RED TOP DRIVE INN
Neighbourhood: St. Boniface
Address: 219 St. Mary’s Rd
Not many restaurants hold the magic of a time machine, but one step inside this St. Boniface gem and the spell is cast. Red Top Diner has been serving scratch-made diner classics to Winnipeggers since the 1960s. One can’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia when eating at this neighbourhood nook, which harkens back to an era when red pleather seats and home style cooking reigned.
This cheery laid-back diner favours simplicity over trends, and tradition over fashion. A purveyor of enormous portions, the menu is heavy on old favourites like breakfasts, burgers and crispy hand cut fries. It’s hard to make a mistake with can’t miss favourites like the cheezburger, smothered in famous chili sauce. Dining here isn’t complete without an order of Red Top’s famous chicken. Pressure frying seals in the meats juices, yielding extremely tender results. There’s no aggressive seasoning, just perfectly fried-to-order fowl, so good, no wonder it’s the city’s best.
The burger offerings are robust and start a mere $5. The Greek burger is mandatory. This hearty jaw-stretcher has crumbled feta and tzatziki, offering a cool and creamy bite. For big eaters, the monster burger is a must. A side of scratch made creamy coleslaw complements this caloric overload, six patties high.
Meals can only be described as mighty, with menu items like veg and roast beef filled sandwiches, piled high with ruffled lettuce. The triple-decker is a leaning tower of ham, crispy bacon and three slices of soft rye that requires two hands and a big appetite.
Luxuriously thick, Red Top’s much buzzed-about milkshakes are a throwback to old-fashioned ice cream parlours. For more of the sweet stuff, honey-soaked and nutty baklava is another standout. The serving is hefty but light, even after a hearty meal.