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Restaurants

Sadie's Diner

Posted by Chris Orbz / Reviewed on March 24, 2007 / review policy

Sadie's Diner TorontoBreakfast and brunch restaurants have a special place in North American culture. They provide an experience, not to mention a meal, that is of a decidedly different flavour than that of a dinner or even lunch restaurant. Unfortunately for a vegan like myself, purveyors of purchased brunch typically rank around the same level as steakhouses when it comes to veggie food.

When a group of my friends have been up late (or all night) partying it up, there always inevitably comes a time when enough stomachs are rumbling to trigger the "Breakfast? Breakfast!" reaction and pretty soon everyone's got their shoes and coats on.

There's little about food that really makes me envious anymore, being a good 7 years into being vegan, but when everyone else is chowing down on coffee and just-like-mom's pick-me-ups, I'm always left to wash down my bland plate of fries with cups of jealousy. Actually, this has lead me to my current habit of eating fries piled with every vegan condiment that is made available, relish in particular.
But I digress, glowing in the awareness that today is as new a day as ever, with new opportunities laying themselves before me. What particular good fortune has today brought me? Vegan freaking breakfast!!@#! Courtesy of one Sadie's Diner.
(Yes, that is their MySpace.)

Sadie's Diner

Alright, alright, I recognize that vegan breakfast may not actually seem quite as exciting as I just made it out to be... but try to understand where I'm coming from here. I'm the sort of person who loves diners and greasy spoons and they're one of the only items on my very short list of things I miss since going vegan.

Recently opened a square block from Bathurst and Queen, Sadie's Diner is (obviously) a diner, but it's most definitely not a greasy spoon. Sadie's captures the essence of the '50s diner to an almost idyllic Archie Comics degree and then puts a new-school twist on every part of it. The most important part, of course, is the menu... so let's talk about that first.

The menu is up on their MySpace profile but that menu is a little old and doesn't include everything they offer. The all-day breakfast includes vegetarian and vegan versions of the traditional breakfast plates - either eggs served any style or tofu scrambled with peppers and onions, veggie bacon or veggie sausage, homefries and a choice of types of toast. Buckwheat waffles and pancakes are also available (not vegan), and huevos rancheros in both vegetarian and vegan forms. I went with the vegan traditional breakfast, half sausage and half bacon.

I suspect the bacon and sausage are Yves, the common grocery store brand, but I don't really fault Sadie's for that... simulating types of meat is difficult and Sadie's leaves that to the experts while focussing on the home-cooked touches of the food and environment. I thought the scrambled tofu was great, closer to scrambled eggs than anything I can ever remember having, and for some reason the whole wheat toast was incredibly delicious. I don't know what was up with that, I'm not someone who goes around calling toast delicious, but this toast actually was.

Breakfast isn't the only option available, though, and the lunch menu offers a variety of soups, salads, sandwiches, burgers, tortillas and lasagna (not vegan). I figured a good judge of character would be a burger, seeing as it's often central to both diner and vegetarian restaurants. They were out of the bean/coriander salad I'd been thinking about trying, but I got a garden salad alongside the burger.

Sadie's Diner burger

The burger came topped high enough already that it was a little difficult to close, but I piled on the condiments too. I particularly liked their homemade salsa, double points for both the taste and being real enough to make it. The burger was delicious, messy and satisfying (in that order) and the salad was tasty and fresh.

I'd been trying to make up my mind about the drink menu until halfway through my meal. They have a juice bar set up, offering drinks ranging from straight juices and soy milk smoothies to herbal and supplement enhanced drinks. They also serve the usual suspects of a drink menu, though the coffee is fair-trade and organic and they offer a broader range of teas and iced teas.

I didn't come to a breakfast place to feel healthy about my mangoes, though, and had to order the chocolate, peanut butter and banana smoothie. It was extremely delicious, and again I'm pretty sure that's the first time since going vegan that I would've had something like that.

The food was only half the experience, though, as I've been trying to make clear. The sunny front windows, comfy couch seating and general aesthetic are all perfect. Happy music from a variety of decades plays over a pair of speakers and paintings adorn the walls.

Actually, until I walked into the back to admire the glass cases containing the Pez dispenser collection, I hadn't yet noticed the art. When I did, I really liked the way it fused '50s and even late '40s style classic culture imagery with contemporary artistic styles, suiting the diner really well.

