Old-school Vancouver diners

In food-obsessed Vancouver, it’s easy to forget our humble culinary roots. But a few greasy spoons across town are reminding us that a down-home meal and a bottomless coffee, served with a smile (or the occasional sneer) still go a long way to making us feel nostalgic for simpler times.

The Templeton

1
1087 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1L4

Vegetarianism likely wasn’t popular in the 50s, but that’s not stopping this nostalgic downtown diner from offering loads of veggie options on its all-day menu. From veggie bacon in the morning to vegan lentil loaf at night, eat organically and healthily while still getting your jukebox and spinning barstool fix. There’s also plenty of burgers and real bacon, to wash down with a creamy classic milkshake. Old cartoons play on the big screen, booths are roomy and Mars Bars are deep-fried.

Deacon's Corner Diner

2
101 Main St, Vancouver, BC V6A 2S5

Once the realm of Downtown Eastsiders and cops from the local shop, Deacon’s has of late been taken over by a more “Gastown” clientele. This large-dining-room, large-menu, large-portion diner takes its inspiration from the deep South. Biscuits and gravy, grits, fried chicken and pulled pork round out a menu of other classics, including their all-day breakfasts, which come with cornbread. As you pay up at the counter, pick up a sweet white and brown Deacon’s Corner coffee mug, too.

Bon's Off Broadway

3
2451 Nanaimo St, Vancouver, BC V5N 5E5

Who says cheap eats don’t exist in Vancouver any more? Down-home, rough and tumble, Bon’s Off Broadway (on Nanaimo) is a no-nonsense greasy spoon serving up eggs, bacon, toast and hash browns with bottomless coffee or pop refills all day long. All this for $2.95? Soup and sandwich for $3.75? Enough said.

Save On Meats

4
43 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G4

A long-time Vancouver institution, the city rejoiced when local restaurateur Mark Brand took over the Save-On-Meats space, complete with rotating piggy, and promised to restore it to its former glory. Once again a working butcher shop as well as a diner that employs residents from the DTES, these guys are known for their corned beef hash, boozy milkshakes and never turning anyone in need away. Sit back, take in the neo-retro posters and oh, turn off your phone — house rules.

ACME Cafe

5
51 Hastings St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 1G4

Another destination diner in the DTES, Acme has people lining up down West Hastings waiting for a table. Breakfast is delicious, with baked eggs, homemade preserves and strong Americanos, but stop in for lunch or dinner when line-ups are gone and portions are generous. But don’t let the big plates deter you from getting a side of mac ‘n’ cheese with your main; like soup or salad, it’s one of your choices, taking this diner experience up one notch.

Lucy's Eastside Diner

6
2708 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E8

A favourite among night owls roaming the streets of Mount Pleasant, 24-hour Lucy’s may be tiny but it sure doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to the food. Sure, there’s hot dogs, burgers, BLTs and other classics. But there’s also a hoagie with mac ‘n’ cheese and meatloaf and The Angry Bird — eggs wrapped in bacon and then in meatloaf. Pair with a root beer or a boozy shake and you’ve got a meal, any time of day.

Nice Cafe

7
154 8th Ave E, Vancouver, BC V5T 1R7

Sweet service, bare-bones décor, tables of regulars and simple, cheap food — all markers of your friendly neighbourhood diner and on display here. Egg, chicken and tuna salad sandwiches are cut in triangles and best with a cup of soup or salad. Breakfast is served all day (until 4 pm). Burgers are hot off the griddle and unadorned. Coffee is endless and hash browns are shredded and golden. This sweet little spot in Mount Pleasant lives up to its name.

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