Eva's Original Chimneys
By jimb

One bite turned into a eureka moment

Kristin and Justin Butler became partners in life well before they decided to become partners in business. In 2014, they put everything on hold to embark on a year-long trip around the world together. The pair ended up in Hungary, where they visited family and reconnected with their roots. While in Budapest, they discovered a street food stand that sold traditional chimney cakes– if one single bite of sweet pastry can change lives, this was it. The Butlers looked at each other and realized that this experience was a defining moment not only for their career paths, but also for their relationship. “As we were leaving the city to come back to Canada, we thought why don’t we bring these things back and try to make a business out of it,” recalls Justin.

The couple returned to Toronto, determined and eager to produce traditional, all-natural pastries while showcasing their Hungarian roots, giving people a delicious glimpse into their heritage. Over a span of two years, thanks to perseverance and raw passion, the Butlers went from having no knowledge of the food truck industry (and succeeding at it) to transforming a run-down pizza joint into a permanent street location. By February 2017, Eva’s Original Chimneys opened its doors in the Annex, which was once a predominately Hungarian neighbourhood. In no time, it became a popular destination for both locals and visitors from around the world.

The shop is named after my grandmother. She adopted the recipe. We sell traditional Hungarian pastries, chimney cones and cakes, sweet and savoury – made from scratch and baked to order, served hot and fresh off the grill. In a word, we serve happiness. - Justin Butler, co owner
Photo by Jim Bamboulis
Photo by Jim Bamboulis
Photo by Jim Bamboulis

Delivering all natural happiness with every cone

At Eva’s, there are more than 20 cakes and cones to choose from, including a small selection of vegan options, with plans to bring  vegan soft serve to the menu in the next year and more vegan toppings. Among the most popular on the menu is The O.G., a cinnamon sugar cone with a chocolate truffle bottom, topped with a strawberry. The Dream Cone is also a cinnamon sugar cone with Nutella spread, layered with butter toffee bits, topped with cocoa drizzle and salted caramel brownies. Cheesecake lovers rejoice: the White Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake features a graham cracker cone, layered with raspberry cheesecake, and topped with raspberry coulis and white chocolate drizzle. “We’ve never compromised on quality or ingredients,” says Justin. Kristin adds, “Everything is made in-house, including the toppings, flavours, brownies and cakes. Even our sauces are made with real fruit.”

The added bonus at Eva’s is the fact that every single thing that goes into the trash is recyclable, compostable and biodegradable, right down to the clear wraps that are used to package the chimney cakes. “We operate like a conscious corporation not only in terms of our ingredients and what our customers will experience, but also products, packaging and materials,” says Kristin.

Mango Cone photo courtesy of Eva's Original Chimneys
Dream Cone photo courtesy of Eva's Original Chimneys
Apple Pie Cone photo courtesy of Eva's Original Chimneys

Old Budapest meets new Toronto

The pastries will surely transport you to Budapest, as will the decor. Rustic with a comfortable feel, Evafeatures small, nuanced elements from the old country, including street signs and traditional plates mounted on the exposed brick wall, books neatly stacked on a classic cabinet and a giant mural with a view of grand Budapest itself.  “We went to Hungary three weeks before we opened to get relics from our families to make the shop that much more authentic,” says Kristin. “In here, it feels like Europe meets grandma meets Toronto.”

Why do people love Eva’s so much? It starts from the moment you gaze through the storefront window and watch as the dough is stretched, rolled out by hand and baked over the grill. “Here you get the full experience of seeing quality, artisanal food being made from scratch, cooked in front of you and served completely fresh,” says Justin. “We also offer a unique experience that is culturally rich,” adds Kristin. “It sounds really cheesy when Justin says it but he’s right – we do serve a small piece of happiness.”

Photo by Jim Bamboulis
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