Built back in 1948, The Bus Terminal Diner has been an institution at Coxwell and Danforth for almost 70 years, so it was time for an update in both food and appearance.
But don’t worry – new co-owners Kevin Wallace, Steve Dutaud and Tim Dutaud have kept the place true to its roots.
After all, there are decades of loyal customers that have come to expect things a certain way. Wallace says, “People were clamouring before we even opened up.” Dutaud, who lives in the ‘hood, was here four or five times a week for seven years. When it went up for lease, he was one of the first in line to take over.
Re-opened at the end of 2016, the partners refined the menu and put the focus on fresh ingredients, while still maintaining the restaurant's authentic diner feel.
The menu features a big serving of affordable diner classics ($15.95 and under), including all day breakfasts ($5.95-$11.95), sandwiches ($7.95-$12.95), salads ($9.95-$13.95), mains ($8.95-$15.95), sides and desserts, with daily specials as well.
Everything’s made to order and while there are lots of comfort food classics like Grilled Cheese ($7.95-$9.95) and Spaghetti & Meatballs ($12.95), there are healthier selections as well, including Cream of Wheat ($5.95), Green Quinoa Salad Bowl ($13.95), and Seared Salmon ($15.95).
This being a family place, there’s also a kid’s menu, with items like Silver Dollar Pancakes ($5.95) and Pasketti ($7.95).
Soon to come: authentic Lac Saint-Jean Tourtiere (Dutaud is from Quebec) and Rotisserie Chicken.
Booze is available after 11:30 am in the form of Bloody Caesars ($5.95), Mimosas ($6.95), and a variety of beer ($4.96-$6.95).
You can also enjoy a “good glass of wine,” says Wallace, who pours a 2015 Cote-de-Rhones ($8.95) that’s “in-between a Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and a real crowd-pleaser.”
Dutaud was a bartender back in the day at Kultura and is known for his deft hand with the classics like Manhattans and Negronis, as well as his twist on a Caesar that includes red wine, jalapeno, and a balsamic drizzle. They arrive in fantastic mid-century cocktail glasses that he’s carefully curated and collected.
After more than six decades, the coffee here needed a vast improvement – even regulars said it was bad – so a new espresso machine was brought in to ensure you always get a good cuppa, no matter what the time of day.
Fixtures & Fittings
While there have been some upgrades and changes, Wallace and Dutaud were careful to keep the location that was famously in 50 Cent’s “Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" film, recognizable and comfortable for the regulars.
Booths were reupholstered, new lights were installed, and a take-out window was added, making it easy to pick up a meal on your way to or from Coxwell Station next door.
A mixture of photos of the area from the ‘50s-‘70s and wall of Canadian icons including Lorne Greene, John Candy and Bruno Gerussi add to the homey, diner feel.
While the colourful spot is full of stimulating visuals ( red-and-white checkered floor, and a large dragon’s head at the entrance, for instance ), perhaps the best feature other than the bright, comfy metallic teal tuck-and-roll booths, is the vintage menu with old pricing above the cash that people still try to order from.
Off the Menu
Cobb Salad ($12.95)
Thick chunks of freshly cooked chicken, bacon, hard-boiled eggs, thinly sliced avocado, lettuce, tomatoes, chives, and crumbled blue cheese are served with an addictive, tangy housemade ranch dressing.
A 6-oz. beef burger (a veggie option is also available) containing no fillers, is topped with lettuce, tomato, relish, mayo, mustard and raw onion. Additional cheddar ($1.25) and bacon ($2.95) can be added. Served with crispy, not-too-salty fries and coleslaw with a touch of mustard in the dressing.
A sky-high serving of housemade beef meatloaf, studded with shredded carrots and onion, is accompanied with seasonal fresh veg, mashed potatoes and gravy. A diner classic made modern. Bonus: This “Blue Plate Special” is served on the most stunning vintage “Blue Willow” Japanese plate from the ‘30s or ‘40s.
Dine-in and take-out available.
Head Honchos: Kevin Wallace, Tim Dutaud, and Steve Dutaud
Behind the Stove: Chef de Cuisine Dean Testa
Map It: 1606 Danforth Ave. (at Coxwell)
Visiting Hours: Open 8am-8pm daily
Phone It In: (416) 463-4680
How Cool is This?! Get a souvenir tee with the diner’s logo and “I Heart EY” that embraces the broader term for the area.
Check out our Facebook page for more photos.