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POLL: Kingston’s best diner

Diners are the one thing you can find in pretty much every town in North America. Even Plevna has a diner! We’ve lost a couple of great ones over the last several years (RIP Lino’s and The Right Spot), but the diner scene in Kingston is still strong. It’s also the one food category that seems to thrive just as well outside of the downtown core as within it.  

Downtown has Morrison’s, Tommy’s, Cafe Le Matin, and Peter’s Place, and in midtown you’ll find The Star Diner and the original Jiffy Grill. Ok, it’s not the original original because The Kingston Centre was torn down, so they’re about 200 meters east of where they started. They’ve also expanded to the west end and to Odessa! In the west end, Gina’s Takeout and Grill took over the same space previously occupied by Rudy’s Grill, and is operated by the same folks that ran Minos Village. You’ll also find big chains like Denny’s, Smitty’s, and Eggspress, along with other locally-owned spots like Toast & Jam and Carmelinda’s. The east end, sadly, seems to be devoid of diners, save for the Husky at the Joyceville 401 exit. And while The Wolfe Island Pub and Pizzeria may not sound like a diner by name, it sure feels like one when you’re there!

While putting this poll together, we realized that a diner can be a bit tricky to define, as sometimes it’s more about the vibe than anything else. One thing the Kingstonist staff agreed on is that a diner needs service – one can’t just order from the cashier and get your food in a bag or on a tray. The service really should be lightning quick (and preferably a bit sassy), breakfast needs to be available all the time, the prices and portions should be quite reasonable, and the food can’t be TOO healthy. That’s not to say that a diner should be unhealthy, but a half a plate of fresh fruit is really not a proper diner experience, in our opinion. A diner should be cool, at the most, but never trendy. Rustic chic decor and a popular Instagram account do not a real a diner make. Ideally, a diner is open 24 hours, but there aren’t many places like that in Kingston at the moment, though the Star Diner tried it for a few months back in 2002 or so — right when I often stumbled by there at 3 a.m. on a regular basis.

So, what do you think, Kingston? Let us know with a vote, and comment if you think we’ve missed any of YGK’s best greasy spoons!

Kingston's best diner

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19 thoughts on “POLL: Kingston’s best diner

    • October 1, 2019 at 7:57 pm
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      Tommy’s is downtown, and not associated with the other one, departed from Collins Bay.

  • September 25, 2019 at 10:36 am
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    Does anyone know if ANY of these diners offer Gluten Free options?
    1) bread/bagels (easy)
    2) hollandaise sauce/sausages (medium)
    3) pancakes/waffles (hard)

    Also, it doesn’t really count if they don’t handle things properly (cooking toast in the same toaster as wheat bread, making pancakes without (at minimum) cleaning off the cooking surface beforehand. (Preferably, using a dedicated surface/pan/lifter)

    *Yes I am actually sensitive to gluten, very much so. If I eat a gluten free food cooked in a fryer that has cooked something breaded, I will get sick within an hour. That is why I’m so picky.

  • September 25, 2019 at 11:08 am
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    Coco Fruitti would have gotten my vote if it was listed.
    Jiffy Grill would have been my second, it good and has been strong in Kingston for a long time.

    • September 26, 2019 at 8:59 am
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      Coco Fruitti isn’t a diner though? It’s a breakfast/brunch restaurant, not a classic diner

  • September 25, 2019 at 12:09 pm
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    Fardellas Is fantastic! It should certainly be on this list.

  • September 25, 2019 at 12:59 pm
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    MOM Restaurant in Verona has a super great breakfast.

  • September 25, 2019 at 3:59 pm
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    Tommy’s is fantastic! Love the music and decor. Lots of great things to try.

  • September 25, 2019 at 4:39 pm
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    Personally when I think of a favourite Kingston restaurant /cafe etc it wouldn’t include chain restaurants. There are enough fabulous places we don’t need to include them

  • September 25, 2019 at 4:47 pm
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    Miss “The Right Spot” and Penny and Gus’ :(

  • October 1, 2019 at 8:25 pm
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    The WIPp has my vote. James is so friendly and the food is always amazing

  • October 4, 2019 at 6:58 pm
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    Definitely the WIPP. James has a big heart and a real connection to the community. He cares about his staff and customers.

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