Harbord Bampot tea house returns under new owner
Employee Alex Moore took over after previous owners stepped down from vaccine certificate mandate
In October, Mark Newell and Hannah Newell announced they were leaving Bampot because they did not want to apply Ontario’s COVID-19 vaccine passport mandate for restaurants and bars.
“We are unhappy that we are no longer the people running this ship,” the owners of the tea room and board game spot said in a statement. declaration announcing their move to Costa Rica. “These measures only serve to divide the public and families into a two-tier society of have and have not in medicine and we don’t want to be part of it.”
So when the opportunity to buy the cozy and bohemian Harbord lounge presented itself, Alex Moore seized it.
A former cook in Bampot, Moore “fell in love with the place instantly.” It became a second home, where he says he learned the ins and outs of space, mastered all 120 tea recipes, and eventually ended up temporarily managing the place in late 2014.
Bampot Tea has also played an important role in his social life, he says. He would introduce all his friends here, throw D&D parties and even host the wedding ceremony of his friends (who met in this space, thanks to him).
“There are a lot of memories tied to this place, honestly,” he says.
As the new owner, he knows what he wants to do: make the space more accessible and community-oriented.
“It was always meant to be a living room for people who didn’t have a living room,” he says. “It is what it should be.”
Starting with his employees, Moore pays them $ 22.50 an hour before tips. “I’m not going to be silent about providing a living wage,” he says. “These are my ethics. “
Moore also remarks that “there are a lot of missed opportunities inside” that he hopes to correct over the next few months. The most important of these is accessibility to wheelchairs, he says. While there is a wheelchair ramp outside, there isn’t one inside, nor are there wheelchair accessible bathrooms. Moore says he will fix this as he renovates the space.
“If it’s a community hub, it should be for the community,” he says. “This includes anyone who needs accessibility services. ”
In addition to making space accessible, Moore also wants food to be accessible.
Currently, the Bampot menu offers healthy, vegetarian and vegan options, with a mushroom stew, pear and brie sammich, and beet and falafel salad for $ 10 (you can also combine two dishes for $ 10). ). To cater to the student crowd, Moore plans to launch a lunch program that will include a sandwich, soup or salad with a drink for under $ 10.
A handmade falafel salad, mushroom stew, and pear and brie sammich are just a few of the menu items currently available at Bampot.
Teas are still on the menu but now have a general flat rate of $ 6.75 per pot. Moore says milk tea has increased by 25 cents because he now uses organic milk.
Subtext’s third wave cafe will also be showcased at Bampot, something Moore says is not very popular in the neighborhood. Now somewhat of a coffee connoisseur himself, Moore has worked at many of the city’s cafes like Strange Love and Boxcar Social. During his quest to learn about coffee, he made connections with personalities in the local coffee scene, such as Venice Morales-Vallega, who won second place at the 2020 Canadian Latte Art Competition, and Siarhei Laurenau. by Third Wave Coffee.
Wines and draft beers will also be available at local breweries like Burdock and Blood Brothers.
Bampot is currently open Wednesday to Sunday between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Bampot will be more than a space to play many board games. Community events will also be back, with a winter vendor’s market on December 11-12 and 18-19. The popular and feminist Rose Colored Theater will host an event where they will tell stories about people affected by misogyny. Comedy group Sex T-Rex will also be hosting an improv night. Musical evenings will also be in full swing in the near future, he says.
But one of the biggest questions the public wants to know is what the situation is with the vaccine passport warrant in Bampot – especially given the position the previous owners have taken publicly.
For Moore, he supports proof of the COVID-19 vaccination. “It’s against my beliefs,” he says of the previous owner’s position.
“As a person on dialysis and whose loved ones have died from [COVID-19] pandemic because they are on dialysis… I firmly believe in getting vaccinated and making sure you do what you can for society, ”he says.