Restaurants Reviews and Such

Wanabees: A-List Eatery

For many years, I was under the impression that Wanabees diner on Broadway was closed.  This was due to lack of information my part.  The knowledge I lacked was that Wanabees is a breakfast and lunch joint.  It seemed that I always went by at a later time.  Fortunately, when I was at the Raw:Almond brunch, the people I shared my breakfast with me told me otherwise.

Wannabees advice
Finally, a poster that gives sound advice on the proper place of fruit in the diet.

May 2, 2019
It’s been over five years since I last went to Wanabees. This morning I got up in the mood to go for breakfast. I wasn’t sure where I would end up, but as I was walking by the corner of Ellice and Sherbrook, the bus that goes up along Broadway was coming by so I decided that I would grab that bus and stop off at Wanabees.

Wanabees Hours
Monday – Saturday: 7am ish to 2  pm ish
Sunday: Closed

Wanabees Menu
This is the breakfast side of the men. The lunch menu is on the back.

Not much has changed in the five years since the last time I was there. However, it does seem that there are more signs of the type shown above. This makes for an entertaining way to pass the time while you are dining. I mention in my initial review that Karen, the owner, ran a one woman operation. This morning when I went in she had a helper, but she was still doing the majority of the order taking.

Wanabee salt and pepper
Elephant salt and pepper shakers.

She has a good work routine down. After I entered and while I was sitting down she asked whether or not I wanted coffee, and then brought it along with the menu. That allowed me to get right into my morning coffee consuming routine. Along with the variety of posters on the walls there is also a wide variety of salt and pepper shakers throughout the cafe. On my table were the above elephants and (no photo) on the counter right next to my table there were crab salt and pepper shakers as well.

Wanabess get up breakfast
This breakfast will not only get you going, but keep you going for an extended time.

I ordered the 3 egg Get Up breakfast special and added a side of bacon to go with the Kulbasa that I ordered with the meal. There were a few other customers already seated when I arrived. They were waiting for there orders. Despite this, it was not a long wait at all for me before I got my breakfast. 
This is one huge breakfast. I’m sure that the fried potatoes must be made from two or three large potatoes. This is a breakfast to start your day with when you’re not sure when your next meal will come. This will carry you through a very busy day, quite nicely

Wanabees toast
I like it when the breakfast is so large, that the toast has to come on a separate plate.

Despite the owner serving as order taker, cook, and counter staff, she paid close attention to making sure that each and every customer was looked after. I received three or four offers of re-fills on my coffee, and she also came around to make sure that I had enough jam for my toast, and asked if I would prefer peanut butter. 
I’m not sure why I don’t visit Wanabees more often. It’s not really all that far off of my regular route to work in the morning, and as far as breakfast spots go this plays delivers a real good value for your dollar. I heard the owner say to one of the other customers that she had been doing this for 26 years. Here’s to another 26 years of proving that Wanabees is the real deal. Don’t forget though, it’s still cash only, and one of the better arguments against a cashless society.
Happily then, I was able to correct this dining oversight.  This one-woman show, owner Karen Ashley, is everything that you could want in a diner.  Okay, you might wish it was open 24-7, but that’s more than you can expect from one person.  As cook, server, dishwasher and register attendant, Ms. Ashley performs all these activities like a seasoned pro.  No wannabee is the owner of Wanabees.

Dining at Wanabees*

Of course the measure of any good diner is the food it serves.  Here, Wanabees excels. First of all in value.  You can easily get a meal at Wannabees, taxes included for under $10.00.  On top of that, this meal will carry you through the entire day if necessary.  Wannabees hits a home run on the portion size plus low price matrix.

*Take note Wanabees is cash only

That home run becomes a grand slam when you factor in the quality. (sorry about the baseball metaphors, but spring training has started). This is home cooking as it should be.
On a couple of occasions, I’ve tried the breakfast option.  The first time I tried the three egg breakfast.  I also added a side of kulbasa with it.  This was almost more food than I could handle.  I enjoyed the crispy bacon, and the fact that the kulbasa was not greasy. The hash browns were shredded giving them a consistent cook throughout.  As enjoyable as this was, a two egg breakfast without the extra side makes for a more than satisfying breakfast.

A great portion for the three egg breakfast at Wannabees
A great portion for the three egg breakfast at Wanabees

The second breakfast I ordered was the omelet.  This comes with two fillings, I believe mushroom and cheese, but you can add extras for only $.70.  I didn’t ask if the two fillings could be substituted.  I added ham and green onion to mine.  Again, the food was well-cooked.  The eggs were fully cooked and there was no watery character to the inside filling. Another thing I appreciate is that nothing is over seasoned.wannabees-omelet-ham-cheese-mushroom-green-onion
Today when I was in I tried the bacon cheeseburger with fries and gravies.  This is a very good burger.  I liked the fact that I was able to get it with only mustard and onions. There are other options available.  I’ve never been a big fan of a whole lot of toppings on my burgers, though.  The burger was cooked throughout, and took up the whole bun.  I particularly like the fact that the ends of bacon hung over the edge of the bun.
The fries were homemade.  I opted for my gravy on the side as I enjoy the dipping.  However, the fries were well cooked enough that they could have held the burden of the gravy without going soggy.
bacon-cheeseburger-with-fries-and-gravy from WanabeesWanabees CoffeeAs a one person operation, you may find service a little bit slower at Wanabees than at other places.  I say, enjoy it.  While the owner does have her hands full, she keeps tabs very well on the various orders.  If you are really in need of a coffee refill, just get her attention and you’ll soon receive it.  Also, if you find yourself waiting a bit, take the time to check out the signs on the wall or to read the message on the blackboard.  They’re sure to add a little fun to your day.
If you’re like me and didn’t realize Wnnabees was in business, get down there at once and enjoy breakfast or lunch.

By Donald McKenzie

Anglican priest, and food blogger. This blog is focused on Food. It will feature reviews of places to eat books, and the odd recipe. I also write about what it means to gather together around food.