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Old Style (60’s) Diners In TO?

Anyone know of any old style (60’s) diners in Toronto?

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  1. Penrose Fish n' Chips is still in it's original 1960's glory.

    1 Reply
    1. re: dautcalm

      I would have to say that Donlands Restaurant at Donlands and O'Connor would qualify. They have the old style hot roast beef, mashed and peas...that type of fare. Nightly specials too. The food is good but we really only go for breakfasts.

    2. Mars Diner at College and Bathurst is the real deal. Mind you, it's definitely showing its age and the food is hit and miss at best. Go for the experience, not for the meal. :)

      1. Gale's Snack Bar on Eastern at Carlaw is certainly a blast from the past. Here's a thread about it.

        1. Vesta Lunch at Dupont east of Bathurst. Used to hang out there in the late 60'sand early 70's. Hasn't changed a bit since.

          1 Reply
          1. re: ishmael

            I love the Vesta, but to me, it's technically a lunch counter, and not a diner. A diner has to have booths, IMHO.

          2. I forget the precise name (Avenue Diner?) on Davenport just west of Avenue Road.

            1. Wimpy's is a faux 60s diner on Kingston Road, north side a block east of Warden Ave. at Manderley. Lots of nostalgia on the walls and huge portions of reasonably edible diner grub. It's a chain, so there are other Wimpy's in North York at 199 Sheppard E., 10800 Bayview Ave. in Richmond Hill, and others scattered throughout the province, and indeed, North America.


              4 Replies
              1. re: Bob Catt

                I would argue that Wimpy's is (as you state) fake nostalgia and therefore doesn't count. They also served me (at the Danforth outlet) the worst chocolate "milkshake" I have ever experienced.

                My choice for diner ambiance would be the Lakeview at Dundas near Ossington, though it is much older than the sixties. Note, though, that their food sucked as of my last visit a couple of years ago and, by all accounts, still does.

                Mind you, where I come from these places would have been called "luncheonettes". A diner was a standalone building that looked like, and sometimes actually was, a railroad car. (Except for the Flagship on Route 22 in Union NJ, which resembled a large boat docked along the (inland) highway.)

                1. re: embee

                  Embee, I agree. The reason I mentioned Wimpy's is that Indiana's original question was "Anyone know of any old STYLE (60’s) diners in Toronto?", not "...any old 60’s diners in Toronto?". I guess the last real diner I recall was The Goof (Garden Gate) in the Beaches, until it was gentrified recently - juke box controls at every booth, vinyl stools etc.

                  1. re: Bob Catt

                    Yes, the GOOF. Same bad Chinese food in a slick new atmosphere.

                2. re: Bob Catt

                  There was a new Wimpy's location set to open on Dundas West near University for the last couple of months, but when it finally opened yesterday, the sign was suddenly changed to read "Maxwell's Rocket 88 Diner".

                  Not sure what happened - last minute franchise issues, I assume. Otherwise, it seems to have the same faux-50s/60s decor and menu as Wimpy's.

                  1. re: T Long

                    Besides the fact that it has terrible food, the Senator is definitely more 30s/40s art deco than 60s diner.

                    1. re: tartiflette

                      The Senator does not have terrible food! How can you call that food terrible? Overpriced to some maybe, but everything is freshly made with the best ingredients and all cooked well.

                  2. There's a place on Bayview Ave. south of Eglinton - I am pretty sure its called Diner 66. Very 60s retro. Food quality is about what you would expect but it has the vibe I think you are looking for.

                    5 Replies
                    1. re: downtown

                      I think that might be Diner 55.

                      There's also People's Food, on Dupont west of St George, which is one of the old school 24 hour places.

                      1. re: Snarf

                        You're right, no wonder I couldn't google it.

                        1. re: Snarf

                          Diner 55 is gone and the place is now a sushi joint.

                          1. re: embee

                            Does Steve's Restaurant qualify? -Bathurst just north of Wilson.

                          2. re: Snarf

                            People's is not open 24 hours anymore...the Vesta Lunch at Bathurst and Dupont does stay open 24 hours but no booths. Try the Villager on Spadina Road at Lonsdale or The Good Bite on Yonge Street north of Eglinton. None of these are 'diners' per se but serve the same kind of food. The only diner of late, that was really a diner was Flo's Diner on Belair...'upscale' but a diner nonetheless.

                        2. Haven't been there, but the House of Chan is described on this CH board as a retro 60/70's Chinese-Canadian decor diner....

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                          1. re: T Long

                            Hardly a diner, but definitely of another era.

                          2. The Bus Terminal Restaurant on Danforth at Coxwell. It's architecture is original and the decor has been revamped to make it even more "fifties-style."(I was told it was done for a movie and the owner decided to keep it.) I have friends who eat breakfast there every weekend. Personally I find it ordinary and over-priced, and the home fries are inedible. But it sure has the atmosphere I think you're looking for.

                            1. what about the Stem on Queen west before spadina?

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                              1. re: OnDaGo

                                Thank you for all those suggestions, im gonna look into them and hopefully I end up somewhere really interesting where the food is just as good!

                              2. The Good Bite Restaurant on Yonge a few blocks north of Eglington. I've only been for breakfast which is good for the greasy spoon variety, and its old-school dinerish in both decor and the staff. A couple of friends a few years ago used to go there for lunch because you could get liver and onions, and it included your choice of jell-o or rice pudding for dessert. Not sure if it was good, but definitely old style.

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                                1. re: munch

                                  The Homeway on Mount Pleasant was recently made over (not on tv), but retains the old diner menu and food quality.

                                2. What is the Dinner - west of Avenue on Davenport - north side?

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. The Stem, on Queen near The Horseshoe. Don't know if I'd go out of my way to eat there, but they do a good breakfast, burgers, and club sandwiches and it's one of the last old original greasy spoons in the neighbourhood. Nice folks running it too.

                                    1. Has everyone forgotten the Tulip? Queen East..