RIP - This location is NOW CLOSED
This past weekend was a bit of a reunion for me and my best friends from high school (Ricky Brad and Amanda, minus Dude who's in China). We've all been doing some moving around this year, but now we are pretty much settled. As I am back to the centre of the universe (Toronto), my place is the perfect meeting ground as Rick comes from the East and Bramanda from the West.
We spent the weekend chiling, eating, catching up, eating, playing Star Trek Scene It, eating, going to the movies, eating, and uh, oh ya eating. We were all over the map - pizza, Korean BBQ, waffles, sushi. All good fare, but our quest for a simple, cheap brunch led us all across my neighborhood Sunday morning. We went to a familiar diner we enjoy. Problem: huge line up. So we went to another restaurant - it turned out to be too expensive, limited menu and no breakfast. So we decided to try another diner. Johnny Rockets, new to the neighborhood since I left. It looked fun and kitschy from outside, so we took a chance.
Found in super-structure that was once called Metropolis, then changed to the Toronto Life Building, and is now known as 10 Dundas East, the building is a monstrosity. It includes an AMC with 24 sceens, 2 restaurants, Future Shop, food court and a plethora of other stores. Johnny's is at street level and it seemed like the perfect choice for our group. They were just opening up, making us the first patrons of the day.
Inside was like taking a trip back in time to 1950's America. At least what TV, movies and other diners have told me what 1950's America looked like. Silver metal, Coke-red seats, pull up straw dispensers and juke boxes.
And not just the big juke box, there were the mini ones where you can pick a song for just $.05 (if you can figure out how to work it).
You also get an awesome waiter, dressed like an old fashion soda jerk, who's motto seemed to be service service service. I forgot his name, but he did a great job checking in on us, bringing anything we needed or drink refills.
We looked over the menu, and while the crew was looking for breakfast, this diner doesn't do breakfast. That was a little surprising for a diner. We scanned over the menu and saw things like the $6+ milkshakes (John Travolta must be rolling over in his grave). I did see wings on the menu, and yes I did get wings, but we'll come back to that later (wings were on the menu in the 50's right?). But we did all get some variation on the burger.
Above is Ricky's Patty Melt: "Grilled onions and American & Cheddar cheeses on grilled Rye Bread." Essentially a burger sandwich.
Amanda went with the Streamliner, the vegetarian burger. She liked it, describing the Boca burger as one of the best vegetarian burgers she has ever had.
Brad and I both went with the Bacon Cheddar Single - a single patty with cheese, apple wood smoked bacon, special sauce and standard veggie toppings.
This was a really good burger. The toppings were all fresh and very crisp. The bacon and the beef patty were very tasty, and the special sauce (Mac Sauce . . . ?) just made the burger. The fries were decent - frozen, but good. Crispy outside, pillow-soft potato inside.
And I saw wings. I wanted the burger, but I just couldn't say no to wings. So a small order it was.
The wings come in orders of 6 or 12. The sauces aren't listed on the menu for some reason, so it was word of mouth from our server. They came out really quick after ordering and the male omnivore's at the table dove in.
The wings were not very long, but they were very big and very meaty. It was a tender piece of chicken, but the skin was very crispy. Yes there was a lot of breading - but it actually enhanced the wings, The flour breading also maintained its structural integrity considering these were very saucy wings.
There were 3 sauces to choose from: mild, hot and BBQ. I just went with the classic hot. As I said, the wings were quite saucy - each wing perfectly coated with enough sauce left over that you had to lick you fingers after each one.
Hot was not hot. At all. I didn't expect it too at such a' family friendly' establishment. Besides, people back in the 50's America didn't eat too spicy did they? The sauce had a relatively mild flavour, that was more sweet than anything. I wasn't a huge fan. I mean it wasn't terrible, but not super tasty either. It really need a much larger zing factor.
I think we were all really pleased with the wing. Ricky mentioned this was what he expected when we ordered from 3 Brewers a few weeks ago.
FINAL SCORE: The burgers were good (big, fresh, tasty). The service was great (free refills, friendly, and how can you not like our ketchup smile he brought us for our fries). The wings on their own were good (meaty and crispy, but the sauce needs an overhaul.). If only we could get 1950's prices . . . 6.5/10
10 Dundas East, Toronto ON (and other locations)