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Deacon's Corner brings nouveau greasy spoon to Gastown

Deacon's Corner
101 Main St.
Vancouver
604-684-1555

deaconscorner.ca

Open Daily for Breakfast & Lunch Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Weekends, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Signature Drink: Milk, Juice or Coffee
Signature Dish: Reuben

Rating: **1/2
Lunch & coffee for two: $25

Call it part of the economic slump or the trend toward comfort food, but it seems that the coming year will be about chowing down on greasy spoon fare not seen since the 60s. If 2008 was all about the bistro/trattoria, 2009 looks to be all about the diner. It's not just about comfort food, it's about cheap comfort food, served in very large portions. It's not even two months into the new year, and I'm already doing my second diner review.

Deacon's Corner opened up a few weeks ago, and on a recent Monday, the place was packed. Of course, it might have had something to do with the fact that breakfast is offered all day, lunch items hover just around the $10 mark and serving sizes are larger than your head.

The room is situated right on the corner of Main and Alexander. It's a handy location, just across from the police station on one side, and a fire hall on the other, and both seem to account for a good portion of the regular clientele. The inside is bright, airy and quite spacious—the financial benefits of leasing on the eastern edge of Gastown. Formica and steel-wrapped tables, leatherette booths, and a real, honest-to-goodness old-fashioned lunch counter with the cushioned swivel stools make you think of that place on Happy Days where The Fonz would meet up with all his friends for burgers and shakes.

There are, unfortunately, no shakes on the menu at Deacon's, but there is a good selection of organic teas ($2 each), right next to the bottled juices and sodas ($1.75). The prices are so retro as to be almost unfashionable. I did hear hints of extended hours and a liquor license coming soon (maybe even this weekend), with plans for some whiskey, brew and maybe even a house wine. Hmmm…want some Pinot with your pulled pork sandwich? Could be…

On my most recent visit, I had the Reuben sandwich with the house fries ($9.50). The fries were large and plentiful, but could have used more salt. The sandwich was better. Toasted dark rye, smoked meat, Swiss cheese and way too much sauerkraut made for a very filling lunch.

The farmers' omelette ($8) was stuffed with sausage, ham, bacon and cheddar—your basic heart attack special—and came with about a pound of extremely spicy hashbrowns and much toast (although not enough butter—but maybe it all went into the omelette). A sausage and biscuits dish ($7.50) was pretty good. House made biscuits, sausage and more of those spicy hashbrowns, plus a large does of rather pale, tasteless gravy.

I tried the house burger with mashed potatoes ($9) on an earlier visit. The burger is a beef/pork combo and it's not bad. You can get the daily soup for $1.25 extra, which makes for a pretty good deal.

It's not gourmet fare, but these aren't gourmet prices and it'll fill you up right good for the tight months ahead. Your heart and waistline may not thank you, but your wallet definitely will.

The Many Sides of Pinot: The Name is Noix…Pinot Noix

Trust a B.C. winemaker to come up with something this cool. Vista d'Oro Farms -- long known for their artisanal preserves, heirloom tomatoes and other good eats -- recently branched out into the wine trade with a green walnut wine.

From there it was a short leap to Gewurtz, Pink, Pinot Noir and the new Pinot Noix, a blend of their own green walnuts (macerated in brandy) and Pinot Noir grapes from the north and central Okanagan. Sip as an aperitif or enjoy after dinner. $35 from vistadoro.com.

Top Shelf

The B.C. Home & Garden Show is running now through the weekend. Catch big kitchen names like Karen Barnaby and Ron Schewchuk, as well as local restaurants C, Earl's, Campagnolo, Salt and local food producers. More information at bchomeandgardenshow.com

Dining Out

Fried Chicken Fridays are back at Fuel (1944 West 4 Ave), starting Feb. 27. Enjoy Chef Robert Belcham's buttermilk fried Polderside chicken with a glass of R&B Cream Ale for $19.50. Available for lunch every Friday until the end of summer. Call 604-288-7905 or visit fuelrestaurant.ca.

Hart House Restaurant (6664 Deer Lake Ave, Burnaby) is now offering a special three-course table d'hote menu for $35, every day of the week. Enjoy Jerusalem artichoke soup, tuna carpaccio, striploin, pancetta-wrapped sole and more. Plus, on Tuesdays get 25 per cent off all bottles of wine. Call 604-298-4278 or visit harthouserestaurant.com.

Food in Brief

Chef Robert Clark of C Restaurant will be travelling to Ottawa in April to represent B.C.'s culinary arts at the National Art Centre's B.C. Scene, and will get to hobnob with our Governor General.

Gordon Ramsey, in a recent interview on CBC Television, named Araxi Restaurant & Bar in Whistler as the best restaurant in Canada. Not including his supposedly soon-to-open Toronto digs, of course.

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