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Spice City Toronto: A Hub for Haitians

A former Coffee Time is now a magnet for Toronto's Haitian community.

The interior of La Belle Jacmel. Photo by Dana Lacey.

Not only is La Belle Jacmel, located at 3537 St. Clair Avenue East at Kennedy, now the only Haitian restaurant in Toronto, but it also doubles as a night club, grocery store, mail order service, bakery and charity depot.

I visited La Belle Jacmel last year, when it went by the name St. Clair Bakery. The Haitian trio of Lukas Cineus Jr. and Sr., and their friend Marie Claire, had purchased a tiny Greek and Macedonian bakery in the same strip mall. They kept serving European baked goods and added Haitian take-out meals to the menu.

A few months ago, they took over the much larger former Coffee Time space in the same strip mall. They added a DJ booth and dance floor to the restaurant, which is decked out with over-the-top Renaissance-style paintings and chandeliers put in by one of the previous tenants. At night, young Haitian DJs spin reggae, dancehall, souk and compa music. “We want to redecorate soon to add a more Caribbean style,” says Junior.

Read the rest at Spice City Toronto.

Spice City Toronto explores Toronto’s great hole-in-the-wall restaurants and strip-mall joints serving food from all corners of the world.


  • Anonymous

    Link is wrong…

    • Anonymous

      Thanks for pointing that out. I’ve corrected it.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds and looks great, but St Clair and Kennedy? Might as well be on the moon.

  • TVN

    Very friendly and generous. I felt like I was at a family dinner with dishes our group just passed around until the food was gone. Authentic Haitian food! Love it!

  • Anonymous

    Cool, I guess they really progress well.
    I am hoping to be there some time and see how it looks like now.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Danica from convertisseur 12v 230v