Posted on April 3, 2013 in Cabbagetown
Honing their skills by running a popular cafe in Newmarket, Mike Tasso and Olyana Zhuk, owners of Cafe Olya, know how to do coffee right. They recently relocated their cafe to Cabbagetown, opening at the end of January 2013 and are a fantastic addition to the neighbourhood.
Their slogan, “Strong Coffee. Delicate Treats” says it all. They source out some of the best roasters in North America for their coffees and bake their treats in house. Just walking in the door makes you feel all warm and fuzzy as the smell of freshly baked goods mixed with good coffee fills the space. If they could bottle that smell we’d all be better off.
A personal connection brought them to the neighbourhood. When the owners of 540 Parliament mentioned the space was available they seized the opportunity. No strangers to Cabbagetown, they have long admired the success story of one of Toronto’s first indie coffee haunts, Jet Fuel. With a strong following of die hard fans, Jet Fuel’s history is one of the most interesting independent coffee stories there is. Knowing how fiercely the neighbourhood supports local business, Mike and Olyana knew they’d feel right at home here. In fact, Cabbagetowners openness to independent business is their favourite part of the community.
They work in small batches to guarantee quality for both their coffees and their baked goods. Rotating through various top-notch roasters, one of their favourite offerings are the beans from Cafe Grumpy. If that name rings a bell it’s likely because Cafe Grumpy has become hugely popular of late as the cafe that Lena Dunham’s character works at in the hit HBO TV show Girls. Pair that fantastic coffee with a freshly baked croissant and you’ve got Mike’s favourite breakfast.
We typically ask business owners how the neighbourhood has changed since they opened. Mike told us that they have seen a “real positive change” in the last 2 months with the snow melting and the days getting longer. That’s a testament to just how friendly and good-natured they are! So, instead, how have they changed by opening the cafe? Mike worked in web design and Olyana in dentistry prior to taking the plunge into the coffee world. We are sure glad they did.
Finally, the answer to the question you’ve all been waiting for: Their favourite way to eat cabbage? In cabbage rolls with a bonus side of sauerkraut!