breakfast.jpg

The Real Cheap Eats


The old-fashioned diners and greasy spoons splattered stingily about Toronto tend to get their acclaim in rather hastily addressed footnotes within the city's restaurant discourse; tossed into a mix of more palatable eateries and inevitably characterized as "cheap eats," these are the places for burgers, shakes, and maybe a good breakfast.

Sadly, while many of these joints seem not to have cleaned their floors since the 1960's, they have, without a doubt, raised their prices. For example, Toronto Life's current Cheap Eats issue applaudes Vesta Lunch - one of the notorious classic diners in the city - for their $6.60 cheeseburger-n-fries combo.

Hah. Think that's a good deal? Let me liberate you. (Breakfast lovers, pay attention.)

Picnic Restaurant sits humbly at Keele and Bloor, making the 7Eleven next door look gourmet.

There's no denying that it doesn't look like much. It doesn't even have the quaint, cutesy factor like places such as Vesta and Mars Diner. And the signs boasting about the amazing deals inside don't do much to attract when you're convinced the place is a scuzz-hole.

But guess what? It's not a scuzz-hole! It's a cute little Mom-and-Pop cafe with fresh, homemade doughnuts and muffins, along with a somewhat lengthy and rather ambitious menu including fried chicken, and veal sandwiches. Okay, so the veal sounds a little shifty. But their breakfast is undeniably one of the best deals in the city.

breakfast2.jpg



For $3.99, at anytime of day (not just at the crack of dawn on weekdays like so many other places), you get a huge, made-to-order breakfast platter, including three eggs, three pieces of bacon, ham or sausage, two slices of toast (such as rye), a pile of homefries, a side salad, and a cup of surprisingly decent coffee (or tea or bottled water if you prefer). To boot, you get fast, friendly service, and the option of sitting outside on their makeshift patio.

I may also point out that their 6oz homemade hamburgers are only $3.00; $4.99 with fries and a pop.

Now that's cheap eats - and, may I add, darn good cookin.'


Join the conversation Load comments

Latest in Eat & Drink

Toronto's massive downtown food hall popular with office workers has closed

This secret new restaurant sells Toronto's most hard-to-get pizza right now

Toronto's newest BBQ joint is in the back entrance of one of the city's oldest bars

The top 35 healthy takeout restaurants in Toronto by neighbourhood

Toronto luxury gym surviving lockdown by transforming into a coffee shop and market

21 year old Toronto baker makes cakes for both you and your pet

Someone in Toronto is helping raise $1 million by baking sourdough late into the night

Downtown Toronto's newest bubble tea shop tops its drinks with mochi balls