A guide to Metro Vancouver’s best greasy spoons

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      When it comes to breakfast, sometimes simple is best. It’s no secret that Metro Vancouver is dotted with trendy, well curated cafes and elevated brunch spots serving up elevated fare—but if you dig below the surface, there’s also a treasure trove of humble eateries affectionately known as greasy spoons.

      These no-frills establishments (many of them don’t even have websites!) offer an unpretentious breakfast experience that’s also easy on the wallet. Here are some of the best options. 

      Bon’s off Broadway


      This Vancouver breakfast spot has been offering its famous $2.95 breakfast for decades: two eggs, ham or sausage, hash browns, and toast—a meal that is somehow inflation-proof. Located just off of Broadway on Nanaimo, this greasy spoon is perhaps the best known in the city. Its interior certainly has lots of organic character, with walls adorned by graffiti and posters likely put up by patrons. Aside from the renowned breakfast special, Bon’s also boasts menu items like Pancakes 1 High and Pancakes 3 High, along with beer, wine, and a small selection of coolers for anyone chasing down the hair of the dog.

      2451 Nanaimo Street, Vancouver

      Jim’s Cafe


      There’s a reason why Jim’s Cafe, located in uptown New Westminster, has kept its loyal following for so many years. The comfort food here focuses on tradition, with a few simple changes. Among the fan favourites is the Tomato Farmer Breakfast, which is just like the Farmer Breakfast, but with six added slices of grilled or raw tomato for a boost of Vitamin C. The spot also serves up a variety of comfy staples, including pancakes, French toast, egg muffins, and burgers—with pretty much everything on the menu being under $20.

      518 6th Street, New Westminster

      Jimmy’s Place


      This relaxed eatery in Coquitlam (on the Burnaby border) is sometimes known for lineups out the door, as guests must order and pay at the counter, but then can enjoy table service once officially inside. The menu features a range of classic breakfast and lunch staples, including omelettes, pancakes, sandwiches, and burgers. Mainstays are the 2.2.2, complete with two pancakes, two eggs, and two pieces of sausage, ham, or bacon; the special Benedict (a ham Benny topped with grilled mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, and green onions); and the Jimmy’s Special Burger. Most menu items are priced between $7 and $17.

      435 North Road, Coquitlam 

      Amelia Restaurant

      This New Westminster haunt is a favourite among locals and is known for its modest, farm-style ambience. Among the spot’s more uniquely-named menu items is the Strawberry Patch: a stack of French toast slices generously drenched in strawberry sauce, with real chunks of strawberry and whipped cream. The menu’s undisputed star, however, is the Workman’s Special: three eggs, two bacon strips, and two sausages, served alongside pan-fried potatoes and toast. Sure, Amelia offers the classic American diner fare, but the restaurant also doesn’t shy away from what it really excels at—various types of fried rice (shrimp, chicken, and sweet and sour pork among them), and a signature wonton soup.

      640 12th Street, New Westminster

      Northern Cafe and Grill

      https://www.instagram.com/p/C3QQVQIx7RP

      This family-run greasy spoon has been operating since 1949, but likely only in the last decade has it become a hipster haven bringing the eaters in droves. This industrial South Vancouver diner serves up western and Asian comfort food in its second-storey location. The all-day breakfast menu features favorites like Eggs Your Way for $12, which even offers a substitute for avocado instead of meat (fancy!), and the hearty Smoky “n” Eggs for $16, made with smoky sausage, two eggs, shredded fried onion hash, and toast. For those craving Asian-inspired dishes, the menu includes comforting staples like the wonton egg noodle soup for $14, and pork potstickers available by the dozen or half-dozen.

