First Look

Maple Leaf Diner Is the Canadian Restaurant Dallas Needs, Eh?

Now this is what we’re talkin' aboat. After a night of watching hockey, you need a hearty brunch, eh? So hop on your snowmobile and ride to the Maple Leaf Diner, Dallas’ new Canadian restaurant.

Maple Leaf Diner opened in late September at 12817 Preston Road, and its menu is a mile-long listing of breakfast and lunch diner classics. Chicken-bacon-and-waffles is served with absurd panache, all the ingredients stacked in a giant tower and held down by an 8-inch-long wooden skewer that’s topped with a couple of fried cream puffs. There is a Canadian bent to some of the cooking. Eggs Benedict come with a thick, hearty slice of ordinary or jalapeño Canadian bacon. Want your burger with a side of poutine? They can do that, including poutine made with pot roast beef.

There’s also a delightful European influence to the menu. Cabbage rolls, pierogies, fish and chips and a full English breakfast appear. (The full English is accurate in its perfect red-pepper-spiced sausage and red beans, but the mushrooms and tomatoes had sadly never touched a griddle.) In the late afternoon, you can choose from a variety of tea services.

The Maple Leaf Diner is, maybe unlike Canada, very ambitious. In addition to tea service, breakfast until 4 p.m. and dinner specials, they have a “dairy bar” stocked with Henry’s Ice Cream from Plano. Cake by the slice beckons from an alluring case. “Pumpkin puff” cookies, cinnamon buns and other treats suggest that maybe you shouldn’t finish that 10-inch-tall Magic Mike Burger.

In time, Canadian owners Michael and Debbie DeLaurier may regret the size of this ambitious menu. Service is spotty; it took three trips to our table for the waitress to clarify how we wanted our eggs. But the DeLaurier family has experience in the business, including an Ontario restaurant that was featured on Food Network Canada. They’ve designed the diner beautifully, with a case of Canadian souvenirs, some cartoon Mounties, a smattering of tiny carved moose heads and an awful lot of maple leaves. All that’s missing is a photographic collage of Don Cherry suits. And if everything is as good as the chicken and waffles, we’ll definitely be regulars. Three cheers for the Great White North, eh?

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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart