Bus Terminal Diner
Bus Terminal Diner is one of the Danforth’s oldest restaurants, holding this spot right behind Coxwell station since 1948. Toronto almost lost the iconic diner, but longtime patron Tim Dutaud along with his restaurateur partner Kevin Wallace salvaged it.
Though the menu is entirely new with tightened up details like organic meat, not much has changed about the place, other than a slightly bolder sign outside. Dutaud lived in this neighbourhood for seven years, and wanted to keep Bus Terminal a place where kids could enjoy basic family fare and parents could relax with a beer.
It doesn’t seem as though the interior’s been updated at all, but that’s kind of comforting: it’s nice to have a spic and span diner, but there’s something almost a little suspicious about one where nothing is falling apart.
Dutaud’s been a bartender for years, so we start with his wacky Caesar ($5.95). He figured tomato is an Italian flavour, so why not pair it with splashes of red wine and balsamic? The wine cuts through and sort of rounds off the flavour of the Caesar, spiced with jalapeno Tabasco and garnished with a celery stick with cheez wiz.
The croque madame ($9.95) is topped with gooey cheese and a perfectly runny egg, served with rich, sweet, sloppy homemade beans made with a Quebecois recipe using a touch of maple syrup.
The breakfast club ($10.95) is a double decker of two eggs, cheddar, tomato and your choice of ham, sausage, or the obvious option, bacon from Perth.
A cobb salad ($11.95) is layered nice and evenly with hard-boiled egg, thick avocado slices, bacon, healthy chunks of pungent blue cheese, and lovely shredded organic chicken, with plenty of creamy ranch.
Their 6 ounce beef burger ($8.95) is topped with all the usual suspects and served on a soft but crinkly bun. It fits nicely in your hands, and the top of the patty is steamed to create that perfect burger effect.
Wallace really wanted to bring back the blue plate special here, even hunting online for the authentic plates to serve it on. We try the house-made meatloaf ($11.95) topped with a wonderfully ketchup-y and malty sweet sauce, and served with dense and buttery mashed potatoes and gravy.
Worn out electric blue vinyl booths provide seating, and huge windows stretching around the restaurant’s corner location give a broad view of the streetscape. The place is outfitted in '70s shades of burgundy, mustard and orange, and a kitschy gigantic dragon head sees you off as you walk out the door.