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Chachi's Drive In · Aug 22, 10:42 PM

Keep driving by Chachi’s Drive in.

The fries were simple crinkle cut that you can buy at any store and make yourself for $2 including the cost of hydro for running the stove.

There is no signature dish except CONEY DOGS AND BURGERS. Which we have way to many of in this town. And the only real place to get a coney dog is McKellar’s Confectionery on Arthur St.

So other than that and a real bad location. I do not see this place lasting long. There is nothing I can say about this place to encourage you to go.

AND WHY ARE THERE SOME MANY CONEY DOGS IN THUNDER BAY?

Try something original.
My guess is that this guy cashed in a pension form the mill for early retirement, followed his dream of running his own diner and will spend his life savings in keeping it afloat.

I pity the guy…
But keep on drivein’ by Chachi’s Drive In.

It is located on Cumberland on the east side of the street. Not too far before it turns into Hodder Ave. I can’t even bring m self to google it.

Visitor Reviews, Comment, & Responses from Owners. [15]

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Sanford's On Deck · Aug 16, 06:40 AM

Huh… well…
I guess the first thing is to make sure you go to the bathroom before you get to Sanford’s On Deck for dinner. The bathroom not only lacks the necessary urinal cakes, but has separate hot/cold taps in the sink -so you either burn our hands or freeze them. I recently refinished my bathroom and a pedestal sinks with a single hot/cold water tap is quite inexpensive.
Take a look at this one at Home Depot for only $34.00.

I spent quite a bit more on m sink, but if someone had to replace a bathroom sink with something from at least the latter part of the 20th century, then IT SHOULD NOT BE THAT HARD TO DO!

The lack of soap added to the rustic experience of washing your hands in the restroom and the ‘Eau de Toilette’ fragrance permeated a good 6 feet from the bathroom door.

So. That being said I will get straight to the review. Trying not to be biased on my previous visits, I took this experience at face value for what it was: the only convenient place open on a Sunday afternoon (which I will get back to later in this post).

Sanford’s On Deck has been a popular place and long time watering hole for students of every flavour, tree planters, road crews, forest firefighters, hard working men and women and then some. It provides pool tables, foosball, darts, a jukebox with a wide variety of tunes (rock to jazz to country to ska to etc.- something for everyone) and is home to many a pool and dart tournament.

They also provide, free of charge, pleasantly salted popcorn to wash down the draft.

On a Friday night it is a great place to swill back a few drinks with some good friends. And for that, it is deserving of a good many stars for it’s ambiance, service and steady flow of attractive young university students and hardened working class civilians, all out for a stiff drink, hard conversation and a good time.

But this was Sunday afternoon and we were here to eat.

I had the pizza.
Pizza pizza pizza. can’t go wrong with pizza.
They do carry the usual pub fare, but the all dressed pizza is affordable ($7.95) and was garnished with fresh chunks, and I mean CHUNKS of real mushrooms, bacon, green peppers, etc, etc..

The crust was thin and the size of the pizza was something that I could eat pretty well in one sitting, maybe taking a piece or two home for the late night munchies. But I could easily eat it all in one beer’s time.

All seemed good – seemed good. If I was drunk, or getting drunk and had a pretty girl on my arm, I would not have paid much attention to the long brown hair in the melted cheese. Had there been more cheese, I would have probably eaten the hair that hung from the large chunk of mushroom and green pepper.

But I was not drunk. And I did notice the hair in my pizza. But heck, I have eaten worse. at least I thought I did until I noticed the hair still had the follicle attached to it.

But let’s not get stuck on the hair.

The crust was thin and dry, and I assume that the oven was too hot, drying the crust before the cheese and toppings could brown.

I assumed at this point that the other regular pub fare on the menu – fish’n’chips, wings, yadda yadda – would be about the same quality but a bit more greasy.

So to sum up the entire experience of dining at Sanford’s On Deck is to take a piss before you go, get drunk before you order your meal and all will be fine until you wake up the next day and find a half eaten hair in your cold pizza.

However, the venture was not a waste. We did not intend to go the Sanford’s On Deck when we set out this fine Sunday afternoon.

