20 Plains Road East
In her opinion:
Canada Day 2013. We've just spent part of the afternoon at Spencer Smith Park with our son and our moms celebrating Canada's 146th birthday. As we walk back to our vehicle, we're racking our brains trying to figure out where to go for lunch. We know Burlington pretty well but we've got three picky eaters with us and a lot of business are also closed on this national holiday. We come up with a few suggestions but soon discovered that they were not open...now what?
That usually means...something out of the blue...unexpected and often, surprisingly good! In this case, as we were driving down Plains Road East towards Hamilton we spotted Russell Williams Family Restaurant. I had recently read about it on Urbanspoon so it was pretty fresh in my mind. Why not? They had one thing going for them...they were opened on Canada Day!
We walked in and they were able to accommodate us. This place was packed and people kept coming in. It was literally happening!
This is a diner...that's the best way to describe it. It had a great all day breakfast selection and classic diner dishes to pick from. I opted for a diet coke and a hot turkey sandwich. It was served with mash potatoes, coleslaw and the veggie of the day, in this case pickled beets.
I ordered the white meat only hot turkey sandwich. It was super juicy. The turkey gravy was flavourful and delicious. The mashed potatoes were some of the best that I have had at any restaurant. Just perfect!
I rather enjoyed our lunch at Russell Williams. It's not fancy but it's been around since 1932, so they are definitely doing something right!
In his opinion:
Hopefully the name will not throw you off from visiting this place. It has no affiliation to Russell Williams, convicted colonel from the Canadian Armed Forces and has been around since the 1930's, way before her was even born.
A true diner in its most celebrated form, Russell Williams Family restaurant has been around for a long time and plans to prolong its existence for many more years to come. We stumbled upon it in our frantic search for a lunch spot on Canada Day, of all days.
Waking in to a packed restaurant can only mean one of two things. It's either that popular or good, or it's the only place open for miles. In this case let's agree that it was because of both, with slight emphasis on the popular and good part.
The staff literally treat you like a regular customer even though it was my first time at the restaurant. The menu is quite predictable and extensive. What you think you should find in a diner menu is exactly what you will see on it. Soups, salads, hot sandwiches and burgers dominate the menu with some very few unexpected surprises like "Quiche Lorraine' and "Chili con Carne Texas style soup".
This is the type of place where things remain the same and change doesn't come easy. And those are wishes not only form the owners and staff but also form their customers that are known to cause an uproar with some previous changes to the menu.
I ordered the "Steak on a Kaiser" without the fried onions. As some of you might know by now I have an aversion to cooked onions but only when they are over cooked, which they usually are. It's a texture thing for me and I know some of you may relate...or not. The sandwich was actually quite large and tasty, steak done perfectly medium as I requested. The kaiser was fresh even though it was a holiday, so they either bake their own or they preserve bread well from previous days.
It was a quick and nostalgic lunch but it hit the spot and did its job. Food was good and the staff calling me "darling" made me feel like a regular. The food came quick even tough the restaurant was quite full. so efficiency is part of their repertoire.
The Good: Great mom and pop restaurant providing the same old consistent food as they did over 75 years ago.
The Bad: The unchanging menu might get a little "old" after a while for the more adventurous eaters.
The Verdict: The decor, the food and the customers are probably the same for a long time, some of them have been going there since before Trudeau was Prime Minister. Even though these days avant guard cuisine and things like gourmet food trucks are the "it " thing. There is a special place for these nostalgic restaurants and the "baby boomers" they cater to which are indeed the bulk of the population for the meantime. So, go down and have those staked high pancakes like in your childhood as places like these are now few and far between.
I give it 3 out of 5 Olives as rating