It turns out, Sadie's also functions as a rotating art gallery. The art that's currently up on the walls is that of Karina Lapierre-Douglas, and it'll be on display until May 13th.

Special care is taken at Sadie's to be particularly green about things. The take-out containers are recycled and biodegradable, most of the food is organic, and any leftovers are saved from the trash and later used to feed some pigs on a no-kill farm belonging to a friend of the owner.

There were dessert offerings too, but I was stuffed, having had my happy little Jughead moment with all the food. I've never heard of the vegan diner concept being applied before, and I'll admit it's possible it's because I haven't looked hard enough, but the more I think about it the more I doubt that any other place like this exists in Toronto. I'm extremely happy that I heard about Sadie's Diner, because I'm not sure that I would've found it myself and I absolutely 100% definitely will be going back.

Sadie's Diner - 504 Adelaide Street West (at Portland) - (416) 777-2343

Discussion

34 Comments

Chris / March 24, 2007 at 02:44 pm
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YES. I noticed this place being reno'd in the summer and was waiting fro it to be ready; then I... well, forgot about it. Thanks for reminding me!
dave / March 24, 2007 at 03:59 pm
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Boy, it sure SUCKS to be you. My stomach turned over twice reading about your vegan woes. Simply, man was not meant to eat vegan. I also find it ironic that you are a vegan who finds yourself looking for breakfast after "partying it up" all night. I mean, what's worse, plying your body with drugs and alcohol all night or easting a couple of eggs and a strip or three of bacon? Don't answer, that's rhetorical.

Great article, by the way. The place sounds good.

Dave
Chris / March 24, 2007 at 06:38 pm
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Dave, you might be surprised to find out how late this city stays awake... not all of us have to wake up at 7 am, personal schedules are much more flexible these days. Also, the response I'm not being granted room to give is 'ask a pig.'
Gloria / March 24, 2007 at 07:57 pm
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I think Dave's point was not the schedule, but the drugs and alcohol, which do retain their effectiveness regardless of the time of day (or night).
dave / March 24, 2007 at 09:43 pm
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I think Dave barely had a point and was only pulling Chris's chain about being vegan.

As a matter of fact, I KNOW that was Dave's point.

On an entirely unrelated mater, I hear they found out what all the pet food was tainted with -- TOFU (and maybe some relish)! Poor poor pets.

Article's still great, as is this site.

Dave ;)
g / March 24, 2007 at 11:58 pm
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might i suggest Get Real! cafe for a fantastic vegan brunch. it's on ossington, about midway between dundas and queen, east side of the street.
Simon / March 26, 2007 at 06:34 am
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I'm far from veg(etari)an, but visiting Sadie's and eating a veggie burger or three is a firm priority next time I get back to Toronto. Heard nothing but good things and I'm not at all surprised, since the owner is one of those people whose involvement in pretty much any endeavour guarantees I'll trust it to be worthwhile.
Geoff Bernard / March 26, 2007 at 03:11 pm
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I agree Veggie substitutes for meat may be a little bland but it's all about saving the animals, something I know the owner of Sadie's is adamant about. I haven't yet had the opportunity to eat there but it is high on my priority list.

Geoff B.
kimber / August 17, 2009 at 11:32 am
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this place is amazing.i went with my dad a while back,and since we're
both vegan,we opted for the tofu scramble.soo good!

XUP / August 23, 2009 at 09:04 pm
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I had breakfast here on Thursday. It was the best thing about my trip to Toronto. I can't stop thinking about the veggie bacon. I need some. Where do you get this stuff?
Tim / November 4, 2009 at 10:31 am
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Mmm, sadies is the best! I took my parents there a while ago, and these people are the furthest from vegan you can get, but they loved it!
Mike replying to a comment from XUP / November 4, 2009 at 11:09 am
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I think last time they went they use that prepackaged "bacon" from Yves. I *think*.

I'm a big fan of their pancakes and "huevos rancheros".
Colleen / November 4, 2009 at 11:30 am
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Their home fries and coffee are the best. Sadie's rules!
jameson / November 26, 2009 at 08:45 pm
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hmmm, ate there about six months ago and it was soo great, just came back and really disappointed! fruit flies everywhere! old lettuce on my veggie burger, crusty old bun, yikes what happened...oh sadies, maybe it was just a bad day...
beenjamin / December 2, 2009 at 04:54 am
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i went there about a week ago, and that particular friday morning saw the restaurant deserted. i asked for the tofu scramble, and not wanting bread, the waitress suggested fruit. the coffee (and this is the most important factor in diner breakfast, besides how potatoes are prepared) was excellent, and the music was an oddly familiar mix. i have to say, i was really impressed.
Hanna / December 10, 2009 at 01:43 am
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I've unfourtanetly only been there once, but want to go again. Their pancakes are delicious and it's such an interesting set up inside. Very home-y!
Danielle / January 30, 2010 at 09:11 am
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I am lucky enough to live three houses down from it and am not vegan but it's the only place I eat at for breakfast. I found the waitress very friendly, hence the major tip.
Andrew / May 18, 2010 at 02:49 pm
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I love going to brunch here, though over the last year or so it has become much more busy, word of mouth I guess.
My only complaint is the coffee. They need to make a stronger brew, what they serve tastes weak/watered down.
sam / July 31, 2010 at 04:00 pm
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This place was a huge disappointment. If you care for vegan food, this is not the place. Try United bakers. The "homefries" were particularly dry and had absolutely no taste.
Nesta / August 31, 2010 at 04:32 pm
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Best french fries in the city!
Eric / January 29, 2011 at 12:18 pm
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So lame
Daave / April 2, 2011 at 04:54 pm
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What a dump! The food is crap here. C'mon Toronto!
matthew / October 29, 2011 at 11:14 am
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iiiiiiiiii think i like it
Viagra Costo / December 6, 2011 at 01:59 pm
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Reading by way of your nice content, will help me to do so sometimes.
Madison / May 11, 2012 at 03:51 pm
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Why is chaat so preferred amongst Indians? The tanginess involved is the critical tempting aspect in the numerous chaat objects you will constantly come across roadside stalls crowded with people, all getting chaat! A lot of a sweets store also sell chaat prepared the hygienic way so drawing more consumers in contrast to roadside stalls. Very few of the preferred chaat products involve dahi bhalla, paneer masala chilla, aloo tikki, kachori with sabji, paneer tikka, raj kachori, bhalla papri, lachha tokri, pani puri, bhel puri, matar kulcha, pao bhaji, and papri chaat. Most of these things are prepared from flour dough with a blend of many other ingredients these kinds of as potato items, crispy fried bread, gram or chickpeas, tangy-salty spices, chilly and tamarind sauce. Every chaat merchandise is served in a plate garnished with yogurt, fresh new green coriander leaves, and more except the pani puri. Aloo tikki is a bit various wherein boiled potatoes are smashed and designed into tiny doughs and then fried in butter. When it is accommodated in a plate, it is garnished with yogurt, onion, spices, and coriander. So, have a look at your preferred sweets store and have chaat prepared the hygienic way!
Jim / May 19, 2012 at 06:00 pm
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So good.
Jim replying to a comment from Daave / May 19, 2012 at 06:00 pm
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So untrue. The food is excellent, nutritious, and reallly well priced. It was AWESOME.
Jim replying to a comment from Daave / May 19, 2012 at 06:01 pm
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^ In reply to the individual who said that the food sucked at Sadie's. It really doesn't.
Jesse / February 11, 2013 at 08:01 am
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Lies. This place is garbage.
Leslieville Local / March 25, 2013 at 08:06 pm
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FILTHY!!!!!!! I've enjoyed the food here many times in the past. On the last visit I had to wait. While standing near the entrance I had a glimpse over the counter. Disgusting! The grill, counter, walls and floor are extremely dirty and covered in thick black grease. One of the staff dropped an apple on the floor while preparing juice for a customer. He picked it up off the floor (which as I mentioned is dirty) and rinsed it under water (no soap). I had seen enough and walked out.
lbyllucmufew / April 3, 2013 at 09:33 am
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lsihayyrwkai
zzdnqtvujtcm / April 5, 2013 at 09:25 am
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brooksideTO / May 29, 2013 at 10:13 am
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Always disappointed in quality of take out. They just dont seem to give a flying f* about customer service.
soph / April 11, 2014 at 11:07 pm
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they gave me the wrong food and replaced it with partly cooked food. never came to check up on us and never gave me the drink i ordered..but charged me for it...that's my last time going for awhile

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