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Dick's Confectionary Free Ice Cream Day: 1937

Dining Out: Breakfast at the Velvet

by Elaine Weeks

Not long after we moved into our house on Windermere last summer, neighbours told us to check out the Velvet Restaurant on Wyandotte for breakfast. Due to our hectic mornings during the week and a love of our traditional family weekend brunches, we kept putting it off.

Deciding to include a regular restaurant review in The Walkerville Times provided the opportunity to finally pay the Velvet a visit. When we arrived, we were greeted with a friendly greeting and smile from owner Frank, stationed behind the counter. We had our two kids in tow and chose a large window table, providing ample room and a good vantage to check out the action in the restaurant- and there was plenty of it. While not full when we arrived just after ten, new customers poured in to fill the tables vacated by earlier guests. Judging by the business, the Velvet is a popular place to eat.

The breakfast menu was extensive and featured a variety of egg dishes: steak and eggs, Greek omelettes (stuffed with feta and tomatoes), gyros and eggs (gyros strips on the side), eggs benedict, western omelets, and so forth. The kids chose pancakes (which they could probably eat every day of the week) and sausage, while I opted for the Greek omelet (after learning that the cheese omelet contained processed cheese slices, instead of the real thing) and Chris had scrambled eggs with gyros slices.

While waiting for our meals, the kids got a kick out of a poster on the far wall, depicting a man sitting behind a stack of pancakes so tall, all you can see were his two hands with a fork and knife at the ready. The wall was dotted with many other framed posters, but our attention narrowed on one nearest the door- a black and white shot of the Velvet in 1937, when it was a dairy bar (see below).

To see it now, one would never know the Velvet had such a long history. The modernized exterior, with grey brick siding and large square window, is devoid of ornamentation. The updated interior is long and narrow, and is quite attractive with red tables, red and black chairs, blue, yellow and off-white walls sporting a thin red line of wainscoting, and a white and grey terra cotta floor. The red lunch counter, boasting seven red and black stools, is probably in the same spot as the Dick's Confectionary's soda fountain counter, but little else from the past remains.

In about ten minutes, our meals arrived. The egg dishes came with home fries and two slices of buttered whole-wheat toast, with jam on the side. My omelet was quite delicate but a bit salty; Chris pronounced his eggs and gyros good.

The pancakes were about the size of car tires and we were glad we had chosen the child's portion for Rosalie while Jonathan, our nine year old, (who already eats like a teenager), polished off his regular sized portion of two huge pancakes and three sausages in record time.

Our bill, including tax for four breakfasts plus two hot chocolates, two juices and two coffees, came to $28. Not a bargain, but a nice treat.


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