Java U cafe opened its first location in Montreal in 1996, at Concordia University. Since then they have expanded to eighteen locations all over Quebec. More recently their franchise expanded to the Middle East, with another 10 locations. But despite this dynamic growth, they had yet to expand any further into Canada. The company decided to set its eyes somewhere closer to home for their next move—Toronto, Ontario.
While the Toronto cafe had been years in the making, this time around the Java U team decided to present it as a concept cafe, a partnership with milk brand Natrel, for what Brian Cytrynbaum, President of Java U, describes corporately as “a permanent addition but commercially viable option” of the chain. The Natrel Milk Bar is the second of the duo’s joint concept cafes to launch in Canada, this time popping up in the trendy West Queen West neighborhood (in a former Starbucks space), which Cytrynbaum believes fits the personality and aesthetic of the new concept cafe and clientele.
The space itself is unlike any other in Toronto, with a playful and wholly milk-inspired theme. Designed by Montreal branding and design firm, lg2 Boutique, the space offers tons of seating with booths shaped like giant milk cartons with individual in-booth lighting and plugs for computers.