New coffee shop purr-fect for Mount Pleasant

THE CAT'S MEOW: Erica Yun, manager of the Meow Cat Cafe, is bringing a popular business model from Seoul, to midtown Toronto.
THE CAT’S MEOW: Erica Yun, manager of the Meow Cat Cafe, is bringing a popular business model from South Korea to midtown Toronto, and it’s all thanks to her furry friends, like Coco the calico.

At the Meow Cat Café, curiosity is welcome, as are cat lovers.

The small coffee shop is part of a worldwide trend: sipping java while playing with felines.

There’s already a cat café in the College and Spadina area, TOT the Cat Café. But Helen Yun and her children Erica, 25, and Andrew, 27,  brought their own brand of caffeine and kitties to midtown.

Erica smiles warmly as she shares the family’s impetus to opening Meow Cat Café at 556 Mount Pleasant Rd. It has a lot to do with their four-legged friends.

Helen always wanted to open a cafe, but with six cats at home, the Yuns were worried about their friends. “How can we work with our cats, and spend time together?” Erica asked.

They scouted locations along Bayview Avenue and Mount Pleasant in May before settling in the former home of Brentview Electronics.

They had a soft opening in July.

“We’re trying to make a good coffee,” Yun admitted, adding she worked as barista back in Seoul, South Korea.

It’s a weekend, so plenty of kids are about with parents in tow. Korean pop music plays quietly in the background.

But there are some rules visitors must follow to enjoy the company of elder statesman Zeze and his entourage of Coco, Chanel, Elsa, Leo and Latte.

“This business is strange to Canadians, and they sometimes come and ask do they have to buy a coffee,” Erica Yun said. “This is in place of an entrance fee.”

Popular cat cafés in Taiwan, Japan and South Korea commonly charge an entrance fee for visitors. For the time being the Yun family would like folks to pick up a coffee (or tea), read the rules and sign the chart.

The shop also offers pet supplies and accessories directly from South Korea.

Though it’s early in the game, Yun said she hopes the java spot can scratch out a good reputation.

“If it’s possible, we want to open more cafes, a larger space,” she said.

At the end of the day, the Yun family, including six kitties, pack up and head back to their North Toronto home.