London has been called one of the most conservative towns in Ontario, a designation that it has, no doubt, earned. However, things are changing in the Forest City, starting from the Local Movement that is taking hold in the city's East Village. Formerly known as EOA, or East of Adelaide, this area had a reputation as the seedy side of town. This has changed radically in the past 5 years with a massive change-over from absentee landlords to single-family homeowners. The once crumbling historical buildings in the area have smiling new facades and gardens to match. On the street (Dundas), change has been a bit slower. Nonetheless, the opening of the East Village Coffeehouse is perhaps a harbinger of great things to come. Located at 785 Dundas Street, just steps west of historic Aeolian Hall on the south side, this Deco-inspired gallery/cafe is unique in London though reminiscent of other larger cities. The cozy interior hints at Queen St. West in Toronto while the neighborhood outreach echoes the coffeehouse culture of San Francisco. The fare is international and eclectic, ranging from spanikopita and mango lassies to Organic Mexican hot cocoa. All is served with painstaking attention to environmental concerns and fair trade practices, which is not to say that the East Village Coffeehouse rings with political dogma. The approach is casual and matter-of-fact, something that may be discussed over a game of chess or dominoes. With no sign on the front of the building and just a small one in the window, this cafe may well be London's best kept secret.
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