First Impressions: Sadie’s Juice Bar & Ice Creem Parlour

September 1, 2011

Hi there, folks!

So far, this year’s been a pretty good time to be a vegan in Toronto, with a plethora of vegan restos and eateries popping up all over the city. Sadie’s Juice Bar & Vegan Ice Creem Parlour is the newest addition to this ever-expanding group, and I was very excited when I first got wind of it a week or two ago. It is an offshoot of the famous Sadie’s Diner (which somehow, I still have yet to try!), and located on Baldwin Street, on the periphery of Kensington Market. Its main attraction is its assortment of smoothies, shakes, floats, and juices, and I was very eager to try out one of these when I strolled in yesterday afternoon. After some hemming and hawing over the menu, I was convinced by the soda jerk on duty to give one of their ice cream floats a try—specifically, their vanilla birch beer float ($5.65). Here’s what mine looked like:

The formula was simple—Boylan’s birch beer and Tofutti vanilla ice cream—and the taste was as good as promised, if not better. The birch beer really worked well with the vanilla ice cream, although it was admittedly much better after the ice cream had had some time to melt and more properly mix with the birch beer.

However, at the same time, I have to say that this float was a little too simple, especially given the fact that neither the birch beer nor the ice cream were made in-house. Honestly, anyone could make this at home: there is nothing more to it than putting some Tofutti ice cream into some Boylan’s birch beer. And given that you have to go all the way to Kensington to get to Sadie’s, you’re only steps away from some of the best veg*n-friendly grocery stores in the city, where you could buy these products for yourself and just make your float at home.

I was similarly underwhelmed by their smoothie options, which, since they all use frozen fruit, did not seem like they would be significantly better than anything I could make myself. Their fresh juices were a little more attractive to me, but that’s only because I don’t own a juicer, and thus can’t make fresh pressed juice at home. Furthermore, they don’t have any suggested juice or smoothie combinations on their menu, making their selection seem a tad unstructured. Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate the customizability; it’s just that I’d appreciate some direction, as well. A juice bar should give me at least some suggestions for what they think are some killer juice mixes.

As for their food selection, Sadie’s offers a good variety of Sweets From the Earth and New Moon Kitchen baked goods, as well as a nice little freezer filled with frozen treats. However, the problem again is that these are all products you can find in any veg*n-friendly grocery, especially those in Kensington; and further, it’s hard to see why anyone would spend their money on these when places like Miss Cora’s Kitchen and Urban Herbivore are right around the corner. In a certain sense, Sadie’s actually feels like it’d do better in a more isolated location, far from the vegan oasis that is Kensington Market. If Sadie’s really wants to compete where they’re currently at, they’re gonna need to step up their game.

Fortunately, such changes seem to be in the works. There are already plans of having homemade (though not made-on-site) ice cream in the store soon, and as time goes on (that is, as winter sets in) they may even add some other, savory items to their menu. And that’d be great. I really do think Sadie’s is starting off on a good foot, and with a little time and tweaking, it could become a real draw in the neighborhood. You should still stop by and support them in the meantime, though, because hey, what better excuse could there be to treat yourself to a vegan vanilla birch beer float?

Until we eat again,



One comment

  1. Thanks for scouting the joint. Haven’t had a float since I was a kid, very exciting.

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