Reno’s Restaurant, housed in the Lee building on East Broadway, is an old school greasy spoon. It’s one of those restaurants that many are aware exists, but have never set foot inside. From the outside, it looks deceptively cold and institutional, brightened by a few splashes of neon lights. The only signs of life behind the big reflective picture windows are somewhat visible diners that appear to be in their own world on the other side of the glass.
(Top to bottom: 1. Stepping inside Reno’s is like stepping back into time. 2. Greasy spoon coffee.)
Inside is a remarkably warm dining room: high ceilings, brick walls and glowing lights. A lonely glass refrigerator at the front entrance displays saran wrapped slices of pies and dessert next to a suspicious looking ATM machine.
Before seating yourself, make your way up front to place your orders, which you can read off the handwritten chalkboard hanging overhead behind the large cafeteria-like counter. You’ll be handed a number to identify your order when they bring it around.
(Above: A classic greasy spoon meal — steak and eggs.)
A classic greasy spoon venue warrants a classic greasy spoon dish. For myself, steak and eggs. The 5 ounces of oddly shaped steak was nicely grilled (more medium than medium rare). The flavour was good, but drier than I would have preferred. The eggs were competently done: over easy and served with a side of so-so potatoes and slices of generic off-the-shelf toast.
(Above: 1. Pancake breakfast with sausage bacon and eggs. Beats any international house of whatever.)
Case had the pancake breakfast: two rashers of dry bacon, two sausages and eggs. Nothing spectacular. The pancakes, however, were noticeably good — fluffy, nice texture and just plain delicious.
Our meal came to $23 including taxes and tip, a coffee and bottle of orange juice. Not too shabby. The atmosphere at Reno’s is pretty warm and friendly, if you don’t mind the eccentric characters that patronize the joint. The food isn’t anything remarkable (besides the pancakes), but it’ll certainly do nicely for a leisurely weekend breakfast if you happen to find yourself on East Broadway. Just make sure you bring cash unless you want to pay a visit to that suspicious looking ATM up front.
Perfect for: blending into the fabric of the neighborhood.
151 East Broadway, Vancouver