1 Richmond Street West (and other locations)
Brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $23
People like breakfast. They want it hot, fast and familiar. They’re even willing to stand in line for it if that combination can be guaranteed.
Thus is the business plan on which the Sunset Grill is based. And it seems to be working. Starting with one all-day breakfast diner in the Beaches in 1985, this local chain has grown to 15 locations and counting. Most are known for their line-ups, especially on weekends. That’s a lot of bacon and eggs.
Upon arrival at the Yonge and Richmond location on a busy Sunday morning, we balk. Very few meals are worth waiting in line for. Fortunately, the line moves along briskly and our wait is only a minute or two. Part of the money-making aspect of an enterprise like this is to keep turning the tables as quickly as possible; patrons don’t really linger over coffee here.
This location is a big space with high ceilings, decorated in a cuter version of country kitsch with big pictures of all the tasty farm animals above the open kitchen, and chicken sculptures placed strategically throughout the room; the Sunset Grill owners seem to know full well what their success is based on. It’s loud, as each table wakes up and comes to life with the bottomless cups of coffee ($1.59).
Given the size of the room and how busy it is, the food comes surprisingly fast. My French Connection ($8.49) is three eggs any style, home fries, bacon and French toast. It’s a good ol’ basic fry-up; hot, greasy, and filling. The French toast is crisply golden on the outside and still fluffy and white in the centre. Ye Olde Tyme Maple-Flavoured Syrupe is the only miss. The real stuff would be far better than the corn-based stuff most diners use.
Across the table, the Sunset Special Sandwich ($5.49) is a combo of fried egg, peameal bacon and sharp cheddar cheese, served up with homefries and veggie sticks. The hungry husband liked this a lot, especially the real cheese, which generally isn’t expected at a diner.
Because I’m nosy, and like to check out what the folks at other tables are eating, I can vouch for the fact that the waffles are huge and topped with plenty of berries and whipped cream. The berries and yogurt come in a huge parfait glass. The breakfast specials (starting at $3.99) are also a great deal on a basic fry-up of eggs, homefries and toast plus meat of yer choice.
The overall verdict is this – Sunset Grill serves up breakfast hot, fast and familiar. The menu is totally standard breakfast fare; omelettes, pancakes, some sandwiches. There’s nothing weird, foreign or otherwise unfamiliar unless you’ve been living in a cave. It’s good solid, regular breakfast food for regular folk. Which is likely just fine for most. Those looking for free-range, organic eggs, bacon from rare-breed pigs or anything intentionally locally-sourced should walk on by. Both staff and patrons would likely find a request for any of the above a bit odd. This is just regular food for regular folks, and it seems to be working fine for them. After all, people like breakfast.