With lockdown over for the moment, a classic diner in Timmins is back to being a triple treat establishment, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The Broadway Restaurant on Third Avenue has been a popular local eatery for decades. Madeleine and Maurice Lavergne are the current owners.
“For us, it has been 23 years in the fall,” she said. “We started in October, 1997. I know it was open for quite a while before with different owners, but I don’t know the background of it.”
During lockdown, the diner had limited hours and was providing takeout only. The Lavergnes and staff were anxious to get back to serving customers.
“As soon as Mr. Ford gives us the go-ahead, we’ll be ready to go,” she said, prior to the reopening.
When the region was placed in the Orange level for provincial reopening, a Facebook announcement showed they were ready to spring into action.
“We are happy to say that we will be open for dine-in service starting Feb. 16! We will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and COVID-19 rules apply. Please help our staff, customers and community stay safe and do not come in if you have symptoms of being ill," reads the post.
“We are happy to say that our daily takeout and ‘Feed your Household’ specials will continue for both dine-in and takeout. If you are not yet feeling quite comfortable joining us for dine-in service, we get that and we’ve got your back! We’ve got you covered with our takeout option.”
So, what is it about the food at The Broadway that has endeared the eatery to local residents?
“Maybe it’s the poutine,” Madeleine said. “People say we have good breakfast. People say we have good liver and it’s a good seller.
“It’s French Canadian cuisine. We sell a lot of poutine, it’s very popular. And breakfast, our breakfasts are very popular. Fried bologna is a good seller. So is cretons, that’s a good seller. A few years ago, we brought in the little meat pies and that’s been a good seller to go with a breakfast or a meal. We try once in a while to bring in something different to the menu.”
The menu has standards like burgers, fries, hot sandwiches and more. Like many diners, there are daily specials handwritten on whiteboards, so some regulars don’t even need a menu. But it is the French food that sets it apart. And it is all homemade.
“We have pea soup every Friday, like many French Canadian restaurants. That’s a good seller on Fridays,” she said. “On Fridays, I try to make pouding chômeur, or poor man’s pudding. It’s like a white cake in a syrup, upside down.
“I think we’re famous for the homemade pies also. A lot of people tell us that there’s not too many places in town where they can get raisin pie.”
It’s not only the older crowd who make up the regulars at The Broadway. A number of younger adults make it a must-stop following a big night out on the weekend.
“We have big breakfasts, like the farmer’s breakfast. A lot of the young people they’ll come in Sunday around one or two o’clock,” she explained. “That’s the time they get up and they’re hungry. So, they come in for a big breakfast.”
During lockdown, The Broadway offered specials that would serve an entire family with takeout, such as cheeseburger platters or fish and chips for four.
“They can have anything on the menu,” Madeleine said of their takeout options.
The Lavergnes have enjoyed their years in the restaurant business, and even has a burger named after him.
“That’s why it’s called Mo’s burger,” she said. “It has two patties and the works. It’s very popular.”
Regular customers at The Broadway like to come in and chat. Prior to lockdown, many would come in every week or even more.
“We have a lot of people, like any other family restaurant, they get to know each other,” she said. “Saturdays and Sundays are very busy with families and after church.”
The Broadway Restaurant is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and is located at 71 Third Ave. in Timmins. You can reach them at 705-264-3434 or find them on Facebook.