White Star Diner is located on 58 Albert Street beside The Royal Albert Arms Hotel. From the outside, it looks like an unattractive, old-fashioned hole in the wall. The first time I walked past this place, I didn't bother owing it a second look. But simply judging it by appearances doesn't nearly do it enough justice, because what lies within is a whole world of mouthwatering delicacies that only a homestyle diner can perfect.
The restaurant is owned by Bruce Smedts, who is usually the same man that greets you when you walk through the front door. He's consistently jovial and welcoming, and is always willing to strike up a conversation if the restaurant is not filled with hungry patrons. He does get a sizeable crowd during the lunch hour rush. This is especially evident because the facility can probably fit no more than 10 people at a time. There are four seats inside, and also a couple tables set up outdoors if weather permits.
I recommend visiting either a couple hours before or after noon. Mind you, they are usually only open from 10:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday. It really is a treat to catch this diner when its doors are open, and thankfully it stays in business all winter long.
Now, the fun part begins. White Star Diner has a plethora of burgers, melts and sandwiches to choose from. The Vegetarian Rueben ($4.95) depicted above comprises seasoned sauerkraut, house 1000 island dressing, mozzarella cheese and toasted bread. The traditional lean corned beef is replaced here with grilled tomato, which in my mind, is equally tasty. The bread is grilled to perfection and is the best balance of crunchy and chewy. But it's the tangy and spicy house 1000 island dressing that takes the taste of their sandwiches to the next level.
I've had a similar sandwich from this restaurant called the Mushroom & Green Pepper Melt ($4.95), which is made up of sautéed mushrooms, green peppers, onions, melted Edam, fresh tomato and their signature 1000 island dressing. It's hard to say which one I like better, but the thought of either makes me salivate profusely.
Their fries ($2.85-$4.95) are also homemade. They aren't quite as earth shattering as their sandwiches, but are always a welcome accompaniment for any meal.
Image from http://bloorjane.blogspot.com/
They offer an interesting assortment of milkshakes that are made up of "real" extracts. Some of their flavours include the conventional strawberry, peach, chocolate and pineapple. Some more tastes include mexican vanilla, peanut butter coffee and anise.
I haven't touched upon any of their non-vegetarian menu items, but I've heard nothing but positives things about the aromas, textures and tastes of that end of the burger spectrum. I've also been told that for the less adventurous, the Blue Cheese Burger may not necessarily be the best choice (unless you have a taste for the delicacy, that is).
The prices are fair, the service is sincere and the burgers really don't get any better than they do at the White Star Diner. If it's your first time heading to the restaurant, prepare yourself to be delightfully surprised by their flavourful, filling and one-of-a-kind burger menu.