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My Big Fat American Visitors

dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 08:05 AM

Alright, they're not exactly overweight but love their chains, large portions, and free refills. They also will not do spice or anything that sounds or looks exotic.

I'm looking for a good midtown lunch spot today, and would prefer not to go the chain route. Big comfy seating is also a necessity. Unfortunately, quality is not of my utmost concern at this point.

Ideas so far:
Futures Bakery
Free Times Cafe

HELP! :)

Free Times Cafe
320 College St, Toronto, ON M5T1S3, CA

356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

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  1. b
    bytepusher RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 08:20 AM

    As much as it pains me to say this Caplansky's is probably your best bet

    Stockyards would be a better choice but fails in the comfy seating department

    They would probably like The Counter but that's not exactly midtown

    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    2 Replies
    1. re: bytepusher
      BritInTO RE: bytepusher Jun 22, 2011 08:36 AM

      What is wrong with Caplansky's??? Was in there the other day and it was awsome. Bit busy but the food was good.

      356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

      1. re: BritInTO
        bytepusher RE: BritInTO Jun 22, 2011 09:15 AM

        Oft discussed here in other threads, although some of this may have finally improved. In short, what's wrong with Caplansky's is inconsistent product and service. Frankly it's fine as a local joint but normally has no place on lists of good places to send out of town visitors which frequently does get recommeded here.

        356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

    2. j
      JennaBean RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 08:22 AM

      What about Mercatto on College? Can't really go wrong with pizza and pasta... Maybe Utopia? Burger and nachos?

      15 Toronto Street, Toronto, ON M5C 2E3, CA

      2 Replies
      1. re: JennaBean
        foodyDudey RE: JennaBean Jun 22, 2011 09:10 AM

        The chairs at Mercatto may be too small for them....

        15 Toronto Street, Toronto, ON M5C 2E3, CA

        1. re: foodyDudey
          JennaBean RE: foodyDudey Jun 22, 2011 09:44 AM

          Really? Are you joking? :-)

          I don't find them small and while my bottom isn't giant is also isn't tiny - I like to eat after all! :-)

      2. i
        Isolda RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 08:30 AM

        Can't help you in Toronto,because I'm skinny, live in the Boston area, and hate chains, but I had to laugh when I saw the title of your post!

        Good luck!

        1. c
          currycue RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 08:45 AM

          Messini (www.messini.ca) It's a good cross between large portions and good food.

          445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

          1. j
            julesrules RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 09:14 AM

            LOL I know the feeling. Most of my American relatives are slim, and they are willing to try more "exotic" stuff, but the portions/perceived value for money here just don't cut it. Good luck.

            1 Reply
            1. re: julesrules
              TexSquared RE: julesrules Jun 22, 2011 09:33 AM

              That's the problem (and part of why tourism from the USA has plummeted). Our dollar is higher yet prices on hotels, food, etc have not dropped to match. Americans demand value and service. We fail miserably on both.

              But to the OP's question, stay away from pizza, BBQ, steakhouses, Mexican, burger joints, or seafood since they'll get better quality, larger portions, and at a better price at home. And you'll have no problem avoiding chains because no Canadian chain is up to the quality of the American equivalents. For example take them to Baton Rouge/Kelsey's/Jack Astor's and they'll say "what a lame clone of Applebee's/Ruby Tuesday/Chili's and at twice the price".

              That being said, maybe Greek or Hungarian as others have recommended, would be the way to go. Assuming your friends aren't from places with a large Greek population (like Chicago), any place on the Danforth would be different from what they get at home, with the large portions. free refills, and low prices they demand. Hell, if they liked "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" take them to Pappa's Grill and show them where it was filmed! :-)

            2. iMarilyn RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 09:20 AM

              Future Bakery on Bloor was sold several years ago. It's now Future Bistro Cafe I think. The food wasn't that great before, but it's terrible now. Real cheap if that's your thing.

              What about Country Style Hungarian on Bloor? Their special platter could feed three people.

              Country Style
              450 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S1X8, CA

              1. i
                ibraineater RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 09:36 AM

                I'd suggest:

                Caplansky's (it doesn't pain me at all to suggest it - I actively encourage going there)
                California Sandwiches
                Big Fat Burrito
                Phil's BBQ

                Not much else comes to mind that is good eating and meets the other criteria...

