From their early days in baking school, Lisa Brow and Saf Haq knew they were meant to be business partners.
“A few months into meeting and knowing each other, we knew that we wanted to do something together...and kept brainstorming a bunch of different business ideas,” Haq said.
Years later, those ideas have culminated in Tart and Soul, a cozy cafe located at 6389 Coburg Road serving up soups, sandwiches, coffee and baked goods, with multiple vegan and gluten-free options.
“The treats that are available are really over the top, like a cinnamon bun that’s basically as big as your face,” Haq said. “Things that are indulgent and hearty and filling.”
Brow and Haq, co-owners at Tart and Soul, are this week’s midweek mugging recipients. They said when it comes to creating new recipes for the cafe, anything goes.
“Basically, we talk about all the things we want to eat ourselves, and then we’re like, ‘Wouldn’t it be awesome to have a homemade fruit creme?’” Brow said. “So then we make them.”
While the cinnamon buns are one of the most sought-after items at the cafe, Tart and Soul has many one-of-a-kind creations that have won over the hearts of their customers.
“Our bialys are pretty popular, it’s like a hand-held breakfast with our bagel dough, bacon or veggies and cheddar on it,” Brow said.
“People also love sandwich cookies,” Haq added. “If you have a cookie people are like, ‘Yeah ok,’ but if you have a sandwich cookie people are like, ‘Oh my god, give me that cookie.’”
All items at the cafe are baked fresh and almost entirely from scratch, including the bread and bagels.
“We try our best to make everything in-house, down to our ranch dressing on the wraps,” Haq said.
Along with running their own cafe, Brow and Haq are busy with other Tart and Soul projects.
They provide baked goods to their wholesale clients, including Weird Harbour, Glitter Bean Cafe, and Apartment 3 in Sackville. They’re expanding into catering, and they take special orders for celebrations—like a wedding cake made out of cinnamon buns.
“We like to do fun things that are interesting,” Brow said.
When it comes to customers, Brow and Haq said they see all kinds, from university students, to parents doing the school run, to seniors.
“We want to be as welcoming as possible,” Haq said. “We consider ourselves a community cafe, so somewhere that everyone feels at home and everyone feels comfortable.
They both agree it’s that level of comfort that makes working at Tart and Soul so satisfying.
“We’ve befriended basically all of our regulars,” Haq said. “So they come in and it feels like your best-friend is coming in.”
“Every third customer gets a hug,” Brow said.