I recently had the chance to go visit the famed Golden Star burger joint. I’m not the biggest burger fan but I know a good one from a bad one.
Golden Star has been an institution since 1964. Just north of Steeles it straddles the border of North York and Thornhill. Walking in is a throw back in history with melmac, plastic baskets for food and cash only. The only thing they are missing are the styrofoam cups.
If there ever was a Toronto contender for Diner Drive-ins and Dives, Chew Chew’s Diner fits the bill perfectly. Chew Chew’s Diner definitely deserves to have a line-up like other brunch places but thankfully when we went there wasn’t one. The place was still packed though and we took the second last spot right near the caboose.
Oh where to start with I Went to Philly. Let’s start with the food. There was already a fair amount of buzz around the city about the opening of Toronto’s first “authentic” Philly cheese steak joint. The only thing close that I have had that would be a measuring stick would be the philly cheese steaks from the “Great Canadian Steak and Potato Company” and an episode of the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”. From the references, the first one was way off and the second pretty much spot on if I could taste through a TV screen.
We got our sandwiches and fries to go. They held up very well on the short trip back home. Our order was one very simple cheese steak with nothing but provolone cheese, and peppers on top of the requisite steak. The other sandwich was “The Works” which had the sauteed onions, mushrooms, cheese, steak. One order of fries was plain and the other covered in cheez whiz (just the right amount of cheez whiz). The promo special of the night was order any sandwich and get a free large fries. Well with two sandwiches 1 large fry to share would have been plenty for both of us. It was a decent promo though. Dinner came to just under $20 but expect to be a bit more when for two if you throw in drinks. All sandwiches also come with a pickled cherry bomb pepper. Now these are hot, but compliment the sandwich and just a cool add-on.
Now. Let’s get to the actual food. The first was one of the revolutionary food moments. That moment when you have just had something so unique, so in harmony with all the flavours and textures, like it was just meant to be. The closest thing I can describe it to was the first time I tried “Banh Mi Boyz”. It is just so unique it’s hard to capture it in words. You just have to find out for yourself. Needless to say we polished these off super fast. With the fries it is a full heavy meal. Comfort food even. Not something you have a few times a week but something you treat yourself to as warranted.
Now the precursor to actual getting the food was the restaurant and staff. Da Vinci and Frankie were running the place and the quiet guy sat in the corner like the old guy from “The Professional”. Da Vinci and Frankie, whether it was unabashed Q&A with customers are a well polished schtick it didn’t matter. These two were energetic, charasmatic and just made a couple minute wait for our sandwiches seem like a conversation with an old high school friend. I hope they can keep this up when there are bigger line-ups. The store itself is a cute retro throwback to Americana. Not fancy with a couple tables and that’s the point. They also have a range of old school drinks like “Stewart’s Fountain Soda” and the requisite “Cott’s Black Cherry Cola”.
I Went to Philly
462 Yonge Street
Toronto, ON M4Y 1S9
(Yonge + College)
Closed on Sundays