Every city is filled with all sorts of hidden gems that even many of the locals don’t know about unless they live in the neighborhood. For a time, that may have been Helen’s Grill on Main Street. Every knows about the cheap breakfasts at Bon’s, but where else can you go for some bacon and eggs on a budget? Drive a short distance southeast from Metrotown and you’ll find Jules Cafe. That’s assuming you don’t drive right past it.
The Metro Vancouver area is home to a lot of great restaurants. Many of the newer eateries get their inspiration from tradition, but they want to modernize their menus with some creative flair. Fable Diner on Broadway and Jethro’s Fine Grub on Fraser are prime examples of that. Jules Cafe isn’t like that at all.
The breakfast menu at Jules Cafe is available until 11 am during the week, but you can order from it all day on Saturday and Sunday. Don’t expect a world of creativity or innovation here. Instead, Jules offers your typical diner classics, along with some fresh baked goods and espresso-based caffeination. The menu the rest of the day consists mostly of burgers and sandwiches.
And while Jules Cafe is a “sit down” restaurant and not a fast food joint, it has been described as “cafeteria” style. You order and pay at the front upon entering, gazing at the menu above your head. There is a “pick up” section at the end of the counter, but at least when we were there, everything was being brought to customers’ tables. Service is friendly and prompt.
The Buttermilk Pancakes and Bacon ($6.25), alternatively available with sausage or ham instead, comes stacked three high with a small slice of melon. The pancakes were remarkably fluffy, making for a delightful carb-loaded breakfast. The two slices of bacon were nice and crispy too, which I really like. The plate arrived with a small side of table syrup, but you can always go up to the condiment stand to get more.
The Jules Omelette ($8.00) lets you load up with your choice of three fillings. We went with ham, cheese and mushrooms. It may not look like anything particularly special, but this omelette — served with toast and potatoes — was very well executed. Like the pancakes, it too was light, airy and fluffy.
The fillings were all chopped up very finely, likely for ease of cooking. The potatoes appear to be of the generic frozen variety, which made them the least exciting component of this dish.
To help us warm up on a cool weekend morning, we also got the Soup of the Day ($2.00 small, as shown), a beef barley in this case. It wasn’t bad. It just wasn’t anything special and it didn’t even come with crackers. I’m not sure I would necessarily order it again.
The people at Jules Cafe, who are Korean from what I can guess, aren’t trying to break new ground or forge new frontiers. They just want to deliver humble, delicious food at a reasonable price. Consider that so many other “regular” breakfast chains easily charge over $10 for a basic bacon and eggs, which would be just $6.75 at Jules. That’s a little more than Bon’s, but not by much and the food is better too.
The total bill came to right around $22, including taxes, gratuity and one cup of regular coffee ($2.00). If you’re looking for a humble “greasy spoon” diner that really isn’t all that greasy at all, Jules Cafe is a solid bet.