Not long ago we were back to the GTA for a family function, but the night before we decided to go out for dinner. We thought we would try someplace I have never been, but my wife did when she was in high school, Melanie Pringles.
I really want to know the history of Melanie Pringles. Who was she? Was she a real person? I have no answers. Why is this retro diner in a strip mall named the way it is?
Here's what I can tell you, this place is like a 50-60's diner. Neon lights, 50's music, jukeboxes at the table. They even have a Star Trek pinball machine (its the 2009 Star Trek, but hey, what can you do?). The restaurant seemed old - I mean retro yes, but old like the carpet is long past when it should have been replaced. A little stale and in needing of a big cleaning.
They have a huge menu - something for everyone. Sandwiches, burgers, pasta; they've got it all. We were there on a Saturday night and they had a rib special on - a full rack for $18 but no vegetables (just the side of potato and coleslaw). That kinda sounded good, but I was pretty sure I was having ribs the next night, so I went with the wings.
Several people had wings that night at various tables. I had a small red flag go off as we were being seated and I saw a customer decline to have her 5 or so uneaten wings packaged to go. Was something wrong with them?
They have a ton of wing flavours - quite a few BBQ sauces and dry rubs. It was a tough choice. I also saw on another part of the menu they had Wings & Caesar Salad. That sounded perfect actually.
The wife and the father-in-law both went with the rib special, but he got the Roasted Garlic & Honey Sauce and she went with the regular BBQ. The ribs were a huge slab and they were well sauced. They were very tender with the meat just falling off the bone. I tried the regular BBQ sauced ribs and the sauce was good (they both preferred the Roasted Garlic & Honey) but the grilled aspect of the ribs tasted like a propane-like 'fire'. They told me the sides were fine.
My food came and I was pretty happy with my choice. I found it interesting that my salad came in a little frying pan.
I liked my Caesar Salad. It was chocked full of real bacon, croutons and grated Parmesan cheese. The dressing was tasty, but it was described on the menu as being creamy and this was a very runny dressing. I was happy there was a lot of dressing, but it was just too watery.
The usual wing order says it comes with celery and carrots as well as house dip, but mine didn't. I'm assuming it's because I got the salad version, and the double veggies would be too much?
The wings come as a pound, which was about 8 wings in my case. You can have Dusted (which I did), Buffalo Style (which I think they mean just naked fried), or boneless.
The wings are about a medium in length, but they are a pretty meaty wing. This is where the 8 wings become a pound because they don't look big until you pick one up.
The wings were relatively crispy, with the dusting and deep frying acting like a barrier to the sauce, which didn't prevent the wings from getting soggy, but creating a slight skin rubbery netting. The meat was pretty tender and the wings were pretty well sauced.
I ordered the wings as Buffalo sauced, with a side of suicide, but I just noticed that the wings in the above photo are covered in the Suicide sauce. The Buffalo sauce is very orange and tastes like commercial butter/hot sauce. It's not real, but it tastes tasty enough. But it was even better with the suicide.
The suicide sauce was kind of an upped Buffalo sauce. It had a nice bite to it (more than enough for the regular patron) but it also has a very sour, vinegary kick. I found it paired well with the Buffalo wings.
I liked the wings but didn't love them. Meaty with some sauces I was on board with. The texture was a bit weird. The salad was good, and a generous portion of ribs. The place is a cool diner, but needs some updating. They've got lots of sauces and lots of specials, so that's a plus. Never did find out who Melanie Pringle is though ... 10/15
80 Thickson Road South, Whitby ON