10 hybrid businesses that pull double duty in Toronto's east end

Photo:  Leslieville Pumps

Photo: Leslieville Pumps

Want a side of art with your coffee? How about pierogies and a haircut?

The hybrid shop is the new normal in brick-and-mortar retail as businesses look to diversify the shopping experience by bringing together wide-ranging products and services under one roof.

The trend for one-stop multi-use shops, which has ushered in combinations as marriage-perfect as bakery-cafes and as odd-but-awesome as a gas-and-barbecue joint, has shown its influence on clothing boutiques, record stores and purveyors of home decor.

Whether you’re looking to shop, then drink (or vice versa), breakfast and vinyl or a close shave with your coffee, here are 10 east end places that pack a one-two (or three) punch.


You don't have to go to cottage country to get a taste of the country in Toronto. The Pumps, as its affectionately called by locals, is part independent gas station, general store and barbecue smokehouse. Muskoka chairs sit out front and inside is outfitted in Canadiana and retro kitsch. The roadside grub is no joke. Brisket, smoked chicken and pulled pork sandwiches are a few standouts that come piled on fresh buns along with southern sides like fried pickles and corn fritters.

929 Queen St. E


Food and music are two worldly pleasures almost everyone can enjoy. So, when the pair join, it can become a magical experience. Saturday Dinette is loved for its modern spin on the classic diner, and its crackling soundtrack of funk, soul and jazz complements its retro touches and nouveau comfort dishes. But did you know you can also buy, sell and swap vinyl here, too? Stacks of records above the bar and in bins at the front window make for a perfect post-meal perusal. 

807 Gerrard St. E


At Flying Pony, you can get your coffee with a side of art. Or your art with a shot of espresso. Whatever your preference, the Little India space doubles as a cafe and modern art gallery with 1,600 square-feet of exhibition space. Flying Pony exhibits the work of a different artist each month in its space. The cafe sells in-house blends of locally roasted coffee, baked goods and sandwiches.

1481 Gerrard St.


Token is a boutique gift store with a Tiny Record Shop tucked at the back. An electic mix of pleasant surprises and cool one-offs combined with its on-point vinyl selection has amassed this Riverside double shop a loyal following among locals and visitors from all over Toronto. The space is, well, tiny, but that doesn't stop them from throwing in-store concerts and keeping things fresh with impressive titles.

804 Queen St. E


Hastings Barber Shop is Leslieville's answer to the classic neighbourhood barber, the kind of place you can pop in for a quick hello and get a proper cut at a fair price with good service. So when the 50-year-old greasy spoon next door was winding down, the barber shop folks gave it a second life as a Polish snack bar. Cut, coffee and kielbasa are all possible from one spot.

5 Hastings Ave.


At age 16, Chris Watton decided she’d combine a coffee shop with a comic book store. In 2015, she made the dream a reality with The Sidekick, a hybrid cafe that along with packing a punch in the espresso department, curates a selection of comics, plus board games and other collectibles. The homey environment is inviting, especially the cozy corner complete with fireplace and perfect for kicking back with coffee and a quiet read.

1374 Queen St. E


Part daytime cafe, part evening bar (or, if you'd like, the other way around), the corner patio space of Dundas and Carlaw that sits back on the southwest corner of its namesake intersection is open from  7 a.m. till late everyday. The atmosphere here evolves as the day goes on — from quiet morning solitude to an upbeat vibe and even patio beer festivals on weekends. Too busy to deal with a barista? Drop $2 and grab your coffee on the run.

1173 Dundas Street E.


Sip a latte and stroll the racks of fab fashion designs at this charming boutique-cafe hybrid in Leslieville. An espresso bar at the front offers bright, airy tables and free wifi. The independent, ready-to-wear styles run the gamut from jeans and dresses to shoes, jewellery and accessories, including  in-house designs by owner Margot Allin.

1382 Queen St. E


Airy cafe by day, cool booze hangout by night, Boxcar Social serves killer espresso, and highlights a thoughtful selection of some of the world’s top new-world wines, craft beers and fine whiskeys. All in a brick-and-beam space with soaring 18-foot ceilings. Cheers to that.

4 Boulton Ave.


The Distillery's newest cafe pairs coffee with flowers for a pick-me-up like no other. Wander in for a Phil and Sebastian-roasted espresso and leave with a fresh floral arrangement from Delight Floral Design who share the space.

17 Gristmill Ln.


Blurring the lines between art studio, gallery, espresso and wine bar, and heck, even event space, Paint Cabin really does have something for just about anyone. The idea behind Paint Cabin is to come in and make art on your own or with friends in a relaxed, social environment with all of the ingredients you need to creatively express yourself.

723 Gerrard St. E