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I love Tim Hortons because...

Recently, I recommended Tim Hortons double-double and a roussette donut as a fun, casual, and inexpensive feature to an 18yr old visitor from Vermont. I was promptly bombarded by a cavalcade of negative feddback regarding Tims. I love Tims for what it is, and there is always one there when you need it. There must be others out there who feel the same way about this original Canadian institution. Tims is like Mr Dressup and Shania Twain, They should all be recognized on a postage stamp..

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  1. It is what it is but, like McDonald's, not something I'd recommend to a visitor when there are so many better options in town.

    2 Replies
    1. re: eat2much

      I get where you're coming from. on the Roadfood sight a few years ago I mentioned buying Sushi at Wal Mart. Nobody was actually personally insulting, but I got a lot of "what the hell are you doing." I got the same thing when I mentioned ordering a steak at a coney island.

      1. re: syrup09

        There is a pretty big difference between a person mentioning that they bought sushi at walmart and someone actually recommending that when tourists come to town they try the great sushi at walmart.... and this site is often used by tourists who are looking for a good recommendation so they dont end up doing something like that and regretting that they wasted one of their precious vacation meals.

    2. I loathe it, especially the insipid "coffee".

      1. there is so much chow-worthy food in montreal that an 18 year old visitor should not have a free moment to sample the insipid tim hortons. besides, it will be in vermont soon enough - they're all over upstate new york.

        1 Reply
        1. re: frogsteak

          New York City, too. There is one in Penn Station. I know because I lived in New Jersey and commuted to NYC.

        2. I love it so much because they can't even make a real lemonade that doesn't taste like chemicals.

          Processed food at its best.

          As for cofee.....I know you can't discuss tatse buds but it is not flavorfull to mine.

          2 Replies
          1. re: maj54us

            nowadays the mccafe brand is light years ahead of timmy's

            1. re: frogsteak

              and a couple times a year, it's free

          2. ..sometimes its convenient.

            Seriously though Tims has horrible service and even worse coffee; and Im not into torturing tourists who ask for help :P

            1. The problem is that americans have already a Tim Horton: its called Dunkin Donuts.

              Recommending it is a bit like recommending a Harvey's since they don't have it in the states.

              There might be, however, some sociological redeeming features on the whole experience... if only to say "I've been there, its not spectacular, I kinda understand what it is now." At most, it will take you 15 minutes and cost you 4 bucks for a large coffee and a donut. Nothing outrageous.

              While it is somewhat classic Canadianna, I'm a Montrealer first and a Quebecer second so I don't feel the "patriotic" need to recommend some artificial cultural icon pushed by a corporation to feed the void of Canadian identity (just like I don't insist on tourists getting a coat at Roots).

              It feels even more fake since I clearly remember the brand being on par with Dunkin Donuts in the 80's. As a matter of fact, Tim Horton's would probably not be so "iconic" if DD hadn't stopped investing in their stores in the 90's, letting them become aged relic of a past time.

              The coffee itself is pretty solidly anchored in the first wave. You don't have a choice of terroir or torrefaction like you'd get in a second wave coffee store (Starbucks, Second Cup), its one coffee fits all. The major difference between the Tim Horton's coffee and diner coffee is that the process has been industrialised in order to provide a fresh cup all the time.

              Now, if you consider that most foodies barely consider second wave coffee worthy of merit you start to understand the vitriolic reaction of several members of this board. The passion in foodie culture is usually reserved for third wave coffee, withs its iconic roasters (OMG, Ritual beans!), artisanal baristas and a sense of exploration of the methods of roasting and brewing that borders on paranoia (A barrista in Café Saint-Henri refused to sell me a short expresso to go because the gustative experience would be ruined by the rapid cooling introduced by the outside temperature... I had to order an "allongé" instead... I mean... who does that? Third wave shops do.)

              Now, I'll tell you a little secret. I love Tim Horton's coffee. I like its acidity. I like its taste. I like the fact that I can drink gallons of it (I tried to drink the same amount of expresso and chemex and I almost died afterwards. I had to stop walking because I felt stoned on caffeine. My hands were shaking and my heart was beating like a machine gun. Coming from someone who routinely can drink 3 20oz cup of Tim Horton's in a day and can go to sleep after drinking a pot of coffee at night)

              I like Tim Horton's coffee because I happen to enjoy the variant they decided to produce en masse. It fits for me. I typically will look for an acid coffee bean from south america with a light brown torrefaction and the Tim Horton coffee is kind of its weak cousin. I have a friend who enjoy strong bitter black coffee made with african beans and he doesn't enjoy Tim Horton's. Its a matter of taste.

              It is a purely utilitarian view of their coffee however. I'm sorry but I don't preach to the church of Timmy H, I don't have a picture of the Queen in my living room, I don't dress up in Rootswear. Hell, I usually celebrate canada day by helping a friend move more often than not.


              2 Replies
              1. re: CaptCrunch

                Sorry? Sont apologize, it only shows how Canadian you really are. The deliberation and articulate style of your posts show us that you stand apart. We love your cereal too, it stays crunchy,... even in milk.

