Restaurants & Bars

B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Lucy's Eastside Diner - Main street's latest boho-pomo diner


Restaurants & Bars B.C. (inc. Vancouver)

Lucy's Eastside Diner - Main street's latest boho-pomo diner

tangentdesign | | Sep 29, 2010 11:31 AM

Years ago, Main Street was alive with truck stop cafes/greasy spoons offering serviceable, basic food to working people in need of uncomplicated, inexpensive meals. Spring forward to the present and we've now got themed restaurants based on the idea of an old fashioned diner, furnishing a trip down someone else's memory lane, and providing greasy spoon simulacra for urbanites. Slickety Jim's was an early pioneer of this self-conscious retro ambience, but a fire did them in last year (although rumour has it that they're coming back to Main Street soonish). Filling in the gap at Main and 11th is the latest attempt to make the old new - Lucy's Diner. Compared to Slickety Jim's, which essentially suffocated you with eclectica, Lucy's restrains itself with a version of the 1950s as imagined by Ikea. The space is small, even cramped. Most of the seating is around the bar with a couple of tables in the front and a couple in the hallway in the back. I don't think anyone goes to a themed restaurant expecting to be blown away by the food and, unfortunately, Lucy's does very little to confront this preconception. All the trucker standards are there on on the menu - mac n cheese, fried chicken, tuna melt, all day breakfasts, burgers - and it has to be said that the pricing is fair enough for what's on offer, cheaper than you might expect, even. I had the everyday burger deal, which give you a burger, fries and a milkshake for $10. All the breakfast items, soups, sandwiches, entres - are less than $10. In fact, there's nothing on the menu over $10. Now, this can be a little deceiving once you start enhancing your order with add-ons and drinks, which seem disproportionately priced compared to the mains. A simple burger will cost a perfectly reasonable $6 but add in some bacon and cheese and you're now looking at $9.50. Pop and shakes go for $3 to $5 and old fashioned apple pie goes for $4.50 . Our waitress told us the place is running 24 hours a day (quite a rarity in Vancouver), and they have a full liquor licence, so it's possible that the food will be taking a back seat to the drinks and what we have here is a themed bar with food on the side. Judging by the burger and shake deal, there's nothing innovative going on here foodwise; I believe the intention is to give you exactly what you would expect to get had you travelled back in time and set foot in one of the original restaurants that Lucy's is based on. This is not great news for those familiar with culinary standards of the time. I was hoping for a modern twist, or some ingredient upgrades, but there's no evidence of this. I'd say it's worth a visit if you want to enter the meta-narrative of post-modern, old-school, historical revisionism. Or if you want a cheap burger at a place that won't ask you if you want fries with that.

- Paul

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