      1640 East Kent Avenue South, Vancouver 

      Deacon’s Corner

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      Alright, alright—this one-time truck stop diner has actually enjoyed a bit of a redux, ever-so-slightly elevating its greasy spoon fare. You’ll still find classic breakfasts on the menu at the Gastown location (there is also a Kits locale, which is temporarily closed due to a fire) but you’ll also see southern-inspired plates like the Chapel Hill and Chicken Biscuit ($18) or the Big Mountie, made up of three thick-cut French brioche slices layered with pulled pork, Swiss cheese, fried chicken, and sunny-side-up eggs.

      101 Main Street, Vancouver

      Argo Cafe

      https://www.instagram.com/p/C3Ies8lxtbX/?img_index=1

      Only serving up breakfast on weekdays from 8am to 11am, this unassuming spot pays homage to its long-standing greasy spoon legacy—offering menu items like the Con Queso (two poached eggs on top of an English muffin, with stewed peppers, cheese sauce, grilled tomatoes, and avocado) or the basic breakfast. Its lunchtime and weekend brunch offerings are a little more refined, thanks to an overhaul by chef Denis Larouche and his brother in-law Kirby Wong in 2004—but that’s a story for another time. 

      1836 Ontario Street, Vancouver

      Truck Stop Cafe


      It’s not just a trendy name—this Clark Drive eatery located on a major truck route really does cater to drivers making a fuel stop. This tiny, all-American (or should we say Canadian) diner serves up all-day breakfast, burgers, and sandwiches with nary a thing on the menu costing upwards of $15.

      1046 Clark Drive, Vancouver

      S2 Cafe House


      Located in the Downtown Eastside, this cafe rivals Bon’s off Broadway in its affordability. Simple breakfasts will set you back just over $5, while Chinese mains like chicken chop suey nod to the owners’ expertise. 

      874 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

      Fraser Park Restaurant


      Situated in a Burnaby industrial area off Marine Drive, this restaurant isn’t easily accessible by transit—but it’s worth the cost of an Evo ride. While some private seats are available, the dining area is mostly made up of communal tables where you can get to know other diners. The star attraction of the menu is undoubtedly the German Breakfast: three eggs scrambled with sauteed peppers, onions, and cheese, accompanied by sausage, bacon, ham, a house-made potato pancake, and toast. Make it “deluxe” with schnitzel and gravy for a humble $3.50. 

      4663 Byrne Road, Burnaby

      Helen’s Grill


      This Riley Park haunt is a mainstay, exuding vintage charm (there’s even a jukebox) while serving up diner fare and some Greek favourites. There’s a Simple Breakfast—yes, it’s actually called that—for $15, plus boozy milkshakes and Caesars to cure the hangover you likely earned at the Biltmore the night before.

      4102 Main Street, Vancouver

      Laura’s Coffee Shop

      Laura’s Coffee Shop has been running strong for decades with quiet confidence, hardly even switching up its (now) retro decor—hey, why mess with a good thing? The modest spot still offers up simple breakfast sandwiches (and clubhouses, too), along with Chinese and Japanese-style fried rice dishes. Here, you can get a whole meal and a drink and slap $15 on the table—including tip.

      1945 Manitoba Street, Vancouver

      The Hide Out Diner


      Greek and Italian eats dominate the menu here—unless, that is, you’re popping by for breakfast. We appreciate The Hide Out’s sturdy morning menu, which includes The Standard: two eggs with a choice of lamb sausage, hickory bacon, or fried ham with hashbrowns and toast for $12.99. That’s a standard we could get used to.               

      1951 Glen Drive, Vancouver

      Ovaltine Cafe

      https://www.instagram.com/p/C3Vhxilxn-q

      This Downtown Eastside eatery has been operating since the 1940s, whipping up all-day breakfast from 8am to 3pm daily. You’ll find the classic breakfast here (two eggs; natural pork sausage, bacon, country ham, or grilled tomato; home fries; toast) for a tenner, or a simple yet delicious stack of plain pancakes. Look for the neon sign out front and step into a time capsule of the all-American breakfast experience.

      251 East Hastings Street, Vancouver

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