Willman’s Fried Foods Ltd – September 18th, 2007
Our apologies for the long silence from Diner Tuesdays. The summer in Halifax is so short and we were busy having so much fun…the blog was neglected. With almost a dozen historic Halifax diners on our list still to be visited we will do our best to file some more reports in the coming months.
We are relaunching Diner Tuesdays with a top-notch diner. Willman’s Fried Foods Ltd. is a North End gem. The diner was established in 1946 (see Halifax: Then and Now for more detail). There is limited eat-in seating consisting of cheerful orange plastic seats and a photographic mural of fish that takes up one whole wall. Willman’s seems to specialize in take-out dining. While we were there a woman came in who has been eating at Willman’s for over 30 years. She lives in the United States but, makes a point of visiting Willman’s whenever she is back in Halifax. She told us that the diner hasn’t changed much since she was a teenager.
As usual we tried to sample a full range of menu items: 2 pieces fish and chips, clam strips and chips and Lucien’s homemade burger. The fish was delicious. The batter is light and not greasy…apparently something that Lucien has been perfecting for many years. The clam strips were excellent. The french fries were fantastic, melt-in-your-mouth, fresh-cut and certainly never frozen. The portions were generous, almost too generous, one felt somewhat guilty at not being able to finish everything that was on the plate (especially because it was all so delectable). Amanda thought that her homemade burger was good, but she regretted not ordering some form of fried seafood as it was obviously Lucien’s specialty, pride and joy.
There is a sign on the wall that proclaims: “We offer Newfie style.” We had to ask what this meant…It turned out to be fries covered in gravy with a summer savoury bread stuffing. It is like poutine with stuffing instead of the cheese curds. Lucien brought us a trial-sized plate. It was an odd combination, but delicious.
Lucien offers four kinds of vinegar: white, malt, cider and wine…he laughingly suggested he could probably find us some balsamic if we wanted it. If Diner Tuesdays had a rating system, Willman’s would receive top marks.
As we were leaving we said: “You know we’ll be back.”
Lucien grinned and replied: “Anytime and we’ll be happy to see you.”