a peek inside the fishbowl

05 Nov, 2009

Exploring Barrhaven part 4: Caffeine and sanctuary

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa|Recipes and Food

This is my last post in the Barrhaven series. :)

Do you or do you not agree that when the kids are small it is especially important that we make the effort to hold on to every shred of sanity we have?  One of the best ways of doing this is (a) getting out of the house and (b) socializing with other adults. If we can combine A and B, hey, even better. AND if coffee and a great meal is included, well, let’s just say I’m over the moon.

I recently learned about a great new place where this CAN ACTUALLY HAPPEN, even though I had to drive past many many fields of corn to get there. ;)

My latest piece for SavvyMom is about Two Monkeys Coffee & Tea House. I was especially excited to be writing this one for several reasons. (1) I really like to support local businesses. And they support local businesses too. (2) I really love the concept of a *nice* coffee shop that is family friendly – no dirty looks or accidentally running people down with the Chariot. (!) (3) The owners really care about the ambiance, the food, and customer satisfaction. They entered into this venture not as professional restaurant designers, they just saw a problem and approached it from a unique perspective … as parents!

The cooking and baking is truly prepared with care. And if coffee isn’t your thing you MUST try the loose tea. There is a really good selection and it’s served in a gizmo called a Brewt. (You can see what it looks like here.) The Brewt arrives at your table with hot water and loose tea already added. You get a timer, and when it goes off you just pop the Brewt on top of your mug and the tea comes out the bottom.

A final note: If the vegetable chowder happens to be on the menu, GRAB IT. It was SO GOOD. Just thinking about it is making me very hungry. Too bad they don’t deliver!

8 Responses to "Exploring Barrhaven part 4: Caffeine and sanctuary"

1 | BeachMama

November 5th, 2009 at 10:05 am


I wish I had known you were there Andrea. Rob is a friend of mine and we love Two Monkeys. They did such a great job putting it together, it was over a years worth of work and training but well worth it.

2 | Carla

November 5th, 2009 at 11:02 am


Last year during my mat leave I repeatedly bemoaned with a friend, the obvious lack of and great market niche opportunity for a family friendly cafe in the Westboro strip. Bridgehead is too tiny (the new one is bigger, granted), and strollers are a pain to bring in and in any other coffee shop you get ‘the stares’ for daring to bring your children to a place where the you, as parent and fearless leaders of your own gaggle’o’kids, can sit down and have a breather, warm up and gather courage for the rest of the day. We figured that if you had a coffee shop as per usual in the front and playroom in the back it would be brilliant, and if it weren’t for our obvious lack of time to start such a project, and, at least my, serious lack of entreprenurial skills then well… And here is Two Monkeys! How I wish they were in the neighbourhood, it’s just too far for us even for a destination coffee really. But, how about it business people of Westboro, any takers for a family friendly cafe in Westboro??

3 | Chantal

November 5th, 2009 at 2:07 pm


i am looking forward to visiting that place when I am on mat leave. I will have to call Beach Mama or Dani (on a wednesay) to hook up for a chat.

4 | Jay

November 5th, 2009 at 3:11 pm


I LOVE Two Monkeys! It’s such a great place to go with the kids (well – kid without the nut allergy). We’ve even had planning meetings there without the kids. If you’re in the front you’d have no clue there are a bunch of kids happily playing in the back.

Their Cream of Mushroom soup is also a must try and their sandwiches are amazing! Rob and Jill are amazing and so involved in our community. We’re lucky to have people like them open a place like this. Let’s hope the trend continues!

5 | Jennifer

November 5th, 2009 at 3:59 pm


Hey Carla! I think I may be your ‘bemoaning’ friend!!! He! He! Or if you weren’t refering to me, you ust have been moaning alot ;-)!!! Anyways, I think it’s a fabulous combination. I heard through the grapevine that we may be getting a similar place in the ‘hood. That was a while ago though, so not sure if it’s still happening. I would go!

PS Odd to be ‘talking’ to you this way!!?? And if this is not my friend Carla, ignore this response!

6 | Carla

November 5th, 2009 at 5:23 pm


ha! It is so me and it is so you Jennifer! I did moan a lot the lack of a place to just chill, especially in the winter as I trudged the streets through the winter. Oh, I do hope we get a similar place! please, please, please. We could do storytelling, crafts, or just agree to meet there with other mom-friends. Westboro business people rise to the challenge! please? :)

7 | DaniGirl

November 6th, 2009 at 4:49 pm


Huh. I had no idea, and I’ve driven past the place dozens of times! Chantal — ANYTIME! ;)

8 | Rob

November 8th, 2009 at 2:28 pm


Hi Everyone,
My name is Rob Kay and I’m one of the owners of Two Monkeys (the two monkeys are my two kids..). I wanted to say thanks for the wonderful things that have been said about us! I would love to have those of you that haven’t been by to pop in and say hello to myself or my business partner Jill. We’ve had many visits from mom’s from Westboro – we’re thrilled that you make the journey out to see us! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend and has a great week.

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human offspring: Emma (23) and Sarah (21). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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