It’s incredible how the weather has turned in Vancouver. The past holiday weekend was rainy and cool, and there was a definite change in the air. Even though it was rainy, we decided to go out for a walk on Saturday morning, umbrellas in hand. Afterwards we decided to stop at one of our favourite breakfast and lunch places, Jimmy’s Place. Our friend Ana introduced us to the place over a year ago, and we've been regulars ever since.
Jimmy’s Place is one of those small, old-fashioned diners that you’d find back in the day, where faces are familiar and the cook says ‘hi’ to you on your way in and ‘bye’ on your way out while he’s frying up some eggs and tossing some hash browns. It’s located in Cariboo Centre in the Coquitlam side of North Road, in a space that’s kind of set back from the regular businesses.
The surroundings are both basic and nostalgic: there are colourful chalkboard menus hanging from the ceiling, an old fashioned cash register (note: this place is cash only), and reddish vinyl booths and green melamine tables. The walls were recently spruced up with large, close-up photographs of the restaurant’s various dishes. The service is similarly basic: you come in, order and pay at the cash register, find yourself a booth, and they’ll bring your food to your table. The (refillable) coffee and water is self-serve, and you pick up your creamers, and utensils at a nearby counter. Each table is equipped with glass salt & pepper shakers, a large sugar dispenser, a small bottle of vinegar (awesome), and a metal napkin dispenser. Even though the place can get quite busy, you never feel rushed. Plus, the booths are cool.
When we arrived the place was pretty empty, but pretty much soon after we sat, the place quickly filled up (I guess the locals are late risers!). What we usually get when we come here is the Pancake breakfast special ($6.95), which is eggs, bacon/or ham/or sausage, hash browns (shredded style), and two large fluffy pancakes. But this time we had more of a hankering for lunch stuff for some reason. I ordered the clubhouse with fries ($10.95) and coffee, and Shane got the Jimmy’s Special burger with fries ($9.95) and tea. The coffee is great here—they have two varieties sitting on hot plates: Tuscan and Regular, and the coffee is not burnt, bitter, weak or too strong. It’s dang good drip coffee. The mugs are great too—they have those old-fashioned, shapely mugs that feel thick and heavy in your hand.
Jimmy’s makes a darn good clubhouse too, and I’m very picky about clubhouse sandwiches. It’s absolutely tragic when the turkey isn’t real turkey, but processed ‘turkey’ meat, or if there is too much mayo, or when the bread is too toasted and/or stale that it scrapes the roof of your mouth raw (I could go on and on...). Trust me, I have had horrible experiences with bad clubhouse sandwiches.
So here’s the deal: Jimmy’s uses real turkey meat, real cheddar cheese, a nicely cooked bacon, crispy iceberg and tomato, and the bread is perfectly toasted where it’s crunchy but still soft enough to eat. They also add special twists to the clubhouse, like with shredding the turkey and cheese, and the addition of a thin slice of ham. They also season the turkey meat with salt and pepper, which is a really great touch. I love this. It’s definitely one of the very best clubhouse sandwiches I’ve had. The fries are also really good, skinless and thick-cut, with a golden crispy outside and a fluffy interior.
The Jimmy’s Special burger comes with bacon and cheddar, along with the usual toppings. Shane loves Jimmy’s burgers and declares it the best (non-gourmet) burgers he’s had. I’m not sure what makes it so good, because the meat is not thick or top quality meat or anything like that. But I think it has to do with the seasonings—unlike a lot of places, Jimmy’s seasons their meat really well, so the burgers are incredibly tasty. All the ingredients are in harmony, and combine to an utter deliciousness. But it’s a messy and juicy burger, Shane advises, so use the paper that they give with the plate to wrap up the burger when you eat it.
The only unfortunate thing about Jimmy’s is that they don’t open on Sundays, or open late for dinner (their hours are 7am to 5pm).
There are places where you feel comfortable as soon as you step in. Jimmy’s is a such a place, the kind you wish never changes and hope will always be there.