious treats are available. It shows they're thinking about your full experience. A staff that is not aloof and bitter about helping to caffeinate me is necessary. And enough space to meet or sit and work, without becoming a hush-hush hangout where eyes glare over Macbooks if you carry on a conversation, is also important.

Jimmy's has all that covered and then some. It's a bit tucked away and solitary, though it is right on Portland between Adelaide and King West. It was constantly packed, whether I was standing in the long, but fast-moving, line in the morning or passing by in the afternoon. People mill about outside the shop sitting and chatting on benches while others meet at tables or work quietly inside. There's a selection of magazines for those who didn't bring any amusement of their own, but would like to sit around and sip on their caffeine rather than rush out the door. I bought a muffin every time I bought a coffee, simply because they looked so irresistibly tasty. Scones (in particular a maple oat scone that cried out to me), mini quiches and other baked delights also tempt at the counter. Lastly, their baristas were all kind and moved quickly to keep the line moving.

Though I fell hard for Jimmy's, the affair must be short-lived as I travel to the next city. But those passing through Toronto who find themselves wandering through the King West neighborhood should wander right down Portland and grab a cup of joe. The staff might not remember your name and order the first time, but it won't be long before they will.

The next time I find myself in Toronto, I won't delay in following the finger right through the door into Jimmy's .

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