In the continuing update of My Restaurant Resolutions of 2012, I decided to visit Gale’s Snack Bar, a diner that has been around for over 40 years in Toronto and is evident by its dilapidated exterior. It’s never changed and once you go inside, you can see why. I also wrote my review on Yelp.
I’m giving this place four stars just for atmosphere alone. It actually deserves an extra half star for its price.
HOURS: Mon-Fri: 10-6 (give or take); Saturday: Noon-5. Closed on Sundays.
No website. No phone.
Gale’s isn’t exactly central. Located at Eastern and Carlaw, it’s downright intimidating to come here even for a local. It really does look like one of those places where motorcycle gangs hang out (do those still exist?). To add to the “should I come here?” question are their hours. I couldn’t find them anywhere online nor do they have a phone number so it’s kind of a crap shoot coming here.
Luckily, they were open and I immediately got transported back to 1965 (that’s how long they’ve been open). It smelled musty. The smell was a mix of fuel and batter. It is your typical diner. Old pepsi signs; booths; stools at the counter; and “American Pie” playing on the sound system.
Ida immediately greeted me and smiled and from there,my fears dissipated. We had a good conversation about the diner. Then her friends came in and started reading her passages from the Bible.
I admit I was being a bit snobbish about the food. So I erred on the safe side and got fries and a hot dog. The hot dog is basically boiled from the pack they got from the grocery store and I was asked if I wanted relish and mustard (both please!). The fries were a hefty portion and home cooked. I loved that she asked me if I wanted malt vinegar. I couldn’t finish my portion.
And on the vintage cash register, the grand total came up to $2.50. $2.50! Amazing.
OBLIGATORY CATCHY REMARK
It’s not fancy. It’s not the best food. But there’s a lot of heart here. And for those prices and history, I really hope they’re around for another 40 years.