Change is so good
It is a strange feeling eating eggs in the identical spot as I have innumerable times, and yet, having a completely different sensory experience. Wilf & Ada’s Scratch Diner opened at the beginning of January in the location of the former beloved Ada’s diner. It is simply the bomb.
While the name is a nod to the previous owners, everything else about this place is about looking forward. The space is modern, clean and bright; the menu is small, affordable and tantalizing.
The diner is the creation of co-owners chef Dominic Paul (previously of Fraser Café), front of house expert Jessie Duffy and Ottawa’s well know restaurateur Ion Aimers (previous owner/co-creator of The Works, and current owner/creator of Za Za Za).
The diner’s entire menu is written on a chalkboard mounted above the open kitchen. It is small but not limited. There are several types of eggs, French toast, poutine, salad and sandwich options, Portobello melt, hot chicken, sugar pie and a daily soup and special.
I tried the open-faced hot chicken sandwich ($12.00), and for the rest of my days it is the gold standard on which all chicken sandwiches will be judged. The bread had enough body and crisp to support a layer of vegetable mash, then the tender shredded chicken. The entire thing was covered in gravy and fresh sweet peas; on the side was a serving of hot hand-cut fries.
Everything is unbelievably fresh and delicious. When they say scratch I mean, they even make their own bread and English muffins, house cure the bacon, and the vinaigrettes, soups and sauces are a reason to come on their own. The gravy, golly it was divine! And good news gluten intolerant friends, it is made with your needs in mind. In fact the chef informs me that everything on the menu could be made to accommodate gluten intolerant diets.
All this topped off with fast, friendly, upbeat service, refills on coffee, great music in a beautiful space. There are bound to be line-ups down the block for weekend brunch. I plan to use weekdays to savor my food in relative peace.
Grab a sunny table at 510 Bank Street at the corner of Arlington. Hours mon-fri 7am-3pm; weekend 8-3pm. $8-$15.00. The chef says stay tuned for evening hours three days per week coming soon. Licensed wine/beer/booze.