Northern Cafe & Grill: Serious Hole-In-The-Wall Diner Eats
I’ve been known to frequent hole-in-the-wall joints. In fact, some of my favourite places to visit are down-to-earth eateries where the owners love what they do and are unpretentious about it. Well, I’m happy to say that I’ve found a new place that meets these standards. I suppose “found” really isn’t the right word as Northern Cafe has been around since 1949. But I can hardly be blamed for not visiting until now… tucked away on the second floor of a building supply store – you seriously are not going to come across this place unless you were intentionally trying to find this place (or if you happen to work in the trades).
I heard about this self-described “greasy spoon” eatery a couple of years ago but haven’t really had the chance to visit until recently. After navigating past the fork lifts and large trucks that come and go through the service yard, I headed up the creaky staircase with the slightly-too-tall risers and down the narrow hallway until I saw an unsuspecting door leading into the cozy diner. During my pickup visits, it seemed pretty quiet with only 1 to 2 diners actually eating in… hopefully things pick up for them.
For my first meal from Northern, I decided on the Bacon Cheddar Burger ($11.50) with a homemade AAA sirloin beef patty, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato on their signature but. It also comes with a creamy potato salad and fries. Let me just say that these fries were soooo good! Delicately crispy on the outside while still pillowy soft on the inside. I could eat these all day. The burger was pretty good too – it may not win any gourmet awards but it was a solid greasy spoon burger.
Northern Cafe offers some hearty breakfast items so on my next visit, I ordered the Corn Beef Hash ($12) with a side of sausages ($3). The hash comes with hand-shredded potato hash cooked up corn beef, onions, and peppers. It’s served with toast and your choice of preparation for eggs. The eggs were cooked up perfectly with a nice runny yolk and crispy edges. While there wasn’t much special about the toast, my side of breakfast sausages were both plump and juicy.
As with many Chinese-Canadian diners, Northern Cafe also offers some typical westernized Chinese dishes like Wor Wonton Egg Noodle Soup ($11.50). While the egg noodles were a bit meh, the rest of this soup was actually pretty good. I especially liked the bbq pork on top.
Next up was an order of Slow Roasted Beef Dip ($12.50) with in-house shaved roast beef on a hoagie bun, served with au jus and macaroni salad. We opted for a side Caesar salad instead of fries.
We also ordered the similar Philly Cheese Steak Melt ($13.50) with the same in-house shaved roast beef as the beef dip but this time grilled up with peppers, onions, and cheese. I really liked the Philly but it actually goes pretty well with the au jus that came with the beef dip so I wound up dunking this a couple of times too.
If you don’t mind hole-of-the-wall diners, make sure you try this place out.
1640 East Kent Ave S (2nd Floor in the Northern Building Supply yard)
Posted on March 29, 2021, in Breakfast, Cafe, Canadian, Chinese, Diner, Restaurant Review and tagged Bacon Cheddar Burger, Beef Dip, Breakfast, Burgers, Cafe, Chinese Canadian, Corn Beef Hash, Diner, Food, Fraserview, greasy spoon, Hole-in-the-Wall, Philly Cheese Steak, restaurant review, Vancouver. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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