So last week I donned my research assistant cap and went with the darling Lunchtruck on a tour of 50's style diners throughout Vancouver. His goal: check out decor, layout, circulation paths and all that interesting stuff designers consider when putting together a plan for a restaurant. Mine was easier - I meant to sit back, enjoy the decor, and focus on the food. And oh,what food there was to be had!
First stop: Sodas at 4497 Dunbar Street in Kerrisdale. This place has been around for 20 years, and according to our waitress was once a garage. The atmosphere is casual and fun, brightly coloured with comfy booths to sink into. They have a nice enclosed patio and counter seating at heights for adults and for little ones, which I thought was a nice touch..
If you go by on a hot day, spoil yourself and try one of their milkshakes, or the fruit smoothie. I got a chance to try both (my shake of choice was mocha) and both were deee-light-ful.
An added bonus is their bathroom mural, which took me by surprise with it's originality, so I had to share it....
Next up on the research trail was Moderne Burger at 2507 West Broadway. I'd been there before with the darling, but this was when the only thing on our mind was how hungry we were and how good their burgers smelled. We had intended to go back, but then there was a fire next door and they were closed for what felt like forever...
The burgers there are fabulous and huge - do yourself a favour and come hungry. I normally don't have shakes but I tried their Creamsicle shake and had my heart stolen. Best. Damn. Shake. Ever.
I really wasn't sure what I was going to walk into at Diner (1269 Hamilton Street, Yaletown), but I knew exactly what I'd had once I walked out, slightly tipsy Lunchtruck in hand. Heather Clark is a culinary genius and deserves all the fawning comments she's received. Seriously, that may have been one of the best meals I've ever had, and unlike most restaurants, her desserts were not a boring after-thought.
My suggestion? If you do one thing, have her chocolate souffle - it takes a while, it's not always available, but if you're a chocolate fan you may end up pulling a Meg Ryan in the restaurant a la "When Harry Met Sally". Not a chocolate fan? No problem - I tried the pavlova with fresh strawberries, lemon gelato and mint leaves. Yum.
Sunshine Diner at 2649 West Broadway is just plain fun. From the first time I laid eyes on it, I knew no matter what the service, I was going to be a happy camper walking out, and I was right. The decor is a happy blend of the typical black and white tile flooring, red and blue walls and accents everywhere, and neon,neon, neon.
The memorabilia is amazing; mostly Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, James Dean and the Beatles, other famous icons such as Betty Boop, James Cagney, Audrey Hepburn are highlighted. A great touch are the framed photographs of diners from across Canada and the US. As for the food? You won't be disappointed. This place is known for it's eggs Benedict, so naturally I've been working my way through the different variations. Shakes don't go well with breakfast, so I opted to enjoy a cup of tea instead, and even that rocked. Between their food and their music (70's disco, would you believe??) the place has a happy energy that's hard to resist.
So there you have it. Bon Appetit!