I’m always on the lookout for friendly neighbourhood restaurants with good, simple food and a welcoming atmosphere for those of us with kids in tow. Whether it’s the namesake vintage red wagon painted outside or the kids’ art scribbled on placemats taped up in the window, you get the feeling from the start that the diner Red Wagon, on East Hastings,, is a great option for a meal with your little ones. It seemed like the perfect Vancouver restaurant to visit for breakfast with my hungry two-year-old one sunny morning during our first walk of the day.
Classic Diner Food with a Fresh, Modern Feel
Calling itself a “neighbourhood joint”, this bare bones diner in Hastings-Sunrise is the real deal, with its original pendant lights, fake wood paneling, scratched linoleum and tottery tables. Located right on busy Hastings Street, it’s made even more real by the constant hustle of traffic, markets, bakeries, and the eclectic neighbourhood folks. What is new and freshened up is the food: they’ve got the classic offerings (including Eggs Benedict, omelettes, pancakes and homefries) but everything is made with a unique and delicious spin. It’s a greasy spoon with fresh, creative ingredients. Taken over in 2010 by chef Brad Miller, who’s also worked at high-end places like Bistro Pastis and West, his menu is simple fare made well.
My toddler and I were welcomed into the busy Vancouver restaurant and shown to a table with a booster seat right next to a rickety red wagon filled with crayons, colouring books and assorted children’s books. Happy to sit and watch the trucks go by along Hastings, my kiddo was easily entertained while I checked out the menu–Piperade and Goat Cheese Omelette, Pulled Pork Pancakes, Fritatta with goat cheese and carmelized onion. All tempting. We decided to share the classic Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes served with a side of sausage. Super fluffy, fresh and dripping with real maple syrup. Yum. Another plus was the delicious and strong (oh-so-essential for the sleep-deprived) cup of bottomless coffee.
Vancouver Restaurant Serving Amazing Breakfast
While it’s not greasy spoon cheap (our pancake brekkie was $9), it’s not crazy expensive and well worth the price. I’ve never seen my two-year-old devour breakfast that quickly. Keep in mind that breakfast/brunch is very busy, with patrons waiting a good long while for a chance to sample the tastiness. I recommend a quieter weekday visit.
Red Wagon Cafe
2296 East Hastings, Vancouver
Heather Maxwell Hall is a Vancouver-born-and-raised writer and journalism school grad who loves the arts, her little family, and the Pacific Northwest. She cultivates good vibes by going on long walks, taking pictures, and discovering new things.