Roundel Cafe: No Crazy This Day

Roundel Cafe

Needing a cheap place for breakfast on Saturday and feeling a little like I’ve been slipping behind in my posts, I tweeted a plea for (inexpensive!) restaurant ideas.  @blackisblack suggested Roundel Cafe on Hastings.  So to get a feel for the place, I checked out Roundel Cafe on urbanspoon.  Yikes!  User reviews fell on a continuum from great to crazy and I’m not talking about the fun kind of crazy.  This wasn’t my kind of crazy.

I told my husband that I was taking him to a place where people complained about service and hit-or-miss menu items.  High off our visit to his favourite breakfast place the weekend before, he was not pleased.  “Why can’t we just go to Choppers?”  He asked.  “Because,” I replied, “I need to do a review and I’ve already reviewed Choppers.”  My cold, hard heart was not softened by his puppy-dog eyes.  We went to Roundel Cafe.

Roundel Cafe is a little half-retro/half-eclectic diner that was filled with the sound of bopping oldies when we arrived.  Similar to the look, layout, and feel of The Templeton, this diner has windows that let in the bright light toward the front of the house, booths that run up the left wall and a counter at center-right.  As we entered, there was one clean table open and one dirty table that had just been evacuated, but we chose to eat at the counter.

The place filled up to the brim right after we took our seats and a line began forming out the door.  It looked like we got there just at the right time.  With the whole place packed, I couldn’t help but notice that the only open seat in the entire place was the counter seat right next to mine.  What did that mean?  I showered that morning and I remembered deodorant.  Was it the lingering smell of Tub & Tile Cleaner from my morning cleaning spree? 

Whatever that was about, from the second we arrived, the two waitresses on staff were very warm, bubbly, and friendly.  This was not the grouchy service that I had anticipated. I took a look at the menu.  Prices were very reasonable and some meals were even a bit cheaper than Choppers.  Plus, I noticed the staff composting.  So far, so good.

I managed to order the least healthy thing on the menu and that was a pretty impressive feat, considering most items looked at least somewhat nutritious.  They “cook with fresh, often organic, locally sourced ingredients” and many of their “proteins are specialty non-medicated.”  They serve salad with breakfast.  It doesn’t really get more healthy than that.  Who eats salad for breakfast? I was about to find out.

I ordered the Corned Beef Hash for $9.  It turns out that it wasn’t like any other corned beef hash I had ever had (which really just means that it wasn’t like the corned beef hash that my mom used to make).  The corned beef was kind of greasy, but I guess that’s what I get for ordering corned beef, right?  The rest of the meal was great: two over-medium eggs that were actually over-medium; “roasted potatoes” which included regular and sweet potatoes fried up with onions and peppers; the aforementioned salad with romaine lettuce, carrots, red cabbage, and a light dressing; and multi-grain toast with jam.

Roundel Cafe Corned Beef Hash

Roundel Cafe Corned Beef Hash

Little Man ordered the Little Breakie, which supposedly comes with 1 egg; bacon, veggie bacon, sausage, or tomatoes, and toast for $3.50.  Sounds like a good deal, right?  Well, it was even better than we anticipated because the breakfast also came with roasted potatoes and salad!  Little Man would not even touch the salad of course, but he did say, “This sausage is really good!”  The sausage was not your typical fat-packed breakfast mystery meat, but a farmer’s sausage, cut into slices.  Yum, yum.

Roundel Cafe Little Breakie

Roundel Cafe Little Breakie

Me and the Little Man also shared a Banana Shake for $5.  (I told you that I ordered the least healthy items for breakfast!)  The Big Man ordered the Strawberry Shake for the same price.  They were both good, but very sweet.

Roundel Cafe Banana Shake

Roundel Cafe Banana Shake

Big Man also ordered the Two Eggs w/Meat option, which also comes with roasted potatoes or brown rice, salad, toast & jam for $7.  He said that the bacon was good, but not as good as Choppers.  Whether this was just his way of saying “I told you so” or whether the bacon was actually inferior, I will never know as he practically swallowed the slices whole before I could even think to ask for a bite.

