1645 Queen Street West
brunch for two with all taxes, tip and coffee: $42 (cash and debit only)
I was a big fan of Easy for the first few years after they opened back in 2000 or so. It was a favourite brunch spot for me until an unfortunate incident when a really stupid and obnoxious customer chose to change a baby’s shitty diaper on their table while people around them looked on in horror. Despite the fact that the food was always great, and the service was always friendly, the stupid obnoxious customer really ruined Easy for me, and on weekend visits after that, the restaurant always seemed to be full of kids, which really turned me off.
A recent visit reminded me that the food and service is still top-notch, but the stroller brigade continues to maintain a presence, although patrons with kids don’t seem to let their progeny run around like it’s a daycare centre, as is the case with other brunch places in the ‘hood. The childfree should be forewarned of screeching, but there is a considerably lower risk of coming in contact with jammy little hands. And a change table in the loo has hopefully thwarted any potential for a reenactment of “that fateful day”.
People don’t really think of Parkdale as being a foodie paradise. And yes, if you’re looking for high-end health food items, organic meat or artisanal bread or cheese, you’d be mostly out of luck. But as one of the most multi-cultural neighbours in one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world, we’ve got a lot of variety working in our favour.
Most folks tend to think of the ‘Dale as a low-end neighbourhood full of nothing but greasy spoons and burger joints. For sure, we’ve got two of the best. The Gate (1206 King Street West) sits at the corner of King and Dufferin and offers up filling breakfast, burgers and some damn fine fish and chips. Peggy, the waitress who’s been working the tables here since the late 60s when she came to Toronto to be a go-go dancer, tells regulars to help themselves to coffee. Further west along Queen, The Skyline (1402 Queen Street West) is about as retro as you can get in terms of diners, with that famous neon sign out front, and fast and efficient service inside from the flurry of activity that is Doris, once voted “best waitress in Toronto”. Other places that serve up a mean burger or all-day breakfast includes Harry’s Burgers (160 Springhurst Avenue) and Stavros (1530 Queen Street West).