My dining companions ran the gamut of reactions when I suggested we go for lunch at Gale’s Snack Bar. You see, Gale’s has been open for years (looks it too), and is located away from the main-and-trendy Queen St. East strip. I didn’t know it at the time, but Gale’s had been written up and mentioned all over the place. Not to mention it made an appearance in Hairspray as the Hardy Har Hut storefront. But ever since I first spied it while I was rolling down Eastern Ave. long ago, there was just something about Gale’s corner spot, its tiny frame, and dilapidated sign, that made me want to go in. Just for the adventure of it.

Frequented by loyal locals, Gale’s clearly isn’t in the vying for fine dining, plating, or anything other than being what it is – a diner. A really, really, cheap one. And for what it is, it succeeds. Though no one I’ve talked to has managed to figure out how they make a profit. For not much more than $5 you can have a feast. Take a look:

Probably the best thing on the menu, the club sandwich ($2.50) contains slices of hand-cut turkey. I didn’t order this, but I will next time.

Grilled cheese ($1.25) was my order as I got caught up in a whirl of nostalgia. The classic plastic processed cheese between two white-bread slices. A nice throwback to my childhood.

I shared a plate of fries ($1.35), as grilled cheese isn’t quite the filling meal it used to be when I was 5. Golden and pretty good when they’re hot.

Since we were splurging, I also opted for a chocolate shake ($1.25). Next time: strawberry.

Click for a closer look!

The menu holds many things, but I will note that they no longer have tarts. That made me sad. Pies looked pretty good from my vantage from the barstool.

When we went, I’m pretty sure there was exactly one person running the entire place. Though I didn’t find things slow, don’t be in a rush when you go. Also, our group of four was a bit of an issue. Not a big one, but I don’t think Gale’s could squeeze more than 16 people at any one time. Dishes are clean and service is friendly. Though Gale’s may wear a cloak of age, she can still serve up a decent meal for mere pocket change.

  • Gale’s Snack Bar 539 Eastern Avenue, Toronto

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