White Star Diner
Address: 258 Kennedy
One of the best parts of eating at a bonafide old-school diner is getting swept up in nostalgia brought on by memorabilia and mom-and-pop fare. White Star Diner takes it one step further, whisking customers away with curated wistfulness of a decidedly nautical slant.
Chef and founder Bruce Smedts’ two great passions—well-executed diner cuisine and ocean liners—come together in this downtown corner spot. Named after the British shipping line that operated famous ocean liners, the diner is stuffed with keepsakes collected by Smedts and gifted to him by Winnipeg’s fellow ocean liner enthusiasts through the years. A stack of books about the Titanic, the most notable ship of the White Star Lines fleet, are within reach of waiting customers seeking sea-faring intrigue, and a mini replica of the still-running RMS Queen Mary adorns the wall.
The fun doesn’t stop with the diner’s design: White Star Diner serves 17 sandwiches, 11 burgers and 40 milkshakes, and diners can mix and match ingredients. Meatloaf, spiked with horseradish, comes as an entrée slathered in gravy and mushrooms or mixed with fries and cheesy squeakers for an extraordinarily decadent poutine. Pulled pork, made in-house, is piled onto burgers and grilled cheeses alike while red wine mushrooms add a boost to every meaty dish they accompany.
A veggie iteration of the classic Reuben sandwich with all the sauerkraut and thousand island dressing fixings surprises and delights. This meat-free alternative to an old favourite posits fresh tomato slices as the main filler instead of corned beef—and in doing so invents the ultimate tomato sandwich. Sides like carrot and potato stampot, a comforting mashup of root vegetables, and deli-style coleslaw doused in a juicy vinaigrette are vibrant options.
Milkshakes are worth the extra calories—especially if you believe the chalkboard declaring the 40 flavours “slimming.” Some shakes, like the spot-on creamsicle, pay homage to childhood, and others, like the chocolate raspberry balsamic, are creative offerings to today’s foodie palates.
Much like the ships that transport tourists on luxe transatlantic vacations, White Star Diner invests in experience, serving top-notch sandwiches, burgers and poutines in a memorable atmosphere.