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Diners, drive-ins and dives

  • j

My SO and I watch this show from time to time on Food TV. There must be places in Ontario like the ones the host visits in each episode.

With summer coming, a road trip to a funky, hole-in-the-wall place with unusually good food has to be any foodies' idea of fun, no?

Anyone willing to share their favourite diner, drive-in or dive destination in Ontario?

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  1. May I recommend Easterbrooks Hot Dog Stand. It is a old footlong hotdog place that is right across the street from The Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. It's been there for well over a half century housed in a long trailer like building. There's 1/2 dozen or so counter stools and 3 or 4 booths. The draw seems to be that it's thrived and maintained it's original charm of doing footlong hotdogs in a dozen or so different ways with topping such as chili, cheese, bacon, pepperoni etc. Hamburgers, fries, onion rings, ice cream and real milk shakes are also on the board. They haven't changed a thing in this space probably since they started and there's a nice back grassy area with picnic benches where the seagulls look longingly from a distance at your leftovers.
    It really is like no other place I've been to in Southern Ontario. It truly is an institution and may fit the bill as a Triple D destination.

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    Easterbrooks Hotdog Stand
    694 Spring Gardens Rd, Burlington, ON L7T1J3, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: CheddarCheese

      CC, I've read you post before, but always wondered who makes foot-long dogs in Ontario? I love the foot-longs at Ted's in Buffalo. These are Sahlen's dogs. Any idea who Easterbrooks' supplier is?

      1. re: CheddarCheese

        Esterbrooks and Hutche's in Hamilton Ontario is using Schneider"s red hots or a cheaper Scneider dog. The burger meat may also be Schneider's ( Steakettes, Baron )

      2. "There >>must be<< places in Ontario like the ones the host visits in each episode."

        ...Should be, but there isn't.....

        1. Weber's in Orillia on the drive up north, cottage country classic. http://www.webers.com/

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          Webers-Highway 11 Ltd
          King's Highway 11, Orillia, ON L3V, CA

          25 Replies
          1. re: anegg

            there is absolutely nothing special about Webers..................

            1. re: itzi

              Great post. I drool everytime I watch the show. Curious to see if there is anything close to home that fits the bill.

              1. re: itzi

                I don't watch the show, but I think a big part of these kinds of places, is maybe not that food is the most original or outstanding, but the traditions and culture that surrounds the place.

                Absolutely nothing special about Weber's?
                I have to disagree. I think the line-ups that can stretch out the small hut housing the kitchen, and nearly up the overpass testify to the fact that those people think it's something special.

                1. re: anegg

                  Webber's was actually the first thing that came to mind when thinking of things in the area. But the show does focus on the specialties that bring people in and show how they're made. The idea is to highlight really unique recipes that maintain the establishment's huge cult following.

                  I really enjoy Webber's and it's an established institution for cottage country. But it's a fairly standard burger joint that has insane line because of it's location for the masses heading up to their cottages. I can't imagine anyone would drive up there from the GTA just to get the food and turn around. That's the difference between Webber's and what's being featured on that show.

                  1. re: abigllama

                    Webber's is nothing special. Sonny's in Brampton probably has burgers just as good. Also, it's probably older than Webber's with more personality.

                    1. re: jrbuddah

                      If your talking about Sonny's on Kennedy! Yes they have good burgers but it's nothing to brag about. Just as good as any Harvey's

                  2. re: anegg

                    The burgers at Weber's are awful. It's just a "tradition" for families going up to cottage country, beginning when there was nothing else really in the area.

                    Lots of people going doesn't make something special or even good, it just testifies to the fact that a lot of people go there for some reason or another.

                    1. re: anegg

                      There must be a reason that the store in Orillia closed and the take out at the airport .

                      1. re: anegg

                        Webers is overrated. If you want a great burger, fries, rings or shakes go a bit north to The Burger Pit, way better

                        1. re: Muskokan1969

                          Burger Pit is south of Webers. There are a couple of other threads on this topic. I dislike Webers too. Burger Pit is way better.

                      2. re: itzi

                        agree don't waste your time or money

                        1. re: itzi

                          I agree...stupid yuppies Muskoka bound go there who don't know any better.

                          1. re: ebay3392

                            I think Guy would like Webbers. I tried Webbers today for the first time. I wanted to see what all the fuss is about. Since it was a Monday afternoon it wasn't too busy. There was a line up but it moved super fast.

                            The system- The place is run by sweet teenage girls. One comes with a pen and paper to take your order. Then another ones comes up to you (this is all in the line up) to take your money and bring you back your change. It is very efficient and they have it down to a fast art.

                            The Food- The food is very cheap considering they have some serious branding and a name for themselves in Ontario. A double burger with cheese cost $4.79 which is comparitively good considering it is a legendary burger joint which most places are charging upwards of $8 for a double. The burgers where grilled by a senior pro who was as fast as lightening and had some serious style while grilling. He had a red face and wore a headband. This was worth it already. I was beginning to see the allure. The burgers themselves where grilled (NOT charbroiled). They where fresh and juicy and had processed cheese on them. The bun was fluffy white and soft. The fries where no good. No good at all. Cavendish frozen with too much seasoning salt on them. Seasoning salt is not a secret ingredient. Maypole ice cream to finish everything off was real nice.

                            The Rest- "Stupid yuppies Muskoka bound". I would have to agree with this statement. . There where a couple of bonus' I really liked about Webbers. First bonus was the train carriage washrooms. I was expecting something dumpy. What I got was modern, extraordinarily clean and gorgious air conditioned washrooms. Lovely. Secondly, they have a really nice park studded with large picnic tables with forest behind them.

                            Summery on Webbers-
                            The place is an institution like it or not. Would I line up for it for more than 10 minutes....hell no. Would I go there again for a decent burger and sit with my dog at a lovely picnic bench looking at the trees....you bet.

                            1. re: food face

                              I have to say that even if the burgers are good, I don't think it would be enough for Fieri. Every place I've seen him visit on the show has multiple homemade dishes that elicit high praise from customers and Fieri, as well.

                              1. re: Full tummy

                                Yea you are probably right I suppose. Perhaps if it was a dulled down "Canadian" version.

                          2. re: itzi

                            nor Hutch's, Easterbrooke's or even Weber's which was sold by the original owner from Hamilton years ago. The only thing these places have is the nostalgia factor. I'm yet to met or even see the owner at their restaurants. I too watch Diners Drive In's and Dives from time to time and have read one of Guy's books. His staff go to great lengths to find these places. One of the prerequisites is that the food made is authentic and made from scratch. No chain or short cuts allowed. I therefore, nominate Mex-I-Can on James St N in Hamilton. Your typical whole in the wall made with authentic Mexican ingredients, and great prices. I would also recommend Murphy's subs on Dundurn. I have only ever had the homemade Italian Sausage sub. I have not tried his other ones that are made with regular deli meat. His wife makes the sausage, "Murph" is always behind the counter. While you get your sub made you are in for one interesting conversation depending on what "Murph" wants to discuss that day. We get them to go unheated and bring them home to heat up.

                            1. re: itzi

                              I agree- excluding how they maintain the traffic flow...THAT IS an art!

                              -----
                              Webers-Highway 11 Ltd
                              King's Highway 11, Orillia, ON L3V, CA

                            2. re: anegg

                              Good or not, EVERYONE knows Weber's. There's a lot of history behind it, so it would make sense if it were to appear on the show.

                              1. re: goldendelicious

                                Weber's is a brand name, like McDonalds, and can do no wrong, if your demands are small and appetite large. But they could offer better than Grade A chuck burgers, perhaps include hand cut russet fries, and real cheddar slices, if they wanted to be the best, and set the standard for the genre. They don't need to, because of location and nostalgic memories of past days.

                                1. re: goldendelicious

                                  I don't know about that. I've watched the show a number of times, and each place appears to offer something special and definitely yummy on the food front. Otoh, I haven't seen any mediocre, steeped-in-tradition restos featured yet.

                                  If those were the criteria, then the Goof would work. Alas, the food is crap.

                                2. re: anegg

                                  Sorry, but Weber's is an over-priced, over-hyped tourist trap in my opinion. It used to be great back in the 80's but it's gone seriously downhill since Mr. Weber died.

                                  1. re: anegg

                                    Brutal place with long lines and unruly kids. The food was okay 20 years ago, but only because you had been driving so long to the cottage you were desperate for a break.

                                    1. re: anegg

                                      Weber's in the best, good food, great atmosphere with the park and train cars for in door dining.

                                      1. re: Fang

                                        Excuse my ignorance.......but where is weber's?

                                        1. re: DESIZFINST

                                          It's a crappy but very popular burger place north of Orillia on Hwy 11. It used to be good but now it's just a name and one of the few burger places on the way to cottage county.

                                    2. I enjoy the show - the only place I have found is a chili dog and poutine stand on Manitoulin Island. Shame

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: juliewong

                                        My bet would be hit Sturgeon Falls at Larry's or the P'tit Riv for poutine, pogos, etc....the constant lineups and activity speaks for itself there.

                                        1. re: ebay3392

                                          Yes! Agreed! And the red Fish and Chip truck in Killarney-Herberts

                                          SWS

                                      2. What about the old streetcar hamburger place at Hwy 89 & Hwy 10? East of Shelburne. I can't remember the name of it, and haven't been in years, but it seems a bit funky. Or funkayyy.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: sgogo

                                          I'm pretty sure its called Super Burger. But I would definitely not go out of the way to eat there. It is ok, nothing more, nothing less.

                                          1. re: sgogo

                                            the burger place east of Shelburne at hwy 10 and hwy 89 is in Primrose Ont. Look for the TTC Streetcar. The place is called Super Burger and it serves Schneider supplied frozen patties and frozen cut french fries.

                                            1. re: hondaboler

                                              Sadly Superburger is not what it once was. My recommendation is try Champs next door... I gather from the inlaws that it really is where the locals eat.

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                                              Superburger
                                              506269 89 Hwy, Shelburne, ON L0N1S8, CA