About this time of year, the Beach starts to wake up from its winter slumber, which makes it a great time for Victoria Vaccher to launch her new vegan bakery café, Tori’s Bakeshop. Vaccher became a vegan seven years ago, but it wasn’t until last year that the concept of an eat-in vegan café and bakery occurred to her (previously, she’d had aspirations of a career on Broadway). When she took over the space, there were paint marks from miniature hands all over the primary-coloured walls (it was previously The Art Garage). Almost eight months later, the space looks like something designed by Martha Stewart’s Anthropologie-loving niece. We dropped by to check it out.
The grey and off-white room is brought to life with Queen Anne’s lace wallpaper, celadon green accents, Mason jar chandeliers and lights made from industrial whisks (Vaccher’s dad, an electrician, made them for her). Reclaimed stained glass windows separate the bakery from the café, encouraging patrons to peek behind the scenes (there’s even a triplet of bar stools by the bakery windows). They also allow those curious about vegan baking to uncover some of the mysteries of how to, say, pull off a convincing cinnamon bun ($4.50) without dairy or eggs. The gluten-free “cheddar” and chive biscuits ($4) have quickly amassed a following—indeed, one Beach resident stopped by twice in a single day to buy out the entire stock. “I’m not even sure he knew they were vegan!” Vaccher tells us. Another favourite: her cookies ’n’ cream cupcake ($3), whose swirl of decadent icing is accented with half of an Oreo, followed up with a surprise Oreo at the base of the cupcake.
Right now, Tori’s Bakeshop is offering a selection of healthy baked goods—scones, muffins, biscuits, banana bread, cupcakes, doughnuts, homemade vegan “Oh Henry!” chocolate bars (all $2–$4)—as well as espresso-based beverages made from freshly roasted beans provided by the Merchants of Green Coffee (Vaccher’s custom is a mix of Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans). As summer approaches, Vaccher plans to expand her offerings to include soups, sandwiches, cashew-based ice creams and fruit sorbets.
Tori’s Bakeshop, 2188 Queen St. E., 647-350-6500, torisbakeshop.ca