First Look inside Boxcar Social | Riverside

Yesterday Boxcar Social opened doors to a specialty coffee, wine & spirits bar in the Riverside neighborhood of Toronto. Though still waiting on licensing for their booze program, baristas are eager to pull shots on their custom Kees Van Der Westen Spirit Espresso Machine, brew pots of tea, and craft flights of single origin coffee for folks hanging out in the east end of the city. 


Joe Papik, John Baker, Alex Castellani & Chris Ioannou are the brains and brawn behind Boxcar Social. Similarly to their first location in Summerhill, the owners designed and hand built most of the features in the new Riverside space.  If you'd like to read more about them, here's a piece I wrote for Life & Thyme's online magazine.

Boxcar's coffee program is extremely ambitious and ever changing. They are currently representing George Howell Coffee, Heart Roasters, Anchored Coffee, Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters and Transcend Coffee. The espresso pictured below was an incredibly well balanced Kenya Kangunu roasted by George Howell. 

Bake Shoppe will be supplying a lot of the sweet treats to Boxcar, which means the East End of Toronto will now come to know and obsess over "Pop Tart Fridays," artisanal Passion Flakies and the most ridiculously delicious Nutella, Brown Butter and Sea salt cookies on the planet (trust me on this). Bake Shoppe also made the decadent Raspberry Squares pictured above. 

Boxcar's slow bar is a barista's pour-over dream. Set away from the rush of the Fetco and the espresso machine, hand brewed coffee lovers will have a chance to pull up a seat and watch their barista meticulously execute recipes using some of the best coffee gear on the market, including: Kalita Wave Brewers, Acaia scales, Bonavita Kettles and a Mahlkonig EK-43 grinder. Once pour over service is turned down for the day and the crowd turns to wine and spirits, this nook will transform into a charcuterie and cheese board prep area. 

The showpiece owl mural titled "The Parliament" (which will undoubtedly be the subject of countless instagram posts), was painted by the talented John James, an artist who also had work on display in Boxcar's Summerhill location back in February.


Boxcar is likely to have a grand opening party in the next few weeks. Stay in the loop by following them on Instagram and Twitter.


Insiders tip: Plan to spend a leisurely 45 mins at Boxcar Riverside. Order an "Origin Flight" which is the same coffee prepared 3 different ways: espresso, macchiato & pour over. Pull up a seat to the slow bar while the barista brews your coffee. And, Pair your flight with one of Bake Shoppe's Brown Butter Nutella cookie's. 

Visit Boxcar Social | Riverside at: 4 Boulton Ave, Toronto, Ontario M4M 2J3