                1. re: heybaldy

                  Ha! Touché!

                  It might be my one canadian redeeming feature!

              2. Tims used to good. Made fresh donut (now cooked from semi frozen) chicken salad was actual real chicken. Now its all processed. I do love there 12 grain bagels w/philly cream cheese and crullers but thats it.

                1. My previous assessment of TH was overly crude, but I stand by the underlying sentiment: I don't think TH has anything to recommend it. In my opinion they serve bad coffee, mediocre doughnuts, awful sandwiches and sickly sweet frozen drinks. The only reason I ever have their coffee is for a quick jolt while driving the 401, maybe one out of four times I take that trip.

                  When I was growing up in Ottawa there was a nearby TH that was one of the very few places 16-year-old night owls could go, and I have some fond memories of hanging out there with particular friends, but to me that kind of good memory multiplied by 42 million still doesn't justify the great affection and success Canadians have bestowed on it.

                  It doesn't get me in the door today, because in retrospect the coffee was just as bad then as it is now, and the good memories have little or nothing to do with anything unique to TH.

                  What's more, the chain today is more generic than ever. IMHO our friends from Vermont would get effectively no sense of Canadian distinctiveness from dropping in for a double-double, any more than you get in touch with America by hitting a Dunkin. It's a quick, cheap source of caffeine and sugar.

                  1. I certainly don't hate them, but they don't have the freshly made items they had years ago, which set them apart on the road-food chain circuit.

                    I see no reason to eat there in Montréal, and certainly not in my neighbourhood. There is an outlet on Jean-Talon, just north of the market, but I suspect their main clientele is people driving on their jobs who find it handy to have a place where they can park and pick up a quick bite.

                    I see nothing particularly "distinctively Canadian" about this business.

                    1. my big contension is we never find out who, if any, win the Roll Up the Win contests....I mean... like... really...who??

                      4 Replies
                          1. re: blondee_47

                            Did you notice there was a map?

                            EDIT: Nice move removing your comment. Now, my answer makes no sense.

                            1. re: SnackHappy

                              hi Snack...actually your answer to me to the website and the comment I made I realized was not true...so instead I thanked you. Your answer to my question makes perfect sense and helped me solve an issue...don't take offence....

                      1. As Mr. F. said, it's one of the only places to get coffee on the 401 between here and Toronto (unless you can wait until Belleville, and hit up the Starbucks in the Quinte Mall, which is the best you're going to get on that highway...). I made the mistake of ordering a honey cruller last week when I stopped on the drive to Toronto, and could not believe how disgustingly sweet it was. Their crullers used to be at least edible, but this was beyond sweet. And the coffee is drinkable, but that's about it - barely any flavour, and not much of a caffeine jolt. Better than nothing, but...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: cherylmtl

                          that's not the only starbucks on the 401

                          1. re: cherylmtl

                            I guess it is too far of a detour to go into Kingston, where there are more cafés.

                            1. re: lagatta

                              there's a starbucks right off the highway in brockville

                              personally, i do not care for starbucks - i'd rather (and i shudder to say this) get a coffee at mcdonalds which is surprisingly good.

                              1. re: frogsteak

                                I didn't know that there was a Starbucks there - this will be very convenient next time we hit the 401.

                              2. re: lagatta

                                There's also decent food in Kingston, but it is a bit of a detour just for a coffee.

                            2. New Englander with a Canadian (Québécoise, but born in Tignish) mama here, so I'm emboldened to chime in.

                              I like TH...the roussettes have an edge on what we call "French Crullers" here, and the coffee I've gotten is hot and familiar. Is it haute cuisine? No. Is St. Hubert still around? It's maybe the coffee equivalent of that...you know what you're getting when you go in (for good or bad), and it's a comforting thought.

                              There is something distinctively New England feeling about Dunkin Donuts down my way. It's a morning tradition for many of us, although there are many excellent independent coffeehouses from Boston to Portland. Many New Englanders I know who travel--including a girlfriend who just returned from a two week honeymoon in Vegas--really miss their morning "Dunkies" when it's unattainable. Is Dunkins a substitute for visiting Woodmans or Island Creek Oyster Bar or any other Boston area food (or coffee, like The Thinking Cup, or Cafe Vittoria) institutions? No. But it'd be a fun stop.

                              So this is my long way of saying that I understand and agree with the OP...it may not be what it once was, but it is an "original". Sort of like taking your nephew to see the Rolling Stones in 2014....would it have been better if he saw them in 72? Sure. But it's still cool to experience once.

                              Just my two cents....

                              1. For what it's worth, their bacon breakfast sandwich (on a biscuit) are my favorites big chain breakfast sandwich. I don't hate their donuts, but there is just much better options, so unless you're stuck wanting a donut at 3AM, I don't have much use for them.

                                1. I could certainly enjoy going to one in a small town, where they are the social hub, but I simply don't see any reason here in Montréal.

                                  Nothing to do with "hate".