Owner Emmanuel Debass came up with the idea for the café post-election, so he had to act quickly in order to have the sign up before the inauguration in January. He managed to just make it, attracting hoards of both TV and print media, but he had to conduct all the interviews on the sidewalk (the actual café didn’t even have tables or chairs then).
Debass opened his doors in mid-February with tables boldly emblazoned with Obama’s likeness, but the place is still very much a work in progress. On the to-do list are changes to the interior (installing a new counter, modifying the ceiling) and exterior (adding a front patio), as well as finalizing and posting the Obama-themed menu on the currently blank light board.
Debass (above, with waitress Angie) plans to offer exclusively foods that Obama likes to eat, which he learned by searching on the web and watching the news. As of right now, imported African (Kenyan and Ethiopian) coffee is being served, as are some pastries, baked off premises, as well as soup and sandwiches.
Even though the café is in its infancy, Debass has big hopes and is already thinking about franchising across Ontario. He says the brand has long-term viability because “there is no time limitation at all on Obama’s inspiration to the world…even in Canada. His inspiration will continue forever.” Last month, mid-feud with the Obama Cybernet Cafe, Debass told Torontoist that a grand opening was scheduled for March 27, but all the renovations and preparations didn’t come together in time. Once everything is in place, he plans on throwing a weekend-long celebration that will feature full breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, packaged Obama-blend signature coffee for sale, and Obama merchandise—all while the president’s favourite music plays in the background. Stay tuned.
All photos by Ayngelina Brogan.