Diners have gotten a bad name on the culinary scene. People still think of diners the way they’ve been portrayed in the movies or on TV – greasy food with some Southern server yelling, “kiss my grits!”
People hack on Guy Fieri, but one thing he has done is champion the fine work being done by independent restaurants on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.
I’d like to think Fieri would love Paul’s Sub Shop at 4609 Imperial St. in Metrotown. If you blink, you’ll miss it driving by. It’s unassuming and decidedly not fancy.
But it delivers the goods on fresh, amazing diner food. It’s been delivering this quality in Metro Vancouver since 1971 at various locations.
You come in and sit down at one of the, uh, rustic tables and you are visited by the chef who comes out of the kitchen to take your order because there are no servers.
There are no menus either – all of the items are outlined in chalk on a massive blackboard that wraps around the kitchen.
The menu is classic diner food, from burgers to all-day breakfast (the breakfasts I saw being served were enormous) and you can custom-design whatever you want.
I chose a grilled sub because it’s called a sub shop and promises the province’s best subs.
When the chef brought me my plate she dropped it on the table and it went thud because it was so huge. It was like a two-by-four you use on a construction site, only made out of bread and meat.
“Love,” she said in a thick accent. “It’s made with love.”
I’ll say. The bread was thick and fresh, and the mix of meats was piled high, along with plentiful condiments and fresh vegetables.
Sure, it took longer than the stone-faced assembly line you find at Subway, but the veggies don’t look like they were shipped a month ago from the other side of the world. You also get about three times the meat.
It was pure comfort food – long live the diner.
*One note – Paul’s is cash only, which is a little annoying.
DISCLAIMER: The restaurant in question has not compensated me in any way for writing about it. They don’t even know I am writing about them.
Follow Chris Campbell on Twitter @shinebox44.