                Big Fat Burrito
                285 Augusta Ave, Toronto, ON M5T2M1, CA

                356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                1. ekim256 RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 09:38 AM

                  HAHA! I got a good laugh out of this :-)
                  Greektown - Mezes might be fine for the non-exotic part. Chicken, potatoes, and some interesting items for you to enjoy. I like Messini's too, but I think it'd fail in the comfy seating department, to use bytepusher's words :-)
                  Caplansky's - yes. If you happen to venture dt though, then you can also hit Corn Beef House.
                  Auntie & Uncles for waffles? On a similar note...(ugh) Frans. All day breakfast with booths - certainly NOT tasty in my opinion.
                  I vote against the counter - if they don't care about quality that's one thing, but it's overpriced, poor quality food so it'd be a double whammy for lunch.
                  There's also buffets? Yonge and Dundas - Woo for buffet until 3PM.

                  Lastly...Dangerous Dan's...haha...although that might be overkill :P

                  Good luck! I'd say hit Woo (downtown though, only suggesting because Caplanskys was on your list, and there's parking around there)


                  445 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P1, CA

                  456 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K1P4, CA

                  356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ekim256
                    dlw88 RE: ekim256 Jun 22, 2011 04:03 PM

                    Thanks everyone!

                    We ended up at Caplansky's and my visitors were happy enough with large tuna and chicken salad sandwiches, potato salad, and cole slaw. We did sample the juicy and tasty smoked meat, which they proclaimed to be too spicy. Some other concerns of theirs were how ranch dressing was completely absent in the kitchen, along with Dr. Browns. Gotta love 'em!

                    I had a small greek and a side of chopped liver with rye ends...it is what it is.

                    356 College Street, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

                    1. re: dlw88
                      caitlink RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 07:05 PM

                      Intrigued by your title :-)

                      I think Big Fat American visitors might enjoy Frankie tomatos if they like chains and value for money.

                      I always laugh when my American co-workers come here and rave about Movenpick Marche, the Keg and Frankie's.

                      So far, no luck, trying to get them to do all the fine dining Cantonese we have here in Markham.

                      1. re: dlw88
                        GoodGravy RE: dlw88 Jun 22, 2011 09:37 PM

                        Dr. Browns is way better than Cotts.

                        1. re: dlw88
                          cubmike74 RE: dlw88 Jun 23, 2011 06:24 AM

                          I thought this was pretty funny - but it is actually sort of a problem I've had before. And it's not just American visitor. I've had friends come and visit from small town Canada and everything here is too spicy, or too ethnic for them.

                          1. re: cubmike74
                            currycue RE: cubmike74 Jun 23, 2011 07:42 PM

                            I hear you. I grew up in small town Ontario and couldn't wait to leave. Been in Toronto 15 years and still can't get enough. It's probably more a small town / city thing more than anything.

                          2. re: dlw88
                            ingloriouseater RE: dlw88 Jun 23, 2011 07:18 AM

                            i am curious about something....mayo at Caplansky's....i've asked for it because i find the turkey sandwich dry and that it would benefit from some mayo moisture, only to be told they don't have any.....what do they use on their tuna, chicken and egg salad to bind it?

                        2. Akakage RE: dlw88 Jun 23, 2011 05:44 AM

                          Just take 'em to The Brunswick for a few beers then let them waddle along to Country Style.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Akakage
                            The Chowhound Team RE: Akakage Jun 23, 2011 04:33 PM

                            We moved some discussion of Americans and their perception of the Canadian food scene over to the General Topics board since it seemed pretty general: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/791966

                          2. 0
                            001mum RE: dlw88 Jun 23, 2011 12:44 PM

                            would Pickle Barrel have met the requirements?

                            1. nsxtasy RE: dlw88 Jun 23, 2011 01:15 PM

                              If Americans only loved chains and would not do spice or anything that sounds or looks exotic, then there would not be any such thing as Chowhound - or, at a minimum, there wouldn't be 39 different forums covering cities and regions in the United States. And the only discussions going on among Americans would be in the Chains forum.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: nsxtasy
                                srsone RE: nsxtasy Jun 23, 2011 01:43 PM

                                and i guess somebody doesnt like sarcasm.........

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