Thompson Diner sits below the swanky Thompson Hotel. It used to be open 24 hours, but now closes for a scant 2 - 3 hours: if you’re there eating at 3 a.m., they won’t kick you out til 4, but you’re free to come back again at 6 a.m.
The menu and the space bring together old school and contemporary touches. Poutine and mac and cheese get upscale upgrades.
The high ceilings are curved giving this space an almost airplane hangar feel, which suits the property’s roots.
It used to be a truck company, which still exists, just not in this unique art-deco-style building.Old booths with plush velour are done in a modern teal colour with more contemporary patterning to vamp up classic diner seating.
Items are added all the time by chef Kevin Sinclair, who brought out some more recently added chicken and waffles creations for us. Juicy fried chicken dusted with zingy paprika, garlic and onion is sandwiched between two bacon jalapeno waffles for this one with lettuce, tomato and chipotle aioli, served with fries ($14.45).
Poutine is a classic, but have you ever had Peking duck poutine ($13.95)? Hoisin gravy and melty, super savoury crispy duck skin is added to this classic topped with sesame seeds and green onion for an extra Asian touch.
The mac and cheese ($13.95) is legendary here, a gigantic mound of curly pasta swathed in melted Swiss, asiago, cheddar, and provolone, finished off with a generously potent hit of truffle oil and two focaccia crisps.
Another newer item on the roster is the chicken and waffles eggs benny ($13.95), also on bacon jalapeno waffles, the chicken dusted with the same paprika mixture. Of course it’s all topped with the usual poached eggs and molten hollandaise sauce, served with maple syrup and a jar of mixed fruit.
For weekend brunch, it’s five dollar Caesars and mimosas all the way, and you’re not just getting Bambino and Oasis OJ here: their mimosa is finished off with a generous splash of triple sec as well as an orange slice and maraschino cherry.
Standard cocktails are eight bucks any other time. If a Caesar’s more your speed, again theirs is standard with a tiny hint of luxury, adding turkey sausage to the typical garnish spear of pickle, olive and cocktail onion.
The diner’s long hours and connective passage to the Thompson Hotel ensure this place will enjoy a reliable stream of customers from businesspeople to downtowners who want a little less grease in their greasy spoon to visiting and local celebrities.