5 unique diners in Ontario


Published May 23, 2024 at 4:28 pm

unique diners ontario

Ontario has its fair share of diners, but some really stand out from the rest. We don’t just have the usual no frills old school diners here in this province with checkerboard floors, booths and stools: we also have a few diners that embrace unique themes from outer space to the 1980s.

Of course, you can still get all the standard greasy spoon fare at these establishments, but you’ll be eating it in a much more fun environment than your average diner down the street.

Here are some of Ontario’s most interesting and unique diners.

5 – Flashback

This retro Barrie restaurant doesn’t just have decor and a menu with a throwback feel, they actually have street signs at all the tables with names like Elvis Presley Blvd., Marilyn Monroe Ave. and Beatles Blvd., plus mini TVs. Of course, though, this place is equipped with the obligatory booths and pictures of iconic old celebrities on the walls.

They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner with options like liver and onions, smothered chicken, Salisbury steak, and open-faced hot roast beef, hamburger and turkey sandwiches. Don’t forget to wash everything down with a classic shake.

4 – Elsie’s Diner

Elsie’s in Owen Sound is a stellar example of a retro-themed diner that really takes you back in time. Their tagline emblazoned on the large corrugated metal building where the restaurant is housed reads “a taste of the 50s.”

Inside, there’s lots of chrome, bright red seating, checkerboard floors and tons of pastel pinks and mint greens. There’s also lots of old school style memorabilia decorating the space, which actually contains its very own ice cream parlour.

As for the food, the 50s theme extends to that as well, with old fashioned options on the menu like root beer floats, malt shakes, the Big Bopper Breakfast, meatloaf, Elvis’ Breakfast Sandwich, a Fonzie Burger, a Howdy Doody Dog and hot hamburgers.

3 – Electric Diner

Want to travel back in time to the 80s? Look no further than this 1980s-themed diner with two locations in Hamilton that serve brunch every day. Expect lots of neon, disco balls and a vibrant pink and blue colour scheme. You might even spy a jukebox or a neon sign reading “Save Ferris.”

Join the “Breakfast Club” with their brunch and chow down on a Flower Power Benny, a Turtle Power Bowl or a Strawberry Cheesecake Short Stack with pink cream cheese icing. For dinner, they’ve got an Axel Foley Burger, a Revenge of the Birds fried chicken sandwich, or The Boy George sandwich with avocado and chickpeas.

2 – Ted’s Range Road Diner

There’s no explicit theme here but this diner in Meaford is certainly wacky. It’s housed in what looks like a tiny aircraft hangar with curved walls, they regularly host live music, and they have proteins on the menu you wouldn’t expect to find at a roadside diner like escargot, frog’s legs, kangaroo and crocodile.

The adventurous dishes don’t stop there: they’ve also got bison, elk, venison and wild boar on offer. What’s more, you can add a lobster tail or crab cluster to your entree for an experience you’re unlikely to get at pretty much any other pit stop in the province.

1 – Flying Saucer Restaurant

This Niagara Falls tourist attraction looks like a UFO not only on the outside, but the inside too. What’s really out of this world is that this diner has been in business for 50 years.


The restaurant is decked out with all kinds of alien decor and some of the “windows” are fashioned to look like you’re staring out into space. Their menu also looks like an old issue of the National Enquirer, with a headline reading UFO Lands in Niagara! and an actual full “news story.”

They’re known for their breakfast, with options on the menu like an E.T. Special with pancakes, eggs, sausage, bacon, home fries and toast. For dinner, they’ve got a Stardust Medley stir fry, Universal Sandwich Space Platters, and Starship Subs, and their wine and beer is listed under “Rocket Fuel.”

  1. Flying Saucer Restaurant Niagara Falls
  2. Ted’s Range Road Diner
  3. Electric Diner
  4. Elsie’s Diner
  5. Flashback