Our original destination was a newish place on Cumberland Ave. near Hodder Ave. called Chachi’s Drive In. But as we soon found out (which we should have known already) that Thunder Bay Fast Food rolls up the sidewalks Saturday, leaving everything closed except dark lonely pubs and Moose Halls and Lodges (oh my!).

As we drove around downtown Port Arthur looking for those hidden gems we did spot a few places that we will review soon including a Mexican/Canadian diner (closed on Sunday), a Jamaican/Canadian diner (closed on Sunday) and a place called Ruby Moon (open on Sunday) which looks pretty classy and will try to make it into our fine dining category.

So for all you tourists coming in to Thunder Bay to grab something to eat, remember that many of Thunder Bay’s “Hidden Gems” are closed on Sunday. The ones that are open usually have a bar or are very franchised and almost always employs a ‘regular’ named Moe to sit at the bar and boast his views on the waterfront development.

In the end, it is great to see more ethnic restaurants in Thunder Bay, but sad to learn that eating at Sanford’s On Deck requires a substantial amount of alcohol to numb the mind and kill any bacteria that may be lingering on the hair in your food.

And remember, when eating at Sanford’s – There is a little bit of Sanford in every bite!

Google Map Sanford’s On Deck

On a last note, for those wanting to take home a few beers after hours, just go to the outdoor patio for ‘a smoke’ and hop the fence (with beers in hand) nearest Cumberland St. Or pass them to your partner in crime waiting on the other side.

But beware! There are cameras looking over the smoker’s patio, so Sanford may post your photo and ban you next time. Sanford is a good and honest law abiding man and a stickler for rules. All due respect is, and should always be given to him.

But you did not hear ‘the great beer heist’ from me. I would never ever ever do such a thing. ;-P Nor do I assume any liability for spilled beer or names/photos on the “DO NOT SERVE” list.

Visitor Reviews, Comment, & Responses from Owners. [1]

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Fred's Variety · Jun 04, 09:52 PM

If you’re in the Current River part of town, there is a Variety Store by the name of Fred’s Variety. Here you can get your regular convenience store stuff, Potato Chips for only $1.88 per 200 gram bag, and an assortment of 5 cent candies and gummy bear like treats.

You can also get french fries, burgers, pogos, Coney burgers, etc. Ah, the joys of a deep fryer. It is money in your pocket.

Anyways… we had the Poutine, ala Thunderbania and a cheeseburger. Now for those who have eaten real poutine, there seems to be this thing with Thunder Bay where the purveyors of fast foods think it is made with grated mozzarella cheese. This is NOT poutine. It is simple fries with gravy and cheese. As anyone who has every spoken more then grade nine french will tell you, poutine is made with cheese curds that squeak when they are warm. This is essence is the poutine experience, and Thunderbania has not figured that out.

So with fries and grated cheese with gravy in one hand, and cheeseburger in the other, with a can of Pepsi in my pocket, we ate,... and the Pepsi was fantastic; cool, bubbly, caffeinated, full of sugar and other wonderful things.

The rest? Well you let me down Fred. Although the fries had plenty of good intent, the gravy was too ungravyish and the cheese… you could have saved the whole experience if you had curds.

Like most fast food, this is quick and dirty and fills your gap. If you need something deep fried and crunchy and do not have a discriminating palette, then please go to Fred’s Variety and enjoy.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Google Map It!

Visitor Reviews, Comment & statements from owners. [2]

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Subway · May 29, 10:47 AM

So, you’re feeling guilty about the greasy burgers, eh? But you lika’da fast food, eh? Well at Subway, you can get the fast food experience, and still feel like you are eating something healthy. But are you?

I dunno. This place is an enigma to me. Tomato, lettuce, bacon, it looks like the stuff you would put on your sandwich at home, but it is in convenient fast food format. And then there was that guy that ate nothing but subway, and lost a bunch of weight. Blagh! Baa Humbug!

I had the Pizza sub, as always. My partner in crime had the cold cut trio with plenty of pickles. It filled the gap, and we don’t feel too guilty, but still am unsure if this stuff actually is food, or is even good for you or not. An enigma…

Google Map It!

