Second Cup to return to Church St

Former site of Zelda's to become another coffee shop

Almost exactly two years after Zelda’s dramatically vacated its location on Church St in the middle of the night, the vacant side of the now-divided building is slated to reopen as a new Second Cup coffee shop.

The new tenants are renovating the location at a clip in order to meet their projected Sept 19 opening date.

Second Cup previously had a location up the block at the corner of Church and Wellesley streets, from 1992 to 2005. The stoop in front of that location, known among Toronto queers as “The Steps,” was a famous hangout until the building owner removed it to discourage loitering. The Steps were also frequently featured on the sketch comedy The Kids in the Hall.

The new Second Cup owners say they hope the location’s generous patio space will turn it into exactly the kind of community hub the original Second Cup was.

“We’re going to support the community as much as we can,” says Sam Daywood, who owns the shop with his wife, Joelle. “We’re going to put tables and umbrellas and chairs, of course. Hopefully we can catch some of the nice weather. If that works, I can get a few heaters, too.”

In addition to the patio, the new store will have two levels with lots of comfortable seating, Daywood says. The garage doors at the front will open out to the patio on warm days, making for a large, continuous seating area.

The store will be open from 7am to 11pm, with longer hours on special occasions.

In the years since Zelda’s vamoosed, rumours have circulated that the new tenant for the huge space would be a major fast-food chain like McDonald’s or Tim Hortons.

Earlier this year, the old Zelda’s location was partitioned and the south half became Acme Burger, a fully licensed restaurant that has chosen not to sell alcohol. The north half remained vacant.

Unfortunately, while the north half also maintains Zelda’s old liquor licence, Second Cup franchise rules prohibit the sale of alcohol.

Rob Salerno is a playwright and journalist whose writing has appeared in such publications as Vice, Advocate, NOW and OutTraveler.

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