Neo Coffee Bar Announces Major Expansion Plans, Including New Downtown Toronto Locations and a Foray into Japanese Cocktails [Interview]


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Neo Coffee Bar, which opened its first location in Toronto in 2015, is planning a major expansion with a number of new downtown locations as well as eventually growing the brand to other places in the region.

Sari Samarah, President and CEO, Broker of Record for Value Insight Realty, which is handling Neo’s real estate needs, said the brand today has two stores and a third and fourth that’s been confirmed.

Sari Samarah

“We can announce the Exchange Tower in The Path, which will open this winter and our fourth location,” he said. “The store at 57 Spadina Avenue should be opening by the end of this month.”

“The Taylor is owned by Tricon, world-renowned developer who has provided the beautiful property for our newest Neo Store.”

Jeremy Hurwitz, Director of Retail, Tricon Residential, worked with Samarah on the transaction.

“The Taylor is one of Toronto’s most desirable residential rental addresses and an experience at the centre of it all,” shared Hurwitz. “We are thrilled for this bespoke Neo Coffee Bar to open in our mixed-use project and elevate the community. Partnering with best-in-class retailers such as the Kinka Family is crucial to providing the amenity rich product that enhance the lives of our residents.

“The Taylor’s apartment feature premium touches and high-quality craftsmanship brought together by celebrated interior designer Cecconi Simone. It’s a place you will be thrilled to call home.”

Existing Neo Coffee Bar stores are located on Frederick Street in the St. Lawrence Neighbourhood and one at Bay and College.

Future Neo Coffee Bar at 57 Spadina (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Samarah has a connection with the Kinka family which is a Japanese restaurant group with brands such as Kinton Ramen, Kinton Izakaya, Jabistro and Kintori Yakotori. The CEO, James Kim, has a personal business which is the Neo Coffee Bar. 

Samarah said the brand is working on several other new locations that could be for next year and others that could be for the following year.

“We are planning on opening another three to five new locations in 2024 and continuing to grow more rapidly into 2025 and beyond,” he added.

“Our current focus is expansion in Toronto and the GTA, however we will also expand to the suburbs soon as well. We’re working now on something in Mississauga and North York. It’s not all urban locations.

“We’re looking for high traffic locations with approximately 800 to 3,000 square feet. Highly dense populations with strong traffic and large daytime population locations.”

Future Neo Coffee Bar in Exchange Tower (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Future Neo Coffee Bar in Exchange Tower (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

According to the brand, Neo is “the perfect spot to sit and catch up on the day’s news while enjoying your caffeine fix. We are neighbours with schools and big offices alike, and we make everyone feel like they have a community space to share.”

“At NEO COFFEE BAR, we want to serve you with a serene coffee experience. Tastefully designed aesthetic where you find respite from the city is a pillar of focus for us. Enhanced by curvilinear concrete walls, warm wood accents, and modern furniture, our refreshingly minimalist, light-filled coffee bar is beautifully furnished with bench seating, pedestal tables, and spacious booths. The space provides a unique, out of the mold, look and feel, and provides a coffee oasis away from the hustle of downtown Toronto.”

In May 2022 the magazine Architectural Digest named Neo one of the 23 most beautifully designed modern coffee shops: “With the mission to make Neo Coffee Bar the neighborhood’s regular haunt, local architecture firm Dialogue 38, Inc. infused the Toronto outpost with that classically cool look: Curvilinear concrete walls, plenty of wood accents, and modern furniture all nestled into a minimalist space.”

Neo Coffee Bar at 161 Frederick St in St. Lawrence Market Neighbourhood (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

Samarah said one of the unique features of Neo Coffee Bar is that its style is Japanese. 

“The location at Spadina is going to be open late and it’s going to have cocktails and a larger food offering. The brand is known as a coffee shop but for the Spadina location it’s going to be open late. So you have a Japanese cocktail bar and coffee shop at the heart of King and Spadina. It’s going to be something exciting that people won’t expect from the concept. It’s also a 3,000 plus square foot space,” he said.

“I foresee us expanding more heavily over the next few years. The energy I feel for what’s about the happen is similar to that of Kinton Ramen in it’s early years of expansion. And the profitability on coffee can be stronger than the full service restaurant model because you don’t need the same type of build out infrastructure.”

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.


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