Playful Grounds has only been open a few days, but the kid-friendly College Street café is already garnering plenty of attention from the neighbourhood. Indeed, when we dropped by, one mother looked around incredulously before asking, “When did this open?” The shop is the creation of Davina Cheung-Brown and Tera Goldblatt, who met at a local drop-in centre. “We wanted to create a place that has everything moms need,” Goldblatt told us. “Drop-in centres are life savers, but we wanted an adult place that can accommodate kids—rather than the other way around.” Tired of getting the hipster brush-off in regular coffee shops, the duo decided to open a café that welcomes kids but can still appeal to adults.
Cheung-Brown and Goldblatt snagged a spot that already had child-friendly bones: a step-free entrance and toilets on the main floor. While the whitewashed bricks walls and black leather seating are much like those of any other new café, the front of the room is reserved for “stroller parking,” and tables feature corner protectors to prevent little heads from getting knocked. Each washroom comes equipped with kid-friendly seats and stools to aid hand washing; the family-sized bathroom is fitted with a chalkboard for babes to scribble upon while mommies or daddies tend to dirty diapers. Most importantly, the play zone is filled with enough stuff to keep the little ones amused for about as long as it takes to drink a cup of coffee.
With regard to beverages, adults can opt for coffee-based drinks from Alternative Grounds or Herbal Infusion tea. Weary parents can also sip on a glass of wine ($5) or have their coffee with a kick ($6.25) as the kids amuse themselves in the play area. “My mom’s always said, ‘One in the afternoon’s worth three at night,’ ” Goldblatt notes. Kiddie options include hot chocolate ($1.75) and steamers ($1.75)—available in sippy cups—in addition to Kiju juice ($2). Baked goods from Wanda’s Pie in the Sky and Sweets From the Earth are currently on the roster. As of next week, healthy lunch options will be introduced, and kid-friendly brunch is in the works.
Playful Grounds, 605 College St., 416-645-0484, playfulgrounds.com