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The Amazing Mystic Muffin

Meet Elias Makhoul, falafel master and owner of the Mystic Muffin. Elias came to Canada from Lebanon at age 21 and fell in love with our fair city — enough that he ran for mayor in the last municipal election. At his lunchtime eatery he works at a hyperactive pace. He’ll take time to ask your name, ask how your day is, ask if you have any stories — and when you come in weeks later he’s ready to continue the conversation. It’s hard to catch his photo in focus.
Behind the counter he’s a magician, conjuring up fantastic falafels, salads, and his self-proclaimed work of art, “chili on the rocks,” a carefully-arranged combo of rice, chili and salad. The food is fresh, healthy, and inexpensive. Muffins are only $1. Most sandwiches are $3.50. You can also get coffee, banana bread, bagels, and soup.
Our favourite menu item is the Better Life Combo. You’ll receive a plate piled high with green salad, chickpea salad, cabbage salad, hummus, spicy potatoes, two falafel balls, lentils and pita for only $6.25.
The Mystic Muffin is also home to his famous apple cake. First-time visitors get a piece for free. You won’t have to tell anyone — Elias will recognize you’ve never been there before. He’s got an elephant’s memory for faces.
The Mystic Muffin is on the corner of Jarvis and Richmond. It’s open Monday to Friday from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm. Saturdays from 8:00 am to 3:00. Closed Sundays. It’s also home to some of Torontoist’s favourite chalkboard menus. Crammed between the items and prices are little messages (“It’s good — trust me”) and imagined conversations between the staff. They alone are worth the trip.


  • Carrie

    I’m sold. Not necessarily because of the food, but because you were able to convey the charm of the place…those are my fave type of reviews. I love the ‘save Michigan’ on the chalkboard.

  • Gloria

    I’m sold too …. and I’ve been by that place a few dozen times and always being mystified by “Mystic Muffin.”

  • Kari Gignac

    Mystic Muffin is awesome… I used to go there all the time to grab tuna on a pita, some apple bread and a juice, and eat lunch in St. James Park.
    Elias is a very friendly person; he kinda freaked me out a bit, knowing my name on the second visit. He also asked me if I was single, and when I said yes, he scoffed, and said he’d try to fix that problem as soon as possible… LOL

  • Karen

    Awww, now I really want to go.

  • Deshunia Bakkouri

    I love mystic muffin

  • Stacy

    my mom and i just finished watching eat shrink and be merry with elias and the mystic muffins and how they look and wew were wondering if there was a way of tasting them or having them shipped to where we live, we would love to vist torontro, we are from saskatchewan. soo if you can help give me a shout

  • Daniela

    Elias is really a nice person and his description on text above is perfect!I miss too much all foods from Mystic muffins and mainly the apple cakes. it is delicious!!
    Juanita – his employee is a very a nice person too. They are good friends that i made when i lived in Toronto. Wish all the best to them.

  • guest

    WOW! I was starving, went to go into this place but it was closed. So I left, but didn’t get far before the owner hollered out to me and threw me a wrapped piece of their yummy and famous Apple Cake. He say’s you haven’t been here before and I reply “NO”…explains the Elephant memory and the free cake! I offered to pay and he wouldn’t take any money! He certainly make my day and the cake hit the spot nicely. THANKS!

  • http://undefined lmoore

    Strange as it sounds, Elias was a thoughtful candidate for mayor, attracting columns in the Globe and Mail and fostering true civic debate. He is interested in the poor and the street people and what can be done for them. His ideas were scoffed at by entrenched politicians at city hall. More fool them. In the meantime, the Mystic Muffin is one of the city’s true treasures. Elias and Juanita are the Mystic Muffin and thousands of us could not be happier.

  • Cate

    I was there for lunch this afternoon. I’d visited Mystic Muffin frequently about 4 years ago, and both Elias and Juanitia not only remembered my name but also what my favourite food was! It was incredible and the food was just as fabulous as it had been when I visited before. What a rare and wonderful thing! :)