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May 3, 2008 02:56 PM

Greasy (but not too) breakfasts in Vancouver

As we're still in mourning over the dear departed Nemato, we haven't yet found a suitable replacement. You know the type of place: no decor, but reasonably tidy (you should not fear for your gastrointestinal health, although all bets are off cardiovascularly). Only short order items on a menu that focuses on eggs, bacon, maybe sandwiches for lunch. Might be family run. In an ideal world, has actual shreddy hash browns (rather than home fries). Your meal costs well under a tenner and may even include refills of a hot beverage (tea or coffee only, no froufrou drinks). Bonus points if any of the staff have beehives. And somehow even though it's busy there's always one table left just for you (no lineups).

At the moment I've shortlisted the Argo, Helen's, Bert's and that place down near Kent Avenue that's upstairs in a warehouse (name escapes me) to try. I think Bon's off Broadway would fit the bill but I fear lineups there. Nice Cafe is also a contender but lineups can be a problem there too as I've discovered. The Homer Cafe was one but I think it may have stopped serving.

Comments on these options? Does anyone have any other such spots they'd care to share? We're looking specifically for tomorrow a.m. but such a list would be a good thing to have regardless. TIA.

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  1. I'm not a big fan of Bon's to put it diplomatically....I have no real recommendations since I don't really eat breakfast. Well...maybe one rec: give HK Cafes a try. Gloucester, Boss, etc. They usually do a good breakfast.

    1. Man, I miss Nemoto, I used to go there every Sunday. Bon's serves homefries instead of hashbrowns. Lineups aren't usually too bad if you get there before 10. Nice Cafe has worse lineups, and Homer Cafe is definitely gone--the building's up for demolition soon (to make way for more condos, of course). I haven't had the breakfast at Reno's, so I'm not sure if they have real hashbrowns.

      1 Reply
      1. re: kidpresentable

        Just a quick update -- I called Homer Cafe (updating my list of brekky places) and they are still going strong, serving 6-4:30 except Sundays.

        I also just noticed that I misspelled Nemoto in my original post and couldn't help but chuckle at the Freudian slip -- for years we called it the Nematode :-).

      2. I'd love to hear about places for good basic breakfasts (maybe with a bit of a twist) that don't break the bank... so I look forward to what others will post.

        Currently, my default is Joe's Grill on 4th.

        1. Bert's on Main??
          I went once and I never returned (if that's the bert's you were referring to)

          ummm that place on Helmcken and Granville DT starts with a T.....Templeton!!!!!

          3 Replies
          1. re: starlady

            I think Bon's is off the list for us: too far away and too many bad reports.

            Bert's we may try just because it is "in the hood" and have heard some decent reports, notwithstanding Starlady's bad experience. Will report back if we go.

            Twinkienic, Joe's is pretty good (also super close for us) and probably should be on the list but the home fries don't light my fire.

            Templeton is a fun brekky place but doesn't quite fit the criteria I outlined -- although it is in an old diner, it's not quite old school and stripped down enough for this list. To me it belongs more on the Slickety Jim's spectrum -- hip staff, with a bit of a twist on the menu items to borrow Starlady's phrasing. Also suffers in my experience from some serious lineupitis.

            A place that definitely does fit my exacting criteria :-) is Helen's Grill which is where we went yesterday. Four of us arrived at 9:30 to plenty of open tables. Most of them are smallish booths for 4 so beware if you come with a larger group. Lots of points here: jukebox at each table, efficient and slightly officious but in a good way server ("coffee cups to the centre, please!"), counter with sparkly vinyl chairs attached to the floor, lotsa formica, bottomless coffee ($1.50 ) that is weak enough to drink four cups in a row but still has that great cafe flavour.

            We all had what I consider the diner brekky benchmark, two eggs with meat, spuds and toast ($7.25). Ham, bacon and sausage were all sampled and met expectations, the potatoes were the mashed then fried ones (alas, no shredders) but were tasty and crispy on the outside, toast was the typical white or brown and eggs were decently executed.

            Service was attentive despite there being only one official server for the whole resto (the other one poured coffee and bussed only) until she got slammed just as we were ready for the bill resulting in a 10 minute delay for which she apologized profusely. Hey, it was Sunday, we weren't in a huge hurry. Will definitely be back...

            1. re: grayelf

              Jukeboxes at every table! Extra points.

              1. re: grayelf

                I almost never go out for breakfast myself, but have been to Templeton once for a brunch. Their eggs benny with smoked salmon was quite good, and reasonably priced if I recall.

            2. Try Goodfellas Cafe. I'm a breakfast guy, and this fits the bill. Above your price-point, but this is the 21st century, and we are talking about Vancouver! ;-)

              1078 West Pender Street
              Vancouver BC V6E 2N7
              Tel : 604-331-0046
              Fax: 604-331-0406


              Goodfella's Cafe
              1078W Pender St W, Vancouver, BC V6E2N7, CA