From the folks that brought you Proud Mary (the highest concentration of beards east of Smith Street), is your latest stimulant-serving venue that doesn’t take bookings on a weekend.
Stagger Lee’s might at first seem like your run of the mill, over-priced, hipster-filled, brunch-serving northside cafe, but don’t let the exposed brick work and finger tattoos fool you – they’re doing something different. They’re serving their coffee single origin. No blends. They explain on their website that they’re grinding it with a EK 43 Grinder, which I’m sure means something to someone, somewhere, but those words in that sentence just sound like caffeinated wank to me. Regardless, their coffee is good. In fact, it’s fucking good. I went back for more a week later, and now my life is plagued with some seriously meta questions, like whether my other coffee providers also grind their single origin beans through an EK 43 Grinder, and whether I should get a finger tattoo.
Some further context: I visited Stagger Lees on my birthday, with my parents and partner. My mum was excited by my existence, and my dad was confused by the coffee (my dad’s a big coffee drinker but likes to keep things simple). And it was my birthday, so everything was amazing because I had spent 25 sweet years on this earth and I had 3 people sitting next to me telling me I’m fabulous.
Stagger Lee’s describe their food as simple and sexy. I would also describe it as sexy, and fucking delicious, but certainly not simple. Their asparagus comes with cashew cheese, and their buttermilk fried chicken comes with jalapeños. In my humble world of avocado smash and poached eggs, this isn’t simple. Simplicity is more like baked potatoes with gravy and the word of Jesus. Fitzroy just isn’t simple and neither is their brunch menu.
Their menu is however, original. They’re inventive and a little bit adventurous, which I’ve come to appreciate in our north side world of french toast and flat whites. Buttermilk fried chicken with jalapeños is absolutely not my bag, but they have an ok-ish selection of vego options and their Fitz-Royale was pretty spectacular. You don’t see much asparagus on the menus around here, and it was a very welcome addition to my birthday morning.
Door to Beard Index: Monstrously high. And they’re spectacular. If you end up with part of one in your spectacular meal, savour it. It is precious.
Coffee: Despite the wank, it was great. A difficult feat in a place that generally serves very kick-ass coffee. They’re also licensed, so getting wasted here one day is a distinct possibility.
Noms: Not as simple as their website makes it out to be, but really, really decent. They do paleo, and I don’t even know what paleo is.
How poor will it make me? Double dollar signs baby. It was my birthday so my parents paid. Ain’t no Chin Chin but I’d argue you get what you pay for.
Is it instagram worthy? It really is. Instagram away, but if you capture the beards as much as you capture the food, their Stagger Lees hashtag could be a bit more interesting.
Final thoughts: I will return. They receive a measly 73% UrbanSpoon rating, which just tells me they haven’t engaged in any north side Spoon wars as of yet.