For a long time, there was only one choice for coffee on the Boulevard in Dumaguete. The small seaside city with the vibe of a town sees an abundance of tourists, backpackers, Filipino vacationers, and locals coming and going on Rizal Boulevard, the main thoroughfare and plaza right along the ocean. In fact, that area is the epicenter of the whole community, and Dumaguete is growing fast as a preferred destination for foreigners to visit, live, and retire, in large part because of the Boulevard’s charm.
Of course, they all need one thing: coffee. There are plenty of restaurants and another bakery/café further down the road – Sans Rival – but for an actual coffee house in the thick of things, Bo’s Coffee stood alone and unchallenged for years.
That is until Tom N Toms came on the scene. In fact, it’s strategically placed…right smack dab next door to Bo’s Coffee! Let the Coffee Wars begin!
But, honestly, both coffee shops have thrived, as there are more than enough patrons to go around.
The South Korean coffee franchise started to go international in 2009, opening their 100th total store and first in Australia. They recently came to the Philippines in small-city Dumaguete , but it looks like its individually owned and operated since I see the Filipina owner in there all the time. (She’s very hard working, sweet, and nice, like all of the staff there!)
So, what is Tom N Toms like?
The coffee shop is definitely spacious, giving some much-needed air and flow to the usually cramped coffee shops and tiny restaurants in Dumaguete. Tom N Toms frontage isn’t super attractive, as it’s just a squared off commercial building with an outdoor sitting area that sits deep under the recesses of the building. That outdoor patio is in full shade and is really large, so, eventually, I think it would be a good place to expand the seating as you can watch the street life from there.
Set back from the outdoor patio is floor to ceiling windows along the entire glass front of the coffee shop, which really brings in natural light and makes it a fun scenery, as you can see who is sitting in there when you’re walking by.
Inside, you’ll find a mix of comfortable lounge-like leather chairs, smaller, round two-top tables, a few bigger four-tops, and a work bar. The décor is nice, with a light wood theme throughout.
Luckily, they have a big window in the back that brings in natural light from a small open-air courtyard.
While I do like the setup in Tom and Toms, I had some concerns. The coffee isn’t cheap, but doesn’t taste too rich or bold – sort of watery. They do have a selection of food and pastries, but the menu is still rounding out. Their Wi-Fi (the main draw for me) is often spotty and doesn’t connect well. The last thing is that there is just one bathroom for all of the patrons – not separate women and men’s rooms.
Despite these small inconveniences , it’s still a great place to sit and relax and work with a coffee, and a perfect complement to what you get at Bo’s Coffee next door for a change. Since they only opened Tom N Toms a few months ago and the owner obviously takes pride in her shop and is very hands-on, I’m sure they’ll work out some of these kinks and keep improving their already-lovely coffee shop.