Bus Terminal Diner
The Bus Terminal Diner has been an East Toronto landmark since 1948. The chrome details and colourful walls have hosted a slew of major motion pictures, but in between its moments of fame it remains a simple local favourite for all day breakfast, old fashioned burgers and wacky retro decor.
Walking in with friends, we don't even get to a table before they're pointing out things on the walls. It's amazing how many different pieces of retro kitsch from the '50s through to the '90s this spot has incorporated into the decor. The best piece - by a long shot - has got to be the original diner menu above the counter. 50 cent milkshake, anyone?
Everyone at the table is totally mesmerized by the madness, so kudos to the Bus Terminal for their attention to detail.
Sitting down, I pick up the menu and realize that perhaps the "Attention to Detail" award isn't one I should be handing out so soon. The number of typos here is downright hilarious. We're amused enough (and maybe geek enough) to count them, too. 27 ridiculous errors, not counting bonus points for spelling Souvlaki three different ways in the same list (Souvalaki, Souvlaki, Sauvlaki!).
Yet that wasn't the first thing to catch my eye about the menu.
The front of the menu bears a mildly pixelated (read: printed off the web) but dearly familiar photo of the restaurant's facade. Yes, sure enough, one of my own images posted to my blog when I photographed the neighbourhood a few years ago. The only credit here is "Graphic Land" who actually put their name and number on this comedy of errors.
Let's move on though, 'cause, hey, we came here for some food...
As you might expect from a place like this, service is friendly and the food is fast. We order a few different breakfasts, a burger and a side of fries to share.
The "Biggie" Breakfast ($5.75) is a feast for the eyes (and the arteries) with three eggs, three sausages (or bacon/ham), toast, "bus-taters", a side of two hotcakes (not pictured) and chopped fruit. Everything is perfectly done and piping hot except for the side of hotcakes (a.k.a. pancakes) which are spongy, lukewarm and quickly rejected by everyone at the table.
Oddly enough, our order of Banana Hotcakes ($6.25) with fresh fruit (pictured at the very top) is completely different. These hotcakes are thick, fluffy and obviously made fresh in comparison. Covered in sliced banana and a light syrup, this is definitely the dish to order if you love pancakes - not the side order!
Our side of fries ($3.50) is huge. Perhaps not a wise choice with all this breakfast going on, but they're pretty tasty none-the-less.
Also from the breakfast menu, we get an Eggs Benedict ($8.25). The waitress stopped to ask if we wanted them soft or cooked through. We requested soft and that's exactly what was served. They were quite the thing of beauty, frankly.
What surprised me though, was that the eggs arrived piled on two big slices of peameal bacon. The menu didn't list any details so I'd assumed either they were eggs-only or over the traditional sliced ham. Not a fan of the peameal myself, I let the others devour it all and apparently it was delicious.
Finally, we have the Old Fashioned Burger ($6.95) with added bacon, cheddar and mushrooms (99 cents each) along with a side Caesar. I can't say it was a pretty sight to see a burger this stacked being eaten, but boy did it look good. The owner of this mouthful just grunted with pleasure, which I'll take as a very good thing.