Last week I gave you a teaser of a new project I’m working on and today I’m back with the details and my first feature. As you may know I love the Junction Triangle in Toronto, I have lived there and also own a rental property. Since I’ve been in the neighbourhood for the last 2 years, I have been lucky to witness all the positive change happening, from real estate to new businesses opening up shop. Some parts of the Junction Triangle have become more developed then others and now there’s a boom happening on Dupont St. In the last 6 months a handful of new businesses have opened up and the residents couldn’t be happier. So I will be exploring Dupont St in the Junction Triangle and featuring a new business once a week right here. First up El Almacen General (make sure to keep reading to the bottom to see the video and learn about the giveaway)……
The Low Down On El Almacen General
Owners Silvio Rodriguez and Gigi (as he likes to be called) opened their doors in January 2013. Not to be confused with El Almacen on Queen St W owned by Silvio and his wife Estela, El Almacen General (1642 Dupont St) is the sister cafe and is doing things a bit differently. It was very important for both cafes to have their own identities and look. So Silvio approached Gigi who was working at the Queen St W location at the time, with the opportunity to open up another location and suggested the Junction Triangle because he could see the potential the neighbourhood had. With their love for picking and motorcycles, El Almacen General was born, which by the way means general store in Argentinean (Silvio’s background). It was important for Silvio and Gigi to combine the 2 businesses together of a cafe and general store which can be seen all over Argentina, but not so much in Toronto. It’s a great concept that goes hand in hand because everything in the cafe is for sale from the table and chairs to the motorcycle gear and shoes! Come for an espresso and stay a bit to shop their one of a kind merchandise personally hand picked by Silvio and Gigi.
Why The Junction Triangle?
While considering many neighbourhoods for their new venture, Silvio really saw the real estate movement happening in the Junction Triangle, particularly Dupont St. There are bidding wars with new types of home owners moving in, not to mention tons of studios with employees looking for their daily caffeine fix. Although El Almacen General is located on Dupont St, it’s pretty much at the end of Dupont just how the owners like it. They like the fact they are on the “outskirts” where it’s more raw and less congested. Also helps they are right across the street from The Farmhouse Tavern which as Gigi said is the focal point of the street and brings business into the other establishments on Dupont St. It’s important for Gigi that the community looks out for each other and develops relationships so that everyone can grow together and be successful because without the community there is no business.
Claim To Fame
This “convenience store” with a twist has a little something for everyone. While the focal point is the 1980’s original retro Elektra machine churning out Italian espressos, which in Gigi’s opinion is the best kind of espresso, there are other things to see and taste. They serve delicious Yerba Mate latte’s (tea latte) that you have to try, as well as Mate products, bags of Yerba Mate and even starter kits for us newbies to Mate’s. They also have a great selection of vintage items for your home as well as jeans, shoes, leather jackets and motorcycle helmets to name a few. Their helmets range from brand new to vintage, but are all DOT safety approved. You can pick one up for yourself or your kids in a wide range of prices. They also serve a signature drink which I’m dying to try called the Espressado which is a sweet, but cold coffee kick with a secret ingredient. Make sure to keep coming back to El Almacen General frequently as Silvio and Gigi are picking new items for the cafe every 2 days. So with all the stuff going on inside the cafe, from the outside looking in, it could be a bit confusing what this place is about, but intrigue is what drives customers in. Also from what I’m told, this cafe serves up some mean empanadas and alfajores as well as other take out food which is meat lover friendly or vegetarian friendly and they can even cater your next event or dinner.
The Mascot, which is a 1966 Kawasaki sits outside the cafe and definitely draws a lot of attention. Gigi told me he kind of stumbled upon this bike when his buddy was selling off some contents in an estate sale. He told Gigi he had 7 bikes and was planning on selling them at a swap meet in Ohio, but his trailer had only room for 6 bikes. He told Gigi he would drive it down to him in exchange for a couple of lattes from another cafe that Gigi used to own. Gigi fixed it up to make it look like a cafe racer and now it sits outside El Almacen General and is the one item in the cafe that’s not for sale!
Curious? Make sure to stop by and check this place out. El Almacen is open 7 days a week and you can find either Silvio or Gigi always there. The first 4 people to drop by and mention this blog post, can have a FREE Americano on me, I know, you’re welcome!
Here’s a little video I put together of El Almacen General:
Love to ride motorcycles as much as these guys? Make sure to let them know as they are always participating in events and rides for a cause such as Sports To Ride and the upcoming Port Dover ride on Friday the 13th in September.
Thanks Silvio and Gigi!
Come back next week to see which business I’ll be featuring next!
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