Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains of 2007––the people, places, and things that we’ve either fallen head over heels in love with or developed uncontrollable rage towards over the past twelve months. Get your dose, starting Boxing Day and running into the new year, three times a day––sunrise, noon, and sunset.
What’s so great about Jet Fuel Coffee Shop (519 Parliament Street)? It may be a favourite for Cabbagetown residents, local celebrities, the Toronto bike courier crowd, and all those hoping to abandon the corporate coffee chains forever, but––its mean cup of joe aside––what’s with the attitude?
If you’re a Jet Fuel n00b, you may find it intimidating to walk in the door and be greeted not by a menu, but a tired barista asking what you want to order. You see, there is no menu. At all. “Not having a visible menu is pretty much the height of eatery snobbery,” says one Torontoist staffer. “It’s like you have to be in the know just to order a damn coffee.” Nor are any prices listed: if you have to ask the barista how much your Americano is, you’ve pretty much just admitted your n00bitude.
Lattes are Jet Fuel’s speciality, and avoid ordering a cappuccino or the barista will inform you, “It’s basically all foam, you know,” with a roll of the eye. Hungry? Sorry, there’s nothing edible in the entire place. Rumour has it that if you show up early enough on the weekend, you might be able to find a pastry or two before they sell out. Oh, and bring earplugs if you want to get some reading done, as the hi-fi behind the counter is played loud enough to wake the entire Necropolis Cemetery.
It’s easy to see why some people keep going back to Jet Fuel: the staff treat their regulars like gold. Unfortunately, it will take you at least ten minutes to get a beverage if your barista is chatting with an old reg—because you can’t talk and pull an espresso at the same time, right? We’re sure your service will improve dramatically after a few years of daily patronage, if you can stick it out.
With a Starbucks setting up shop at Parliament and Aberdeen Avenue in Spring 2008, will café competition change Jet Fuel’s elitist attitude? It’s doubtful that the new ‘bucks will get much business from Jet Fuel regulars. But at least the rest of us will finally have a place to get a coffee without feeling like we’re intruding.
Photo by chelseagirls.