Care of Jeanette Cabral

The east end of Toronto doesn’t always get the spotlight when it comes to vegan options, but if you venture east of the DVP, you’ll find gems like The Social Gardener Cafe ready to feed you.

Located on Gerrard east of Greenwood, The Social Gardener sits between two changing neighbourhoods – Riverdale to the west, and the Gerrard India Bazaar to the east. This is truly a community space that is not just concerned about their bottom line. The cafe itself is part of the Riverdale Hub, a social enterprise that also boasts an art gallery, a rooftop garden, meeting and work spaces, environmental initiatives and serves as a  training ground for marginalized women and youth. The Social Gardener also supports the Riverdale Immigrant Women’s Centre, which shares the building with the cafe. When you visit, you know you are supporting a business that is doing good work.

The first thing you’ll notice in the cafe is the space. Large wooden tables, an exposed brick wall, textiles, a cozy couch, books, and lantern style lighting fixtures give the cafe a “welcome home” feel. The surroundings are inviting and just the perfect spot to catch up on some work, read a book, have lunch with a friend or meet someone new from the neighbourhood.

Of course, there’s also some delicious food offerings. Along with a full menu of fair trade and organic coffee, espresso and tea, there’s also a variety of vegan baked goods (muffins and cookies). You can enjoy some avocado toast (a vegan classic!) in three varieties – plain, sesame or tandoori. The bowls are the stars of the menu, and come in different styles influenced by local ethnic cuisines – Greek, Indian and East Asian. If you want something warm on a cold day, try their Indian chili, soup of the day or some samosas. The best thing about eating at the Social Gardener is that everything was prepared in house with care, from largely organic, locally sourced ingredients – so local that some items were grown on the roof!

So why not grab the 506 Streetcar and head east and explore all that the Social Gardener has to offer!

Discount: 10% off

Veg Status: All vegan

Where: 1326 Gerrard Street East, in Little India