Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to visit different neighbourhoods in Winnipeg. When I was checking out North End restaurants, Ludas Deli* was one that got my attention.
I had been there several years ago. My friend Travis Unger had worked as the wilderness camp coordinator for Inner City Youth Alive, a Evangelical Mennonite ministry. Inner City Youth Alive is located just across Salter from Luda’s. It’s also home to St. Aidan’s Christian School, which I’ve written about as part of a post on Share Our Strength.
It was brought to my attention to mention the fact that Luda’s uses peanut oil for their deep frying. It is clearly mentioned on their menu, but mentioning it here is a precaution worth taking.
*Ludas without the apostrophe is the algorithm friendly version.
This visit occurred several years before I was writing the blog, but I remembered that it had been a really good breakfast, and figured that a return to Ludas would be a good idea.
Ludas is a small restaurant located in an old house. They have however, crammed in a lot of tables into this small space maximizing the number of dining spaces available. I also like that Ludas has one table that is a one-top. As a single diner, I’m not sure of any other places that offer such a thing. The service is table service, and much like Newcastle restaurant, coffee is self-serve from a drip machine(refills are $.50)
Ludas is located on Salter Street, meaning that it’s right on a bus route. However, that bus route is a fair walk from my home, so I took the Sargent bus. It stops on Main Street, at Aberdeen, which means it’s about a three block walk from there to the restaurant. My first visit I went hoping to arrive on time for breakfast. The hours are from 7:30 am until 2:00 pm. Fortunately, breakfast is served all day. Ludas, like a lot of restaurants that focus on breakfast offers a breakfast special, that is one price before 11 am, and a slightly higher price after 11 am. I arrived after the 11 am cutoff, but the post 11 am breakfast price is still quite good.
Normally I order bacon as my meat choice when I order breakfast. However, this is a Ukrainian restaurant, so I ordered the Kubasa. instead of bacon. I was really pleased with this. The Kubasa, was good and meaty, and lean without any fatty or greasy flavour to it. The coffee is nothing remarkable, but it’s what you would expect a traditional sort of diner.
There is a definite family atmosphere to the restaurant. This is apparent among the staff and among the customers. On all three visits there were a lot of people who clearly came on a regular basis, and who shared family stories when they visited.
Ludas also the sort of place whether the owners are willing to have a little fun, and let their sense of humour show through on the walls of the restaurant. There are a few pictures on the wall, including one of Burton Cummings. Most though, are pictures of the family that owns and runs the restaurant.
My next visit came on a Monday. This was again at lunch time, but the restaurant wasn’t quite as busy as it had been on the weekend. Sandwiches are something that I associate with deli’s, and I ordered accordingly. I also added a soup to go with my sandwich. I wanted something different that sandwich and fries. The soup of the day was a tomato beef barley.
This time I sat at the counter by the Salter Street window. This is the brightest location in the restaurant, where the natural light coming through the windows sets off some of the dark wood tones of the room. My soup came nice and hot, and as you can see, if you look closely at the picture, there are nice dots of fat on the top. Fat equals flavour, and this soup was full of flavour, as well as containing a good broth to solids ratio.
The sandwiches here are offered à la carte, with fries, salads, etc. all being extra. The sandwiches themselves run from about $5.00 to $6.95. Having ordered the soup, I only ordered a sandwich didn’t bother with a side. I ordered the corned beef. I think it was a good decision not to order another side beyond the soup. The sandwich came stacked with almost more meat than the bread could contain. The meat was great, and the hot mustard added a nice little kick to the sandwich that made it all the more enjoyable. This time around I went with a can of root beer to go along with the rest of the meal.
I kept it simple as far as my sandwich goes. However, the word on the street is that their Reuben is the number one sandwich on offer.
Ludas Deli for a Burger
My first time visiting the lace for lunch I found myself torn between wanting to order a sandwich or, what the menu describes as, “our famous specialty burgers.” In the end I thought the best way to deal with this was to make a third trip to the restaurant and give the burgers a try. Plus, I hadn’t tried the pierogies, and one can’t review a Ukrainian restaurant without trying the pierogies.
I went again on a Saturday, and arrived not long before they closed for the day. Despite this, the restaurant was packed. Fortunately, they have that one-top table, and I was able to take a seat there. I may have been able to wedge myself into the counter, but I like my personal space, so the single-seater table is great for me.
I ordered the bacon cheeseburger, because, bacon. The burger came served on a roll, with plenty of bacon, cheese, and onion. I ordered it with all the toppings. This is a real good burger. The patty is nice and thick. It’s well-cooked. Slightly beyond pink, but not overdone. The burger tastes of burger, and not filler. The bacon was nice an crisp and I enjoyed the crunch of the raw onions. Definitely a burger I would return for at any time.
The pierogies are available in a full order of six, or a half order of three. I went with the six, but if I would order the three. Each of the pierogies came filled with a delicious thick potato and cheese filling that came bursting out when you cut into them. By the end, it was a bit of a struggle to get through all six.
Portion sizes at Ludas are very generous. I found it amusing on my third visit. I was sitting by two people who were visiting the restaurant for the first time, and who seemed genuinely upset that the half order of fries that they had received was almost the same size as another customer’s full sized order. They were still upset after paying, when they indeed were able to confirm that they had only paid for a half order. If only everything worked on the principle of giving you value+ for all of your purchases.
Ludas is one place you need to go to as soon as you get a chance. These sorts of restaurants are a dying breed and should be kept alive as best we can.