An inside look at Toronto’s new state-of-the-art Tim Hortons – The Buffalo News – Google Alerts

TORONTO, Ont. — Last week, a new cafe opened in downtown Toronto and around 100 people waited in line, hunched over their phones, to get in.

The design is sleek and hockey-inspired with subtly integrated hockey memorabilia. Lobster bisque ($5.49), vegan Beyond sausage breakfast sandwiches ($4.39) and Thai green curry chicken ($4.99) make it on the soup and sandwich menu, alongside a turkey avocado club ($8.49) and tomato Gouda soup ($4.99). Baristas pour draft lattes and nitro cold brew drinks straight from a Guinness-like tap.

This is Tim Hortons’ first innovation cafe called Tim Hortons 130, at 130 King St. inside the Exchange Tower.

“We’ll do everything here first,” said Matthew Banton, head of global product excellence at Tim Hortons. “Get the reception from the guest and then if something has wheels or legs, we’ll move it from here to other places.”

Guests choose between 12 tricked-out Dream doughnuts or a Timbit cone at the new Tim Hortons 130. (Francesca Bond/Buffalo News)

In the past couple of decades, drinking-centered meeting places with the word craft in the name – breweries, coffee shops, cocktail bars – have boomed in popularity. CityLab theorizes that the 1990s sitcom “Friends” popularized neighborhood cafes and kick-started the coffeehouse culture boom, as well as the rise of telecommuting.

Tim Hortons competes in a different kind of coffee shop demographic with this cafe, one where “craft” is a more apt description than necessary, which might describe the fast experience of a standard drive-thru Tim Hortons, with coffee that falls between a gas station and Starbucks on a price scale.

Leaving the realm of mostly grab-and-go, Tim Hortons 130 aims to keep diners inside, enticing them with outlets, glassware for fancier drinks, more comfortable seating and an ambiance that is more conducive for loitering.

[Read more: Tim Hortons coffee shops are everywhere? Not exactly]

The hockey-inspired design includes a rink-like curved ceiling….

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