This post is another in our Cafe Case Study series. We interview cafe owners to learn about the vision behind their space.
Pilot Coffee Roasters is now in the process of re-opening their locations in Toronto, Canada. We are excited to highlight some of these openings.
Check out how the amazing Pilot Coffee Roasters family got started here.
Use these case studies as inspiration for your own cafe dreams or simply to get a behind the scenes look at some beautiful coffee spaces around the world.
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Pilot Coffee Roasters.117 Ossington Ave. Toronto, Canada. Opened in 2018.
All photos courtesy of Pilot Coffee Roasters.
What made you want to open a cafe?
We have been longtime residents of The Ossington Strip which is one of Toronto’s most eclectic neighborhoods and entertainment destinations. In 2011, we opened our second cafe location here under the name Crafted. But by 2018, both the neighborhood and roastery had evolved, and there was an opportunity to reintroduce ourselves under the Pilot Coffee Roasters banner. After serving this community for so long in a tiny cafe, our goal was to create an expanded space for community engagement to offer a more comprehensive specialty coffee experience.
How would you describe the brand of your cafe?
Much like our roastery, our cafe’s identity has always been about quality, innovation, and creating an educational customer service experience. Our Ossington cafe design is intentionally very open-concept and minimalist so guests feel welcome to connect with baristas as they prepare orders. The cafe brand is intertwined with a sense of community, and by encouraging a deeper connection between customer and barista, we hope guests leave with a deeper appreciation for the world of coffee. And an incredible cup of coffee too, of course!
What equipment are you using to make coffee?
Our Modbar set-up includes: two Modbar Espresso AV taps, a Modbar Espresso EP, 3 Modbar Pourovers, and 2 Modbar Steams.
Describe your bar or customer flow. break this down for us. how did the equipment influence the flow? or vice versa?
This space is very engaging and showcases everything our baristas do. To accomplish that we put design at the forefront of every cafe consideration. From the open-concept layout to the long and curvy pour-over bar (or ‘slow bar’), to the laptop-free areas and naturally-diffused lighting, everything has been carefully constructed to put the customer experience and their needs first.
Perhaps the best feature of this cafe is the Modbar pour-over system and espresso taps that leave our countertops clear and streamlined. Whether you’re staying a while or on the go, this creates a very fluid customer experience with no guessing required.
Describe the location/ demographics of the area where you opened. why did you choose this area?
The Ossington Strip is a very artistic and culturally diverse neighborhood in Toronto. Over the years it’s become increasingly gentrified but still remains one of the city’s most popular mainstays for shopping, bars, restaurants, and general city buzz. We’re surrounded by incredible locally-owned businesses that reflect the best of what Toronto has to offer, and over the years this community has helped shape the identity of Pilot Coffee. It’s a restless part of Toronto with lots of character and so many reasons to visit.
What’s one thing that makes your cafe special?
It’s genuinely a one-stop-shop for all things specialty coffee, and specialty goods in general. We feature some of our favorite local vendors like Greenhouse Juice, Soul Chocolate, and Pluck Tea; we bake everything fresh daily. Prior to the pandemic, we offered complimentary tastings, brew demos, and hosted industry events like latte art competitions. It’s the perfect location to operate as a specialty coffee hub, and we’re proud to be a voice for this industry in such a dynamic neighborhood.