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Gale's Snack Bar - Cheapest Place In Toronto?

Last week, while on business in the Eastern & Carlaw area, I stumbled upon Gale’s Snack Bar, an anachronism of a greasy spoon from another era in more ways than one. The small, rundown lunch counter with three cramped booths looks like something out of small town Ontario and serves what must be the cheapest food in Toronto.

The menu posted on the wall lists prices right out of the ‘70s. Club Sandwich – $1.95, Corned Beef on a Kaiser – $1.60, Fish & Chips - $2.75, Pie and Ice Cream - $1.15.

Now the prices and the look of the place would be quaint and amusing in themselves, but the food is actually quite good for what it is. I had the most expensive thing on the menu, a Hot Turkey Sandwich for the princely sum of $3.00 and it was great, with what seemed to be real turkey off an actual bird. Lunch for two, with tip came to $8.00.

Have any of you found other bargain joints like this around town?

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  1. I am well impressed that you had the cojones to step foot in that place. I have never been brave enough to venture inside, past its dilapidated and unwelcoming (frankly, frightening) exterior. Now I've got to try it! Those prices are ridiculous! Thank you for leading the way...

    1. OMG! People actually eat there? I drive by every day, and I always shake my head in wonder. A while back they fixed up the exterior for a movie shoot they were doing in the 'hood, but as the cameras and stars left, so did the updated digs. Those prices do sound crazy, and while I commend you for your daring, I cannot say that I'm as brave as you.

      1. Hmm... I figured that place was soley a hangout for the neighbourhood crackheads. I live about 3 streets over from Carlaw and Eastern, drive by there several times daily and never, ever see anyone entering/leaving Gale's. I have no problems checking our local dives/greasy spoons but that place scares even me.

        8 Replies
        1. re: Vise

          I've eaten in Gale's a few times, and surprisingly there are no crackheads. Thats not to say the clientel isn't colourful! The food is good and the prices can't be beat! I don't think the place has been decorated since it originally opened, but it's not dirty, just worn out.It's part of what I love about Leslieville, that you have Gale's co-existing with Tomi Kro and Gino Ranni's!!!!!

          1. re: Leslieville

            So Gale’s looks a bit scary from the outside, but what the hell. Adventure is the spice of life. I agree with Leslieville’s take on it. Gale’s is a very unpretentious place that offers an amazing value proposition when compared to the establishments usually discussed on this board. Enjoy it while you can.

                1. re: Moorepark

                  I would mug you in church for those signs! Vintage 60's "one-shot" lettering. Beautiful. Thanks for the pix.

                  1. re: Moorepark

                    Moorepark

                    Your photo of the counter and menu board does the place justice and the staff of one does a remarkable job of service,cooking, and baking the pies.
                    Notice the ancient aluminum coffee strainers for the coffee making in the left lower portion of the photo.
                    One of Toronto's well kept secret bargains in dining.

                2. re: Vise

                  There's nothing scary about Gale's. It serves tons of film types from the studios around the area. Check it out, you won't get hurt.

                  1. re: Vise

                    What would make you think this? Just because it's a working-class joint doesn't mean everyone is on crack you know. It's a family joint, doesn't serve liquor/beer, and usually you can't even find a seat at lunch time on a weekday because of all the kids from the school up the street. People in the 'hood have been going there for years. The old man and his daughter that work the counter are nice people, I often bump into him shopping at the No Frills at Gerrard. There's always a newspaper in the joint and coffee refills are free. The food is nothing amazing, but well well worth the price.

                  2. I love Gale's. The owners are so sweet. We went there 2 weeks ago. There were 4 of us. We had a club (with real turkey and surprisingly good tomatoes for this time of year), sides of fries and we all had a chocolate shake - total before tip - $16.40.

                    It's the best deal in town!

                    1. Been going to Gale's for years. My Mechanic is right across the street.

                      Nothing spectacular but defintely the cheapest place in Toronto.

                      As mentioned the club house has real turkey and the soups arent half bad.

                      Definitely NOT dirty, but certainly a bit .......threadbare.