Cora’s Breakfast & Lunch (Richmond) – 1990’s Harvest
Do you remember the 90’s? I’ve often thought of myself more as Generation Y (even though chronologically, most would consider my a Gen Xer)… “over educated, underachiever” as Jaye Tyler would say from the classic series, Wonderfalls.
So why this romp back to nostalgia? It’s just that Cora’s has opened up a new outlet down in Coppersmith Plaza on Steveston Hwy in Richmond. While I’ve never been to a Cora’s before, I was intrigued by the reviews of some of their other locations around town.
Cora opened up her first restaurant in 1987 in Montreal and has since spread her successful breakfast diner concept to over 120 franchised outlets across the country. Their Richmond location is pretty big and was fairly busy when I stopped by for lunch recently… kind of reminds me a little of IHOP and those other chain breakfast restaurants.
I started out with a Hot Chocolate topped with whipped cream.
Back to the 90’s… this dish is called the 1990’s Harvest. Apparently, it was first created by Cora’s daughter, Gigi, back in 1990 (hence the name). They take a large cinnamon-raisin brioche, cut it in half, dip it in French toast batter and grill it up. Then they top one side with an egg and bacon strips and the other side with a mountain of fresh fruit. I am not kidding… there is a ton of fruit in this dish… bananas, pineapple, honeydew, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, mandarin oranges, strawberry, and watermelon… my wife would have loved this cornucopia of fruit (sorry hun… promise to take you here someday).
The brioche was okay but I wish it had more raisins in it. However, you can do what I did and augment the flavours by pouring syrup (conveniently located table-side) over the brioche. This might be nit-picking but I wish the bacon was a little crispier too.
I’ve read some reviews recently saying that this location has been experiencing some problems recently but I didn’t see any during my visit. I was seated promptly and had my order taken right away. It took about 12 minutes for my meal to arrive and had a couple of different staff members check in to see how my meal was going. This was probably because I came at a slow period… read a little further and you’ll see what I mean.
Food: 4.5 / 5
Service: 4.5 / 5
Update: So, my wife saw the picture of all of the fresh fruit and wanted to try it out for herself so we decided to come back for breakfast on Sunday… quite a bit of a difference from my initial visit.
First off, there was a line up out the door and it took us about 20 minutes to be seated. The thing that bothered me about this was that there were actually quite a few empty tables. It’s not as though they didn’t have enough waiters/servers – I think I counted around a dozen staff in the front but for some reason, they weren’t cleaning up the tables as people were leaving. So, as you can imagine, this caused a bottleneck of patrons waiting to be seated.
There definitely wasn’t any slowdown caused by the kitchen staff – they looked like they had an army of cooks working there. Again, you could tell that their waiters really needed to work the kinks out because I could see all of the plated dishes just sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be delivered to the tables. It reminded me of a game of Diner Dash (and these people clearly didn’t know how to play the game)… the waiters were taking orders, the kitchen staff were making the dishes but everything else was just falling apart.
Anyhoo, after our 20 minute wait (and constant mental references to Diner Dash) we were seated and had our orders promptly taken. Cora’s has a special Fruit Cocktail blend that’s made every day – today’s had a bit of pineapple in it.
My wife liked the picture of the 1990’s Harvest that I had before so she ordered it but opted for 2 eggs instead of one (if the waitress on my last visit would have asked me if I wanted an extra egg, I probably would have been all over that too – just goes to show you that if you don’t ask people for the add-ons, you’re never going to get the sale).
I picked the Buckwheat Blessing which, in addition to the mountain of fresh fruit (banana, strawberry, apple, watermelon, cantaloupe, kiwi, grapes, and mandarin orange), you get three sausages wrapped up in buckwheat crêpes and covered in shredded cheese. These little piggies-in-a-blanket were really good – especially with a bit of syrup drizzled on top. Our waitress brought by some molasses because she said that some patrons prefer the molasses over the regular syrup on the buckwheat crêpes but I found the molasses to be a bit too sweet.
The only drawback to this dish was that fruit (unlike the ones on the 1990’s Harvest) wasn’t sliced so it did require a little bit of work for me to cut them into manageable bites.
The prices and the food is pretty good here but they’ve really got to develop a better work flow in the dining room. Perhaps after a few months, they’ll have it down… until then, try to stop by when they’re not busy otherwise be prepared for a wait to be seated.
Food: 4.5 / 5
Service: 2.5 / 5
170 – 11380 Steveston Hwy