The Gingerman is a classic old school diner and one of Toronto’s best greasy spoons. Owned by pair of brothers Angelo and George Dafos, the latter brought his famous “best western” sandwiches with him from the last restaurant he owned, Jim’s.
Similarly, Jim’s was a staple on the east side of Toronto that had been operating for around fifty years. While condos may soon stand where Jim’s once was, Gingerman is still pumping out cheap comfort food in a typically humble Scarborough strip mall.
The space is long and narrow with a definite calm, retro feel.
Cheesy posters hang on the wall, there’s a classic faux wood bar, and coffee mugs are all imprinted with the red image of a little gingerbread man.
That “best western” ($5.95) is two slices of toasted brown bread stuffed with a salty, rib-sticking mix of eggs, ham and onions, but as one customer put it to me, “It’s all love inside that sandwich.” Just try to contain this messy bad boy as you shove it in your mouth.
The Gingerman’s sampler ($11.95) is a must for anyone looking for a typical lumberjack-style breakfast.
3 eggs any style (mine are perfectly velvety and white around the edges) come with ham, bacon and sausage along with surprisingly awesome French toast or pancakes.
Though they do serve all-day breakfast here, if you’re in more of a lunch mood you might go for one of their basic burgers ($5.75 - $7.75). Though they are fairly standard, served with average fries and a little coleslaw and pickle, the burger itself is freshly homemade and juicy.
Beef on a kaiser ($7.95) also serves its purpose as a diner classic, shaved deli roast beef on a puffy roll that stands up to the mountain of meat and the requisite thick gravy.
Fare here is simple but satisfying, and I won’t soon forget the way the Dafos brothers insisted I try that hand cut peameal sandwich and the mammoth Western. Gingerman is clearly a beloved little blast from the past in the community.