One thing Toronto doesn’t lack are decent retro diners. One of my favourites being The Senator, tucked neatly behind Yonge and Dundas Square. Another classic diner that’s also tucked away from nearby Jarvis and Richmond streets is The George Street Diner, which was taken over by Ash Farrelly of The Senator in 2007, and given a fresh coat of paint. But can that paint still remain fresh after 8 years, or has it begun to chip away?
A quick lesson I learned right away was to not go during weekend brunch time. The place is slammed and the staff is stressed. While waiting, people who came in behind us were seated at the bar right away, the staff assuming that we wanted a booth. Though their assumption was correct, it would have been nice to at least been offered a bar seat. Additionally, it was easy to see who was a regular there, and who wasn’t, as the staff were always cheerful and polite to the regular customers, while being a bit hurried with those of us who were new. Though I respect that a business treats their returning clients as gold star customers, it doesn’t mean that new patrons don’t deserve at least smile. However, as noted above, this was during a busier time of the day.
The brunch menu was pretty simple, which I appreciate. A simple menu without a laundry list of options means that this place knows their best meals and it doesn’t take me an hour to decide. We ordered the Irish breakfast and the Canadian breakfast. The difference being for 45 cents more, you get a fried tomato, your choice of breakfast meats, and soda bread with the Irish breakfast.
Though there isn’t anything spectacular to report about the food, that necessarily isn’t a bad thing. It’s exactly what you’d expect from brunch food. The portion sizes were not too huge, the home fried potatoes were soft while a bit crispy on the outside, and the soda bread was pretty decent. The only major downside being the food was a little bit cold by the time it got to us. This might be due to the lack of heat lamps over the area where the plates are left for the servers to pick up, which also happens to be right by the door where it was -10C outside.
Though I wouldn’t recommend going way out of your way to The George Street Diner, it’s a good spot to hit if you’re nearby and feeling famished for some comfort food.
T.O. Bites Rating:
– Good portion sizes and prices
– Classic diner feel
– Really busy during weekend brunch with stressed staff
– Food may be a bit cold with the server pickup area being right next to the front door