One of my guilty pleasures when I need a bite to eat on the North Shore side of Lion’s Gate Bridge is the historic Tomahawk Restaurant. This little gem of a diner was opened in 1926 (before the bridge was built), and is still operated by the same family. To be more accurate, this seems to be as much museum as it is restaurant with all the authentic Native artifacts, many from which the original owner, Chick Chamberlain, collected from Native Chiefs in the area whom he knew personally.
On the recent Sunday afternoon that I stopped in, it was still packed at 3 o’clock (with a breakfast that is served all day, I guess there is no need to get in too early). I love diners, and when I’m eating in a diner, I usually like to order something that reminds me of times gone by, when the diner was a central part of the social scene. Having gone over the menu of classic fare: burgers, sandwiches, breakfasts, steaks, roast chicken, etc., much of which is house made and in some cases, even organic.
Today’s choice is the patty melt. When made properly the patty melt is part burger, part sandwich, juicy, gooey and crunchy. The Tomahawks version is OK. More sandwich than burger. It gets kudos for using local organic ground beef from Blue Goose Cattle Co., but I found the patty a little thin, needing a bit more seasoning and slightly dry – no napkin necessary to wipe the juices from your chin. Melted mozzarella, grilled onions and “grilled” rye with a side of pretty decent fries and a pickle rounded out the plate. Not a bad sandwich, but not a great patty melt. Next time I might try one of the breakfast plates I noticed delivered to the next table. I would need to come extra hungry though. I’ve never seen some much pork on a breakfast plate. The bacon, called Yukon style, looks more like chops than the conventional strips!
Before getting the bill I asked the server for a slice of their banana cream pie to go. Banana is really one of my least favourites of the cream pies, but the Tomahawk version is awesome. Piled high with sliced bananas and real custard, topped with whipped cream. Delicious! The pies here are enough of a reason to make a stop.
If you find yourself in the Capilano area and can’t deal with the lineup of cars waiting to go over the bridge, head over to the Tomahawk Restaurant for a bite to eat. Be hungry and make sure you get a piece of that banana cream pie to go.