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Introducing: The Arrow Café, Dundas West’s newest coffee and ice cream shop

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Before it was The Arrow Café, 1164 Dundas St. W. was an accountant’s office. But when childhood friends Robin Eley, Owais Rafiq and Eli Bach, who pooled their resources to open the new coffee and ice cream shop, pulled up the carpet, they uncovered a logo on the floor. They traced it back to The Arrow, a newspaper which was printed on the cafe’s premises 60 years ago. Enamoured with this piece of local history, Eley, Rafiq and Bach decided to adopt the insignia and name as their own.

Paying appropriate tribute to the idea of sipping coffee in a former newspaper printing press, Eley curated a small collection of vintage letterheads, printing blocks and trays, which are displayed throughout the cafe. Various woodcuts by Stefan Berg, an artist friend of the owners, hang on the exposed-brick walls, complementing the printing paraphernalia (a book of his work is available for purchase as well). Outside, four vintage wooden chairs line the sidewalk for those who prefer to people-watch as they eat their ice cream.

The Arrow Café is first and foremost an espresso shop, with lattes ($3.75 for a small, $4.75 for a large) and Americanos ($3) made using freshly roasted organic beans from Hockley Valley Coffee Roasters. But in addition to their caffeinated offerings, The Arrow also boasts a freezer full of ice cream (kiddie scoop $2.50, double $3.50, triple $5). The majority of it comes from Mapleton’s Organic, a dairy farm located just outside of Guelph, with flavours like lavender and chocolate. For the more adventurous, there’s buffalo milk ice cream from Monforte Dairy (although the supply of this one is less reliable). The Arrow’s also the first Toronto retailer to sell by-the-scoop coconut milk ice cream from Coconut Bliss, which is dairy-, soy- and gluten-free. Rounding out the treats are freshly baked cookies ($2.25) from Lindsey Bakes, delivered from the Roncesvalles bakery every morning in flavours like ginger molasses and the Kitchen Sink, a cookie studded with everything from potato chips and marshmallows to pretzels and coffee grounds.

The Arrow Café, 1164 Dundas St. W., 647-772-2030,

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  • lool


  • Welshgrrl

    Thank you for your reasoned and well-written comment * massive eyeroll*

  • JaQ

    Went there the other night, while the ice cream is certainly pricey, it was possibly the best ice cream I’ve had in my life( I had the Mapleton Organic, mint choco chip). The texture and the creaminess of the ice cream was superb, coffee was good, not great, not bad, just good. I’d go back for ice cream in a heartbeat.

  • Thomas

    This place is AMAZING and will be my new go to spot. Great job!

  • Kathleen

    Love it here. Unpretentious staff (I think it’s the owner who serves most of the time?) and delicious espresso. Will be by often!

  • Coo1LeeSilver

    I sampled the Buffalo Milk Ice-Cream from The Arrow. I paid $3.40 (taxes included) for a small. I decided to take it to go, the server scooped a tiny ball and put it in a cup. It was really small. When I got home I weighed the ice-cream. The reading was 42 grams (that’s 42 grams minus the cup.)

    The Ice-cream was really really creamy. It tasted like a frozen whipped cream desert. I wouldn’t categorized it as Ice-Cream. Not my cup of tea, especially for the price and the size portion.

    I rather go to the Gelato shop (yes,I consider it ice-cream) in Little Italy, or even ColdStone. Bigger portions for the same price, and it is a better product in my opinion.

  • Coo1LeeSilver

    Just to follow up on what I previously wrote. I purchased a small ice cream from ColdStone. It cost around $3.00 (taxes included, and weighed 186 grams!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I know Tim’s is a corporate outfit but, something has to be said about The Arrow and their 42 grams of Buffalo Ice-Cream for $3.40…..

  • Coo1LeeSilver

    Review #2

    I decided to give the Water Buffalo Milk Ice-Cream another spin. But I went to the source. As someone mentioned before, the source is Monforte Dairy. I visited their street stand at the corner of Dundas (and Bathurst). I paid $1.50 for the scoop!!! (vs. Arrows $3.40). Excellent Ice-Cream. Super creamy, and not overly sweet. It has a good balance. There is nothing like it being offered in Toronto at any store, grocery, or specialty shop. I highly recommend trying it out. Go to the Monforte Dairy street stand!