Visitor Reviews, Comment & statements from owners.

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Hutch's Variety · May 28, 04:23 PM

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UPDATE – Check Out m new review on Hutch’s Variet @
Update: Hutch’s Variety Part 2 – The Best Food in Thunder Bay
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The Coney Burger I had today, well to say the least, is something I wouldn’t write home about. But I would blog it, so….

I had firmly decided to hit Merla Mae for a Cheeseburger, when the obvious lineup presented a strong sense of inconvenience. Hutch’s, which is just about a block away, proudly displayed a Famous Coney Sauce sign. A sign from the Coney man himself, assuring me that I would have a cheeseburger and coke within minutes.

First and foremost, the guy behind the till washed his hands before preparing my order. This is a good thing. THen with a freshly microwaved bun, and a ladel, he scooped the coney sauce onto the bun. Add cheese, onion, and voila! A Coney Cheeseburger ala Hutch.

The result is nothing great, bearing in mind the I am far from a expert in the field of Coney Sauce. It followed the concept of a Coney Burger, with a local added flair and seasoning, but did not stand out in my mind as a place I would frequent, or a food item I would crave in the future.

In the end, if it is conveniece, and the need to fill a gap, Hutch’s Variety stepped up to the plate. However, I would prefer to make the inconvenient choice, weather and time permitting to go to Merla Mae or McKellar Confectionary (which I will review later).

Hutch’s Variety is definately well located on the corner of John St. and Memorial/Algoma. Further, it is for sale. The addition of Fast Food to their repitoir would indicate to me that they are not out trying to enter the market, but mearly showing the potential for diversification of their business to prospective Buyers.

I would not put this on the maps, but google did, so if you want to know where to find Hutch’s,... Google Map It!

I should also mention that they have loads of VHS tapes. Hutch didn’t seem interested in getting into DVDs or new releases, so if you have a old favorite, Hutch probably has it (including XXX vids). For all else it is worth, it is a local convenience store, competing with the Mac’s a block away.

Visitor Reviews, Comment & statements from owners.

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Merla-Mae Burgers & Ice Cream · May 18, 05:11 PM

This the old school drive up fast food restaurant. It is only open seasonally, since there is no seating inside. Just a counter that you walk up to and make your order, and a parking lot with a couple picknick tables.

The burgers here are regular frozen patties you can get from any frozen food section of your local grocery store. It is the sauce that makes these burgers special. If I had to guess it would be along the lines of a Coney Sauce, but with a distinct Thunderbania style. The french fries are frozen and deep fried, with a powderd dark beef gravy.

The last time I was there I had the loaded burger, and found it a little overwhelming. Previously, the straight up cheese burger was great.

I am yet to try the ice cream, but by the lineups in the summer months, I would assume it is pretty good.

Not bad for fast food, but fast food none the less.

Google Map It!

Visitor Reviews, Comment & statements from owners.

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McDonalds... · May 18, 11:23 AM

I have heard Thunderbania described as a Big Mac Town. I think this means that the common joe that makes up the majority population is content with the Big Mac Meal, and strives little to fine the more refined foods for the short lunch break allowed. I was brought up on the weekly event of going to McDonalds for supper, and their brand was strongly burnt into my subconcious. Thus for many years, I unquestionaly hit the drive thru, or scarfed down a quarterpounder with cheese whenever the craving came about.

People here like their Big Macs and don’t see the need to think beyond that. After all, food is food, right?

The beginning of Iron Chef (original, not he americanized version) states “Show me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”

So with that… McDonalds in Thunder Bay has 5 locations, including one conveniently located in Wal-Mart. All have been updated and conform to all corporate startdards and guidelines.

No matter where you are in Thunder Bay, you can be sure to find a McDonald’s on the main roads throughout Thunder Bay.

A little side note: Rumour has it that the McDonalds on Cumberland Ave was designed to overlook the Marina. However, when it was built, it was built backwards, so that the large open windows along the side faced away from the Marina, and the drive-thru went around the Marina side giving the view to the nice young staff at both the first and second window.

Google Map It!

Visitor Reviews, Comment & statements from owners. [2]

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