The Breakfast Project: Thurston’s Diner (769 Lock St)

After a brief hiatus (because BPC was off soaking up some rays in Costa Rica), we’re back with empty stomachs and a serious craving for some bacon.

This week’s search found us at Thurston’s Diner (769 Lock St.), an old haunt for BPC. However, this was the first time he’d been back in years.

From the outside, it looks just like any typical small town diner. Not much to look at – the sort of place you could drive right by without a second glance if you didn’t know what you were looking for.

Inside is pretty much the same. There’s a counter to one side where all the locals seem to sit and chat with the owners – a staple of a good local breakfast joint.

It wouldn’t be a true breakfast experience without a few inappropriate jokes and some laughs from the old men who waste away time at the counter, nursing a coffee and watching whatever sports re-run is playing on the old, dusty TV in the corner.

The other side of the diner is host to a Peterborough sports wall of fame, with pictures of many local sport heroes and a few signatures as well. BPC and I found ourselves situated at the back of the restaurant right under this wall so that all the inhabitants of the pictures could look down and watch us as we enjoyed our breakfasts.

Quite promptly after sitting down, our waitress came over, took our tea orders, and gave us a second with the menus. As you know by now, BPC and I always order the breakfast special – two eggs over-easy (over-medium for BPC), bacon, brown toast, and home fries. It’s the one constant in our lives.

Our teas arrived (in teapots that pour, I might add!) and we gave our orders and settled in for the wait. Much to my joy and surprise, breakfast arrived only minutes later and we dug right in.

Right off the bat, I remembered why BPC loved this place so much. He used to find himself there every Saturday morning, so much so that the waitress who worked that morning knew him by name and always took out a little time to chat with him. She wasn’t there this morning but we still enjoyed the atmosphere and the breakfast.

At first glance, I could tell the potatoes were cooked exactly as I like them – fried lightly with spices in a pan just enough that they get that perfect crispy coating on a few sides. They were also that perfect texture – not too soft and not too hard. I could have done with a little more seasoning but that’s nothing a few shakes of the salt dispenser couldn’t fix. As Goldilocks would say, “They were just right.” There was also a ton of them. I never understand why diners are so skimpy on their potato portions but Thurston’s obviously doesn’t have that problem, which is a huge plus for them.

Much to my excitement, I quickly noted that there were not three but FOUR slices of bacon expertly laid over the rest of my breakfast. On a side note, I will add that the bacon was slightly undercooked for me, but I could still eat it and BPC’s was cooked perfectly, so it’s a problem I can forgive, considering breakfast did arrive in under ten minutes.

The eggs were also cooked perfectly. Mine had that lovely avalanche of golden yellow yolk while BPC’s were a little harder just like he prefers.

The best part for me though was the toast. I’m not sure if it was homemade but it certainly had more substance and flavour (and it was thicker) than your typical cheap diner toast. Our breakfasts also came with jam packets on the side of our plates which BPC quickly snatched up.

All in all, BPC and I thoroughly enjoyed our breakfasts. It will definitely get added back onto our usual breakfast cycle especially since it is so close to the Saturday morning market. It also has that great old-school diner vibe that is so rare to find these days.

It’s not my all-time favourite breakfast in Peterborough but if you’re looking for a good bang for your buck and a tasty breakfast to boot, this is your place for sure.

At the end, breakfast was $5.99 each, which includes the breakfast special and a tea, coffee, or small juice. We both agreed it was one of the best deals in town. We’ll certainly be back soon.

Below is my personal rating scale for breakfasts. Each component of breakfast will be rated out of 10 on my bacon scale. Overall atmosphere will also be rated. This includes the staff we encounter and the general ambience of the restaurant.

Bonus points can also be awarded for things like a surprise piece of fruit on the plate or extra embellishments to the meal like a sprig of parsley or homemade toast.

I’ll add up all these points and award each restaurant an overall mark and at the end of the adventure we’ll see who the reigning champs of breakfast are, and which breakfasts should just be avoided in my not-so-humble opinion.

breakfast score

Scores so far:

East City Coffee Shop = 52 bacon strips

The Whistlestop Café = 45 bacon strips

Nicholls Oval Restaurant = 41 bacon strips

Queensway Restaurant = 40 bacon strips