My favourite free bird introduced me to the Argo Cafe located in the industrial neighbourhood of 2nd and Ontario. Its been around for awhile but four years ago Denis Larouche and Kirby Wong took it over and turned it into the little gem that it is. The clientele; workers, non-workers, people who like value, good service and of course the fierce little waitress, Molly, who can remember your name after one meeting and make even shit on a cracker sound appetizing to any man.
The concept is very simple...classic diner. No, not the restaurant made to look like a diner but the actual diner, with diner prices but with food that doesn't leave grease stains on the side of your mouth.
Me...a burger. $4.00. Fried onions. $.50. Cheese. $.50. Fries. $2.50. Fresh. Classic. Good. The chili mayo adds a nice kick. Comes with a soft sesame seed bun and if you're really hungry, add an extra patty for a buck fifty.
Company...spicy lamb on rice. $9.00. Flavourful, filling and again, simple. Home-cooked tasting. It also comes with the options of noodles.
The food is presented well, simply but attractively, sort of a juxtaposition against the green linoleum tabletops and chalkboard menus.
It's easy to understand why the Argo Cafe, who's name has stayed the same because it was too expensive to change, is creating a little buzz around town. Linda, Denis' wife of 23 years, has spent even more years in the industry, working at The Teahouse and Season in the Park for over 24 years and 3 and a half years as the head chef at Watermark. Her husband Denis, who is originally from Montreal, spent some time overseas, Rwanda specifically, runs the kitchen. Kirby Wong, Linda's brother, runs the front of house (which is very close to the back of house) and Linda seems to oversee everything. Together, they customize in customer service. No attitude. No bullshit. Oh and get your own Coke from the front. Oh and you get soup with that. And a smile.
Linda sat with us while we ate our homemade rice crispy square and chocolate mousse. She talked about forgetting her anniversary....she's got a great laugh.
1836 Ontario Street
Saturday - brunch (hours are being worked out)