I remember when Tommy's was established... I saw the sign and thought "Sweet! A new place! We will have to check it out!". All of that excitement, and yet still, it took the 40-in-40 Adventure to make it there. I guess that's why this adventure has been so great... In all reality, sometimes I miss my "old dependables", but it truly has been great getting to know what I've been missing - and I have certainly been missing the locally owned and operated Tommy's.
Offering all day breakfast, cheap drinks, a 24-hour menu from Thursday to Sunday and daily specials, this little diner definitely appeals to the student crowd - so it is perfectly situated in the "hub" on Princess Street near Barrie Street. The important thing to know, though, is that during our visit, I discovered that whether you are a student or were one in the (what seems like distant) past... or maybe you weren't a student at all... Tommy's is still worth a visit. The atmosphere is pretty fun. The floor is checkered black and white, playing off the black and white booth seats that remind me of the seats in an old car (which car, exactly, I'm not sure... I don't really know much about cars... In reality, it may not be a car I'm thinking of at all!). Look up to the ceiling, and you'll see records that have been painted silver and attached to the ceiling tiles, as well as cool pendant lights that hang,
adding a nice glow to the space. On the walls, neon lights and pieces of art add to the diner atmosphere. All in all, it feels like a space where anyone can feel comfortable to sit and eat, or sit and drink. Luckily for us (or perhaps only for me as I'm not sure anyone else in my group noticed or was as "judgy" as I was to care), our visit was made all the more interesting by two other factors - first, the mix of techno songs playing over the speakers, and second, by the group at the table next to us who very closely resembled the gang here.
The menu surprised me. I'm not sure exactly what I was expecting to be offered, but I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it up to see the amount of variety and the choices available (in my notes, I wrote "very eclectic menu!"). Certainly, there were "typical" things offered - munchies, salads, sandwiches... But I was impressed by how the descriptions made it very clear that even things that are seemingly typical aren't completely typical after all. All in all, there are great options no matter what you happen to be looking for or how hungry you are. (If you're interested in seeing the menu for yourself online, I couldn't find a website, but Tommy's is on Facebook, and their menu can be found there.) Perhaps the only turn-off for the menu was that the pages were sticky... I get it - things get spilled... it just kinda grosses me out a little. Not the end of the world. Also, at some point, someone said "I'd like to point out that this place is 1000 times cleaner than Stooley's, which makes for a much better experience in a similar-style restaurant". True story.
Here's what each of us ordered:
Carrie: Melted Mozzarella BLT wrap: Bacon, lettuce, tomato, mango chipotle mayo, gooey mozzarella sticks and a drizzle of house marinara wrapped in a flour tortilla. Of course, I ordered it with poutine.
Tonia: Chicken Sandwich: Seasoned grilled chicken breast, bacon, herbed havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato and chipotle mayo on a soft grilled ciabatta bun, with a caesar salad.
Samer: Chicken Sandwich with just lettuce and tomato, with a house salad as a side.
Todd: Club Sandwich: Made with smoked turkey, grilled bacon, 12 grain toast, mango chipotle mayo and Canadian cheddar cheese, with a side of poutine.
Shirley: (Glad to have you back, Shirley!!) Taco Salad: Romaine lettuce, seasoned local ground beef, blended cheeses, red onion, green peppers, salsa and sour cream.
While the ordering process was a little disappointing for me (I really wanted the Italian Meatball Melt that was listed on the menu, but found out as the server took our order that they actually don't have it any more... so, I was left to make a quick decision, which isn't very good for someone like me who is a type-a-planner), I was happy with the speed of service and the attentiveness of the staff. Further, I was also happy with the presentation of the food - simple, but fun plates (helped greatly by the red and white checkered paper lining the dishes) made me impressed and eager to eat. Also the hunger. That made me eager to eat. But mostly the presentation... It was great.
And with that, here's what we thought overall:
Carrie: 3.75 forks. I truly believe that had I not had to adjust my plan last-minute, I would have perhaps been happier. I just didn't have time to psych myself up for what I ended up with. Ultimately, the food was good - the poutine was the best part. The sandwich... the "gooey" was not really gooey, and ultimately, as mozzarella sticks cool, they lose more and more gooey-ness, which made them less enjoyable as the evening went on. Actually, later in eating, I forgot it was cheese and thought it was chicken... so... those were kind of weird bites. The homemade mayo was pretty awesome - and again, the poutine was great.
Tonia: 3.5 forks. Tonia really, really enjoyed the sandwich. She thought the mayo was really good, she liked the havarti, and she liked the soft bread with garlic butter. The salad was "neither here nor there".
Samer: 4.5 forks. Samer happily announced that the food at Tommy's was well beyond his expectations. He arrived to Tommy's with doubts, but said "I would definitely come back!". For Samer (who I affectionately like to call "picky boy"), this is a pretty huge statement. I know he wouldn't throw it around for just anywhere.
Todd: 4.75 forks. Todd thought the sandwich was really great, and was happily surprised. Todd liked how there were only 2 slices of bread, and said that the bread was also really good. In Todd's opinion, portion sizes were good and the upgrade to poutine was a good choice - the gravy was definitely enjoyable. Todd would order the same meal again - definitely a sign of a happy customer!
Shirley: 4 forks. Shirley was being more health-conscious than the rest of us with her order of the taco salad, and she was happy with her choice. The salad was was "tasty" and she definitely enjoyed the presentation.
Overall score: 4.1 forks.
For a place where none of us were sure what to expect (and some of us had lower expectations), I'd say that is a pretty awesome score. I would happily pass on a recommendation for Tommy's, and I personally look forward to going back again some time.
Our next "stop" will be take-out from Silver Wok. In an effort to catch up from the Christmas holiday, we are doubling up a couple of weeks - this week will be busy!!