Meeting a friend for a few hours of talk, drink, and nosh, I step into the space that first housed Renzo’s Tailors, and later on, Renzo’s Cafe; which it remained for a number of years. It had been some time since I had ventured into this side of Commercial Drive and though many things have changed, much has stayed the same.
Now, Mums The Word, the interior and layout were definitely different from my memories of the white-walled, sterile coffee shop from a former life. Dark corners, a neon sign of a shushing mouth, a big vinyl couch and antique chairs inviting patrons to sit and watch the world go by,enough space for those who just want to read, or have a conversation with a friend in a corner.
We sat on the patio facing Grandview Park, a see-all and be-all for all the colourful and varied Commercial Drive residents. Truly a theatre of life on display, while my pal and I shot the poop and dialogued about our current lives.
I had been anticipating having the Croissano sandwich and a Main Street Brewing Secret Krush lager but sadly they were out of croissants and the lager keg was too foamy to be put into service, but undeterred we went for the signature Mums “After School” grilled cheese and a couple of fruit sours from Rewind. The grilled cheese definitely held strong to the comfort food it ought to be. Sourdough bread, pesto, lots of provolone cheese with crispy bits of cheese melted on top and around the sides, served with a healthy portion of chips. It was a perfect dose of comfort as we sat on that warm Spring evening, nursing our drinks, enjoying our gooey delicious sandwiches, and watching the never ending classic vibe of the park unfold.
I thankfully paid the cafe a second visit a couple of afternoons later, and was rewarded with both the beer I was after the first time around and the “croissano” sandwich. Starting with a deliciously smooth espresso over ice, I settled on the patio once again and watched residents and visitors of the Drive roll by. My sandwich arrived and it was a simple take on the classic Cubano, with prosciutto, monterey jack cheese,and pickles, served on a croissant that had been pressed in a panini grill. Delicious and filling, it was just what I craved and it paired well with a cold IPA.
Cafes come and go, but it seems that the Drive is able to house some places with staying power. Mums the Word, though just over a year old, seems to have already gained a decent reputation. On both visits they had a good flow of customers and a lot of lively conversation between the staff and guests. With its cozy interior, good drink menu, and simple but yummy nosh, I hope they are here to stay because they’re onto something that works!