This place closed in the last year or so. There was an accident that damaged the building I haven’t heard anything about the possibility of the restaurant re-opening, and that’s kind of sad. Sonya’s is the kind of old-fashioned comfort food restaurant that is slowly disappearing from the landscape.
I’ve recently been reading Starting from Scratch, by Patty Kirk. I’ll be writing a review in the next couple of weeks, but one of the themes is memories and trying to recapture them. When it comes to memories and food, the memories are often not of the food itself. Recently I visited Sonya’s in Elmwood just past Hespeler.
It’s been many years since I had paid Sonya’s a visit. For many years I worked at the Family Foods on Watt and Kimberley, and Sonya’s would be on the bus route as I traveled to and from work. I remember it is as a place for comfort food. Home cooked food that was better than what I cooked at home.
Sonya’s for Lunch
It’s been about a dozen years since I left the grocery store and probably a few more since I last had a meal at Sonya’s. When I walked in not much had changed. It’s clear that the owners have found there niche and will remain in it until they are no longer able to run the restaurant. There is a small town feel to the space. It hearkens back to the day when Elmwood was it’s own city. The one thing I thought might be different is that the hours were 9-2, and it seemed to me that they used to be 9 to about 4:30. One other thing that hasn’t changed is that Sonya’s is a cash only restaurant.
Sonya’s is a mom and pop operation. Mom does the cooking and pop handles all the front of house duties. I came towards end of lunch time, so the restaurant wasn’t as full. I received my menu, and when I placed my order I ordered the soup of the day, Cream of Mushroom, and the Hamburger Steak with dumplings. After taking my order I was told that if I finished my whole plate, the soup would be on the house.
The Hamburger Steak and Dumplings is comfort food at it’s finest. This dish is what got me thinking of memories. It’s rather simple and straightforward. It hasn’t been “elevated” in that cooking show sense, but somehow it’s better than if I had made it myself. It makes me wish that this was what the meals of my childhood had been like. Not that I ate awful food growing up, but somehow it never achieved this level of flavour.
During lunch I noticed that most of the customers seemed to be regulars. This wasn’t surprising as the service was very friendly and welcoming.
Last Saturday I got up early so that I could make a breakfast trip up to Sonya’s before my Vicar of Dibley rehearsal. This time around the place was quite full. As a result, the wait time was quite lengthy. There was still only the husband serving and wife cooking, and the crowd seemed to be a little unexpected.
It also appears that if you are showing up Saturday morning you are coming from the breakfast special. That was all right, because that is what I wanted. I had mine with crispy bacon, scrambled eggs, and hash browns, along with brown toast. The breakfast special was simply okay, with the exception that the crispy bacon was really well crisped up.
When it comes to things not changing the coffee is definitely one item that is old-fashioned. It was dark, strong, and a little bitter. However, it was nice and hot and refilled to last through my breakfast.
Given the hours and location I’m not sure how often I’ll get to Sonya’s. However, it did satisfy a nostalgic urge. A nice trip down memory lane, but also a trip that makes me glad I’ve moved on to other places. Even if you’re not seeking to recreate memories, it’s a place for a good, filling, value filled meal.