Sonic, Blooming
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Sonic, Blooming

Photo by Jesse Ship/Torontoist.

Trudging up Spadina in the heart of Chinatown, you might have noticed Sonic and thought that either Uncle Jacob had some new competition, or that a piece of Kensington Market wound up on the wrong side of the block. Neither is the case: Sonic (60 Cecil Street), which officially launches on Saturday January 2, is actually the newest café project of Anthony D’Arcy, Magpie founder.
As a neighbourhood resident, D’Arcy had admired the property, a decrepit jam space, for years. “Once I saw it was up for lease,” he says, “I just knew I had to have it. The problem was I wasn’t sure what to do with it.” Being a Bike Pirates enthusiast, the idea of a community bike centre serving coffee on the side made good sense, but not great profits. The idea of coffee as the main event with some biking accoutrements on the side, however, seemed far more logical. While coffee was not D’Arcy’s forte, as it turned out Terroni’s head barista lived just upstairs, and provided expert advice, connecting D’Arcy with Classic Gourmet, a roastery which provides fair trade beans made with emissions-reduced technology.
A renovation preservationist, D’Arcy has done his best to maintain the original spirit of the property, keeping the original paint jobs for a lived-in feeling, while adding the modern twist of free Wi Fi. Come springtime, the upstairs outdoor patio overlooking Grossman’s Tavern will surely be a hit, as will the community bike space.
Aside from great interiors and south-facing windows, Sonic offers a variety of coffee drinks as well as home baked muffins ($1.50), grilled cheese ($5.00), and loose-leaf teas. Signature drinks include the Vanilla Cozy ($3.25) and the Sonic Boom ($2.50, think Red Eye). If you live on the east side of Spadina and College, or are looking for a homey alternative to the Wanda’s, Pennylicks’, and Aspetta’s of the area, Sonic could be the place for you.