By Jessica Grajczyk
I had low expectations of Bon’s off Broadway’s breakfast, having heard the legends of the $2.95 all day breakfast special, which is great if economics are more important to you than extravagances such as nutrients or flavour. I suppose you sometimes just don’t give a damn and need to shovel some good ol’ greasy food in your belly. I probably would have been a Bon’s regular in my university days, but since then, I’ve become a bit more mindful with my sustenance. That all being said, Bon’s turned out to be charming in its own way.
Things got off to a great start when we walked inside the restaurant to find U2 ‘With or Without You’ playing on the jukebox. The glowing neon beer signs above the bar provided the spotlight as we closed our eyes and broke into our best air Bonos while waiting for our table. We noticed that other patrons and some of the staff were also stirring with memories of broken hearts over broken yolks.
After our silent yet passionate karaoke, we looked around the restaurant and realized that the ‘off Broadway’ part of its name must have implied a connection to the acting profession. Movie posters featuring Steven Seagal, teen pop sensation JoJo, and B-list darlings from every decade were plastered everywhere. Many had been vandalized with stickers and writing, much like the rest of the walls. Reading wall writings of patrons past always gives a heartwarming glimpse into a restaurant’s history, especially the scribbles professing love equations and love for the establishment itself.
My breakfast companion and I admired the walls as we sat at a big, roomy booth (always my preferred breakfast seating scenario). Our waitress brought over our eye-openers in classic white ceramic coffee cups that looked as though they’d replaced the ball in a road hockey game at some point in their lives. I could almost feel the refreshment radiating from the portrait of fruit juices on the juice dispenser at the self-serve beverage refill station – a quirky touch and probably a godsend for the lone waitress doing her best to tackle the Thursday morning brunch rush. Yes, there is a wait for a table on Thursday mornings at Bon’s – a testament to its popularity, especially among construction crews.
A quick perusal of the menu begged some important questions. Free range eggs? No. Multigrain bagels? No. Avocado? No. Brown sugar? No. By this point in our barrage the waitress looked like she wanted to drag us into the middle of Nanaimo Street by our yuppie necks. I decided to just give in and order a mushroom and cheese omelet with potatoes and toast, which was a couple bucks over the special. My companion opted to go a la carte and ordered a bagel and cream cheese with a side of potatoes. When our orders arrived, she was pleasantly surprised that they had managed to find a multigrain bagel. I was slightly miffed at the processed cheese in my omelet. There’s nothing in the natural food world that can quite match the sensation of a salty coating of melted taffy-like stickiness on the roof of your mouth. I would have preferred some real cheddar, but the taste of this cheese was somewhat nostalgic for me as I recalled the grilled Kraft Singles sandwiches of my childhood. I was also sad to learn that among the giant bottles of condiments at each table, there was no hot sauce. Enough HP and ketchup to drown Steven Seagal, but no hot sauce.
After shoveling our breakfasts into our respective mouths as best we could, we downed our DIY coffee refills and picked up the bill, which had been promptly delivered with our meals. Gotta love the efficiency of a high turnover restaurant that makes no bones about getting you out of there as soon as the last potato drops into your gullet. We may have missed the point of Bon’s since we didn’t order the breakfast special and actually ended up paying about $15 altogether for our breakfasts and coffees. If I’m going to pay that much I might as well go to a place where they serve my preferred breakfast items. Cheap breakfast fail. The atmosphere, however, may have been worth the price.
Bon’s off Broadway
2451 Nanaimo Street