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Quirky retro menu items - Toronto

jambon Oct 7, 2008 08:11 AM

I always get a kick out of places that offer meatloaf, mac & cheese, liver & onions and other throwback dishes, and find it interesting that those items aren't necessarily relegated to greasy spoons. But are there any places in Toronto that push the retro thing even further? It's one thing to serve mac and cheese... does anyone serve it right out of the box? Does tuna casserole ever show up on a menu? I find it odd that I stumble across these time warp items regularly while traveling in the States, but rarely see them in Canada.

  1. c
    currycue Oct 8, 2008 09:19 AM

    I think they still sell their famous rice pudding at Fran's. It won best rice pudding in Toronto in 1954 :P

    2 Replies
    1. re: currycue
      p
      pearlD Oct 8, 2008 11:27 AM

      I'm glad 'rice pudding' was mentioned...I was also thinking of it but I thought of The Mars on College Street. They sold old fashioned Bran Muffins as well, before 'muffins' were part of our everyday jargon...they may still sell them....man they were dense and could almost last you til lunch if you had them with your morning coffee!! When I visit my daughter in Savannah...Tuna Casserole complete with potato chip topping is still on many 'homestyle' restaurants...

      1. re: currycue
        jambon Oct 9, 2008 11:36 AM

        And best rice pudding in 1954 would have had some serious competition!

      2. Bob Catt Oct 9, 2008 03:32 AM

        Jambon wrote:
        "I always get a kick out of places that offer meatloaf, mac & cheese, liver & onions and other throwback dishes, and find it interesting that those items aren't necessarily relegated to greasy spoons. But are there any places in Toronto that push the retro thing even further? It's one thing to serve mac and cheese... does anyone serve it right out of the box? Does tuna casserole ever show up on a menu? I find it odd that I stumble across these time warp items regularly while traveling in the States, but rarely see them in Canada."

        My idea of retro was Mac and cheese and a side of bacon in the basement cafeteria of the now-defunct Simpson's at Yonge and Queen. I'd go there as a kid with my parents, and much later we'd take our own kids, who'd order what I had - M & C. I haven't been to The Bay main store in the same location to see if they still have a basement cafeteria - and still have macaroni and cheese on the menu. Do you know if there's still a cafeteria there? If so I'll pay it a visit for auld lang syne - and guess what I'll order!

        2 Replies
        1. re: Bob Catt
          j
          JesseJensen Oct 9, 2008 05:44 AM

          The cafeteria was called the Rainbow Room and is long gone since the 70's. It had coloured stripes painted on the ceiling of the different colours of the rainbow. When my mother took me downtown when I was a child we always went there for lunch at my insistence. They also made
          wonderful toasted danishes.....haven't seen those advertised anywhere for years.

          1. re: Bob Catt
            pinkprimp Oct 9, 2008 03:39 PM

            There is a cafeteria in The Bay's basement, near their chocolate department, past the kitchen gear. I don't recall if they had "M & C" but based on what I have had and seen, I doubt it'll live up to your memories!

          2. c
            currycue Oct 10, 2008 08:20 AM

            Last time I had lunch in the basement of the Bay, they had this awesome, home cooked Carribbean food. No old-school style cafeteria food though. If you want old-school, check out the thread on "Gale's Snack Bar" down on Eastern Avenue. Can't get more old school than that.

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