4.5 stars (out of 5)
We first visited the AOK, hidden away on a side street near the financial district, very early on our “Spoon Tour”. In fact, it was June 2010, just a month in. I forgot to review it at the time, but vaguely recall being slightly underwhelmed. However, after visiting over 100 breakfast places in search of great “greasy spoon breakfasts”, we scheduled a re-visit and I can say that this place stands out for authenticity and food.
The three of us had eggs (3), either over easy or sunny side up, and they were prepared nearly perfectly. The home fries were chunky, crisp and neither over- nor under-cooked, and I’m told the bacon was just crisp enough, and tasty. The coffee was average diner fare, but at 1.05, including 1 free refill, fairly priced.
What really sets this place apart is the authenticity. Preparation and service was handled by 3 men, and I was told by one of them (an owner?) that they had been running it for 30 years, but that the restaurant had been there since the 50’s. The Avenue Open Kitchen wears it’s age proudly, and is clean and in good repair. A half a dozen booths fit 4 people each, while a 12 stools at the counter complete the seating. The grill, fryer and all the prep tools are in full view. It’s an “open kitchen”, after all!
With the recent closing of People’s Food, true old diners are fewer and further between. Avenue Open Kitchen, you are a requirement of anyone searching out cheap, greasy spoon breakfasts in Toronto.
They also serve home made rice pudding, and on our way out we saw a huge pan of freshly made macaroni and cheese, browned on top. Mmmmm. Too soon to go back for lunch?