by Jessica Grajczyk
Breakfast has always been one of my favourite meals. I’m not one to eat a big breakfast everyday, and I’m just as likely as the next person to grab an apple on my way out the door to work, but I really cherish those weekends when my roommate and I roll out of our respective beds and walk around the corner to our favourite neighbourhood breakfast spot.
If it were to be evaluated by fine dining or even just mid-range dining service standards, Theresa’s Eatery on Commercial Drive would probably fail miserably. The staff members are generally unkempt, half-awake, and loudly discussing the previous night’s bender, you have to get your own coffee, water, cutlery and napkin, and you’ll often find yourself wondering aloud if they’ve remembered that you ordered an orange juice. And it’s not like this is some kind of Elbow Room-esque shtick. For lack of a better, not overused description – Theresa’s is, unapologetically, what it is.
The atmosphere is equally sub-par. There is always music playing on crappy speakers from the kitchen and you are lucky if it’s something pleasant like Al Green, but for the most part it’s some kind of ‘screamo’, to which the green haired gentleman bringing your plate to you is enthusiastically head-banging. The walls are adorned with laughably overpriced ‘art’ that could have easily resulted from a failed photography student’s acid trip, and the front counter is spackled with an over crowding of community event posters. A self-proclaimed lesbian-loving knight figurine valiantly perches beside the tip hole at the cash register, commanding a coin or two for his staff. It’s all very charming in a way, and more humourous than anything.
The restaurant is, however, far more than meets the eye. Perhaps it’s the underlying philosophy at Theresa’s that really speaks to my moral being and solidifies its place in my breakfast-loving heart: ‘Worker owned, fair trade, free range, organic, affordable.’ The locals love it, too, which is demonstrated by the line up out the door and lack of seating availability at peak times.
In addition to boasting honorable intentions, Theresa’s serves great food. Most notably it serves the best breakfast potatoes I have ever tasted, and as a breakfast lover, I consider myself somewhat of an authority on the subject. I can mix and match a la carte items to build the breakfast of my dreams, which usually consists of two free-range scrambled eggs, whole grain toast, potatoes (baked with whole cloves of garlic and spiced to savoury perfection), and a side of Roma tomatoes and avocado slices. I top it all off with a bit of hot sauce, some jam on my toast, and a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice. When all is said and done, I’ve spent about $10, which is a small price to pay for breakfast heaven. And if I have to get my own fork and pour my own coffee for that, so be it!
Other offerings include breakfast combos named after the streets in the neighbourhood. The ‘Frances’, for example, consists of cream cheese stuffed French toast with your choice of strawberry or cinnamon topping. The a la carte options include delicious items that cater to a wide range of tastes and sensibilities such as pork maple sausage, vegan tofu scramble, celiac-friendly, wheat-free ginger orange pancakes, and real maple syrup.
There is something for everyone at Theresa’s Eatery, unless of course you take offense to possibly sharing your table with a stranger, or being asked to ‘take a walk on our beautiful Commercial Drive’ if you loiter too long, as the sign at the cash register states. Theresa’s is straight up, there’s no doubt about that, and I love them for it, just as much as I love their tasty potatoes.
1260 Commercial Drive
Mon-Tues 8am-2pm, Wed-Sun 8am-9pm