NEAR: Gale’s Snack Bar

6 Jan

Gale's Snack Bar

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 Snack Bar Interior

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.

Hot Dog and Fries for $2.50! It seriously reminded me of those Hot Dog Fridays in Elementary School.

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.

Gale's Snack Bar Menu...the prices still remain in the 80s. (Not complaining.)

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.


6 Responses to “NEAR: Gale’s Snack Bar”

  1. Katie Boué January 15, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

    Sounds like my kind of diner – and that price just can’t be beat. I began reading this post with bated breath hoping the restaurant would miraculously be located here in Denver, but I guess I’ll just have to make a trip up to Toronto to sample those crispy, crunchy, delicious-looking fries.


    Katie Boué

    • nearafar January 15, 2012 at 8:51 pm #

      Thank you! No, half my blog is about my adventures in my hometown in Toronto but if you’re ever here and have time to really discover a local place this is it. It’s quite out of the way so I’d make sure you have your coordinates before you come here. Luckily, I was able to find out when they’re open. The fries were great and well worth the price (well everything on the menu is worth the price!).

  2. momwhoruns January 15, 2012 at 9:54 pm #

    Im glad you finally got to try it.

  3. David S. January 18, 2012 at 3:59 pm #

    Thanks for the review. This place was on our list of Greasy Spoons to visit (see my blog), but the hours were so sketchy, we couldn’t count on it being open. I drive by it often, as it’s on one of my commonly-traveled routes, and seeing the “Open” sign is basically a flip of the coin.

    You got lucky(?) 😉

    Those fries look great, though!

    • nearafar January 19, 2012 at 2:51 pm #

      I did get lucky! I think it’s why I hadn’t gone for so long. The owner didn’t want to put up the hours because he doesn’t open and close precisely at those times. I didn’t go at lunch so I know I didn’t really get to see the atmosphere I was hoping for. That said, there were still some characters and yes, the food prices are just…staggering. I really do wonder how these guys stay in business but they have the customers coming so they’re doing something right.

  4. Diner Dave January 23, 2012 at 11:57 am #

    Reblogged this on Breakfast in Toronto and commented:
    When we first planned our “Spoon Tour”, Gale’s Snack Bar was on the list and we looked forward to checking it out. Unfortunately, it isn’t open Monday mornings at 9:30 (one or our requirements), so we had to take it off the list. Well, wait no more for a review…I’ve let Natalie of NEAR. AFAR. do the heavy lifting!

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