There is nothing particularly unique or special about another diner opening up these days. Even if it is east of Boston Bar, way up the Fraser Canyon. The thing that makes Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner unique is that it is run by Todd, a “celebrity-type” chef from Vancouver who used to run a critically acclaimed “underground” restaurant.
Pretty significant change to go from being a chef in Vancouver to running a diner on the side of the Trans Canada highway somewhere between Boston Bar and Lytton though. So I asked Todd “why open a diner in the Fraser Canyon, out here, miles away from any form of celebrity, where Bud still reigns as the undisputed King of beers?”
He told me that after six years of serving six course meals to well-healed foodies and wine enthusiasts, he saw the opportunity to open a restaurant where he can grow much of his own fruit and veggies and locally source the meats and baked goods as an opportunity too good to pass up.
The funny thing is, if I had not had this conversation with Todd or seen someone bringing a massive handful of carrots – carrots pulled fresh from the garden behind the diner, I would not have known about their unique approach to food. Nowhere in the menu does it mention that they grow their own salad greens, veggies or that they have apple, cherry and apricot trees to provide produce for their diner. In essence, they are embracing the philosophy of the 100 Mile Diet and yet are not trumpeting it to the world. Of course I have never attempted to run my own restaurant but if I was, I would be sure that my patrons knew that I was embracing the philosophy of the 100 Mile Diet.
Regardless, for me as a frequent traveller of the Fraser Canyon it is great to have a family friendly dining alternative to the Home Restaurant located in Hope, BC, especially now that the restaurant formerly known as Elvis Rocks the Canyon has closed.
So we stopped in twice this weekend, once for a late breakfast on Saturday and then for lunch on our Sunday return trip.
I found the breakfast fare to be excellent. One of my kidlets chose the egg and bacon ($5) from the kid section of the menu. Funny how kids describe meals; she told me that she loved the bacon (but loved me more) and she really liked the “special plate” that her breakfast was served on.
Our second daughter was not convinced to have breakfast. She had the spaghetti and meatballs ($5, like all the items on the kid section of the menu). My Sweetheart found the spaghetti sauce a little on the salty side. I was pleasantly surprised to read on the menu that they actually make their own pasta in house!
My breakfast choice was the salmon, capers and cream cheese omelette ($12). I am a big fan of omelettes that can attain and maintain bulk and height. Fat Jack’s did it. Light and fluffy eggs that were able to hold the thick bed of cream cheese that had plenty of sliced smoked salmon and copious capers. A breakfast pleaser for me.
My Sweetheart opted for the Nacho Egg Pizza. A bed of scrambled egg with pieces of tortilla cooked into it. The massive dollops of guacamole, sour cream and salsa were delicious. The eggs have small pieces of corn tortillas cooked right into them.
On our return trip we shared the turkey, cranberry, swiss and stuffing on a toasted baguette ($13). The use of the dark turkey meat is a sure fire winner for me; I far prefer tasty dark turkey meat over the surprisingly popular and totally blah white meat that so many places use.
We ended up eating the stuffing and cranberry and leaving the top half of the baguette just because we had enough bread for the day. The stuffing and the turkey were delicious.
My lunch choice was the braised brisket, sauerkraut and mustard on toasted sourdough bread ($14).
Seeing as I am currently on a sauerkraut kick, this was the only logical choice for me. A nice combination of brisket that was not overpowered by the sauerkraut or mustard. The dill pickle was a nice addition although I wish there was more pickle.
Of course the fries on both of our meals were superb. Real, homemade fries cut from potatoes in the back of the kitchen. When the plates arrive at the table, the side of fries do not overwhelm you like the meals at the Home Restaurant tend to do.
Overall impressions – Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner is a great addition to the food choices for the Fraser Canyon traveller. However, knowing that the volume of traffic in the Fraser Canyon can get pretty low in the winter months it will be interesting to see if the local communities will also embrace Fat Jack’s Homestyle Diner.