A time capsule
Nestled along the somewhat barren strip of Eastern Avenue, Gale’s Snack Bar appears to be yet another shuttered hole in the wall. But no, Gale’s is certainly open for business, and has been since the 1920’s. It’s considered Toronto’s oldest eatery, and the most wonderful thing about it is that is has eschewed adapting to the times. Keeping with its history, the pricing structure is awe-inspiring—reminiscent of the days of dime stores and penny arcades.
There’s no school like the old school
Nothing on the sandwich-based menu goes over the $3 mark, flying in the face of even McDonald’s so-called cheap eats. In a city where you can get steak for $100 and a hamburger for $40, Gale’s is welcome relic of our frugal past. You may expect the fare here to be sub-par at these prices, but Gale’s is surprisingly good and, although it’s no-frills, the portions are quite adequate. The space is teeny-tiny, with a total capacity of 18 with eight anchored stools at the counter and three beat-up booths along the wall.
House of sandwiches
The menu, stationed above the counter, displays a selection of “hot sandwiches” and just “sandwiches”. Hot beef, hot turkey, hot hamburger, and hot liver introduce us to the “hot” category, with other choices of fish and chips, grilled cheese, clubhouse, hot dog, and corned beef on a kaiser. Rare picks of wieners and beans and sardine sandwiches evoke a sense of nostalgia. Other sandwiches include fried egg, chicken salad, turkey, chopped egg, minced ham, and cold beef. The final section of the board features desserts like donuts, pie a la mode, milk shakes, sundaes, and floats.