Roundel Cafe Two Eggs w/Bacon Breakfast

Roundel Cafe Two Eggs w/Bacon Breakfast

I did notice that the owner, mentioned multiple times in the urbanspoon user reviews, was there and I am pretty sure I never saw her crack a smile.  But then, neither did I have to interact with her, so it made no difference to my experience.  While we had good breakfast and service, I still feel like this is another one of those places that I should try a second time before passing final judgment.

As for our Saturday morning breakfast at Roundel Cafe, there was no craziness encountered and the food was tasty and filling.

Roundel Cafe

2465 East Hastings St.

Vancouver, BC


Roundel Cafe on Urbanspoon

4 Responses to “Roundel Cafe: No Crazy This Day”
  1. Ash says:

    The so-called owner, that you refer to here directly and indirectly, is not the owner. In actuality, she is solely an employee. The owners do not work the front of the house, so these accusations are being made falsely.

    • Well if that is the case, you’d think the owners would have let this employee go after reading the kinds of customer experiences being reported on sites like Urbanspoon, Dine Here, and Yelp. You said that “these accusations are being made falsely,” but all that is false about them is that the person who seems to be in charge is not in charge, not that the accusations themselves are false. I’m sorry, but I’m inclined to believe the random and, for the most part, anonymous reviewers about their poor experiences.

      For example, from Dine Here:

      Overall it’s not a bad joint. Roundel cafe would be a whole lot better if the middle-aged, white-haired lady would leave. She has terrible manners, she scares me and my children with her obnoxious ways. She’s rude and seemingly lazy as she really keeps you waiting, it’s as if she’s doing it on purpose!? She comes across smiley and nice but then suddenly turns into the devil. Roundel, As much as we love the food, if we see her working we won’t go in.”

      And from Urbanspoon:

      “To top it off, one of my eggs turned out to be an entire eggshell, no egg what-so-ever. The server, who I believe was also the owner/manager simply asked “are you ok with that?”. Didn’t offer to fix it. Didn’t even take it off the bill. Needless to say, I’ve never been back.”

      “I like Roundel, even though I can vouch for the occasionally bad service: we visited right when we first moved into the area, and were so put off by the service (provided by someone who seemed to be a manager / owner) that we stayed away for more than a year.”

      And from Yelp:

      “The owner does come across like a little over the top or pushy, though I don’t think she realizes it.”

      “I was running some errands to London Drugs one day and thought I would pop in for a quick coffee…so I sit down in the moderately filled cafe, order a coffee but when the the menu offered I declined since I only wanted the coffee. The owner/manager at this point makes some comment about this being a “restaaaaauuurant” in her faux french lilt essentially implying that I should order more or GTFO. That summed it up for me. Fuck that shit, so I took her hint and GTFOutted and never came back.”

      “Well, when the Roundel first opened, it was nice and quaint, but the last few times I’ve been the service has been horrible. I believe it is the owner (short blonde hair lady) who was crazy rude. I went in for a bowl of soup and was looked down upon because I didn’t order a meal. Come-on, The restaurant wasn’t full! If you don’t like people ordering something small, then put up a minimum order rule.”

      Are you telling me that all these reviews are lies? I seriously doubt it. Maybe the owners should find an employee to replace this woman. There is a recession going on and plenty of people would love to have her job.

  2. Vylarium says:

    The owners don’t fire her because they don’t have the same snobby pretentious attitude that you no good rotten wanna-be food critics have. Get over it. Its one of those places that has good days and bad days, as do the servers. Thankfully there are places in this world that allow there employee’s to have personalities.

    • Oh this is good. You know, I have to approve/disapprove every comment, but I went ahead and approved it because this comment is hilarious. Everyone who actually knows me knows that I am the last thing for “snobby” or “pretentious” about food. However, I am snobby about grammar. And it’s: “Thankfully, there are places in this world that allow THEIR EMPLOYEES to have personalities.” So there is a tip for you.

      And here is one more tip: you might want to READ my reviews before you start throwing around insults because this is what I actually said about the service: “from the second we arrived, the two waitresses on staff were very warm, bubbly, and friendly.” I had a good experience and my review did not reflect some of the other poor reviews I’ve read. How about you go attack them?

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