Here’s a secret, and maybe even a tip for those who want some inspiration: even though I make a lot of my foodie discoveries all on my own just by walking around, I have a little help finding out about a lot of others. When I feel like roaming around the interwebs for yummylicious places that might be up my alley, I actually look up Winterlicious and Summerlicious listings and menus and jot down notes!
And I mean actual notes, as hastily scrawled as they are. I have a page in my Muffymade notebook with scribbles of places I want to revisit, a page dedicated to places I want to nosh at in the near future, random photos of places to keep in mind when I’m in a hurry and can’t whip my notebook and pen out, and a word document saved on my computer specifically devoted to “places of interest” taken from past Winterlicious and Summerlicious listings. I think to myself, if the menus during the price fixe events intrigued me so much that I was compelled to take notes, there has to be something of substance on the regular menu and these places are probably something pretty special. And that’s how I felt about Hank’s.
Hank’s is a fresh and lovely breakfast and lunch diner, located on Church St. just south of Front St. East and sandwiched between Wine Bar and Great Burger Kitchen. The restaurant is used to hold private functions and parties in the evenings, but it’s best to call them in advance to see what their hours are as I noticed a note on their chalkboard when I went about a change in evening dining hours. Hank’s is crisp, clean, and kind of like a breath of fresh air with their open French doors, and white and gray decor with pops of red and shimmering chandeliers and lights. The diner is spacious and roomy with more intimate booths and table further into the diner for intimate social gatherings, a few bar tables and stools for those having a drink, and two tables beside the open French doors with cushy seats and round tables for that perfect breezy lunch. It’s exactly like being out on a nice patio with the fresh air without actually being outside.
I was so curious about Hanks’s from the Winterlicious and Summerliciuous appearances that I looked them up and browsed their regular menu online. To my delight, there was a ton of food totally worth going for on a regular non-Winter/Summerlicious day including their weekday breakfast menu and large weekend brunch menu, as well as a host of lunchtime sandwiches and other diner eats. Prices for lunch will probably run you an average of $6-$10 (before taxes), and brunch floats around the $7-$11 mark. I can’t blog about this just yet, but for non-vegetarians and vegans (basically carnis) you absolutely MUST order the smoked chicken poutine. It will change your life. But, more about that another time! I know, I’m a tease.
I noticed several vegetarian sandwich items on the menu and thought, “sweet, an even better reason to give this place a go! I’ll get to add to my blog series!” Aside from their daily specials which could include vegetarian items (a daily soup, maybe an omelette or frittata, and a lunch main), Hank’s has three vegetarian sandwich lunch options on their day-to-day, regular menu:
- Mushroom and goat cheese wrap with roasted garlic and white bean, spinach, sweet red peppers, and pickled onions
- Sweet chili tofu pita with avocado, zucchini, eggplant, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes
- Deviled egg salad sandwich with green onions, curried mayo, paprika and lettuce
What’s really nice is that a number of their sandwich lunch items come in half portions at, obviously, a lesser price. Granted, even though getting a whole portion would be more worth your money, it’s great for people like me and others who want to try more than one item but can’t eat two full portions or can’t afford paying for two at full price! I was lucky because the two menu items I was contemplating on having had that option, so I chose the mushroom and goat cheese wrap and the deviled egg salad sandwich. Win-win! The tortilla wrap was awesomely grilled and it was stuffed with tons of juicy, fresh vegetables. It was so full of crunchy spinach leaves (there was probably a very generous fistful in it), sweet red onions (not raw but pickled, so they were soft red onions that had less of that spicy bite), and soft juicy red peppers and plump mushrooms with creamy goat cheese. I loved both of my lunch items but if I had to choose a favourite, the deviled egg salad sandwich knocked it out of the park.
This is not your ho-hum egg salad sandwich in your old kiddie lunch box. This egg salad was SO flavourful and so delicious. When I read the description, it sounded great but I had my reservations. Not because I thought it wouldn’t taste good, but because I was unsure how the curry and paprika flavours would play out. I was afraid that the flavours would be too subtle and that it would end up getting lost, thus reducing my egg salad sandwich to ho-hum status. When something says curry, you expect that great punch of flavour. This sandwich was so not ho-hum. I could eat an entire mixing bowl of this egg salad because it’s that good. The mix of spices is so perfect and when I bit into it each time, the flavours were reminiscent of the savoury curry sauces I loved so much from Indian and Chinese places. The lettuce added a great dimension of crunch and the bread…oh the bread. Delicious stuff. Hank uses Fred’s Bread and for the egg salad sandwich, they used Fred’s whole grain variety.
The neighbourhood Hank’s is located in is super convenient because it’s just steps away from the St. Lawrence Market and the “greater” downtown core, and walking distance from Union Station making it easily accessible by public transit. The atmosphere is great and I’m so glad my ridiculous note-taking paid off because I have found myself (and others, if you’re interested in trying them out!) yet another wonderful breakfast and lunch spot that I can’t wait to go back to.
Hank’s is located at 9 1/2 Church St. (no, that’s not a typo, 9 1/2!), just south of Front St. East. They are open for breakfast and lunch 7 days a week and offer a weekend brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays. They are open from 7am-5pm on weekdays, and from 8am-4pm on weekends. Call them if you’re interested in dining there for dinner as they have changed their hours for the evenings. The diner is also available for private parties and corporate events. Click here to view their website and menus.