The Main Street Diner - An Iconic Mainstay Of Nelson

The Main Street Diner on 616 Baker Street in Nelson has been in business since 1983, that's right, coming up to almost 40 years. This fantastic restaurant has weathered the test of times and it was actually established during a recession. In the early 1980s Nelson suffered a devastating downturn of the economy after the local Kootenay Forest Products sawmill and the University were closed. A great initiative and effort to revitalize the downtown got underway and saw the restoration of Baker Street's historical buildings and facades back to their original brilliance. By 1985, Baker Street was completely transformed, new stores and restaurants were opening, tourists and even celebrities like Steve Martin were drawn to the reinvented arts and culture hamlet.

Like a prop, the Main Street Diner on Baker Street has been a pillar of support and service to the community for all those decades.

I have had lots of yummy meals there over the years with family and friends. What keeps me coming back? The consistency of their great food and excellent service.

While I was in town on a greyish afternoon in early October I took my hubby there for lunch. Seating was available at one table inside or on 2 separate patios. The patio which is located directly in front of the restaurant under the awning, sports patio heaters. That's where I managed to get a table for us. It is a great spot to enjoy the fresh mountain air.

I just have to add this bit from the Main Street Diner's Facebook page:

"Throwing it way back. In 1991 the Main Street Diner became the first restaurant in Nelson to offer a ‘radical’ new concept to diners... eating outside! Ha!!"

How about that? Isn't that interesting?

On the patio, pretty flower and mint planters formed a perimeter, happy Greek music was playing from the speakers; a chipper server was at our side in an instant. My hubby ordered a green tea for me and an Americano for himself. The coffee must have been a triple shot. It was amazing and surprisingly, hands down, the best I have ever seen in this area! What an impressive amount of crema! Every aspiring barista knows that crema is one of the most prized components of a well-made espresso. Caramel-colored and creamy in texture, the foamy puff is created when hot water emulsifies coffee bean oils and floats atop the espresso with smooth little bubbles. The Main Street Diner knows their stuff. Check out the photo below to see what I am talking about.

The Main Street Diner is famous for their Greek specialties such as Calamari, Homous or Tzatziki & Pita, Dolmades (grape leaves, stuffed with rice), special Filo pastries (Spanikopita - spinach & feta, Tyropita - 4 cheeses, Cotopita - chicken) as well as Beef and Chicken Souvlaki. Every Friday and Saturday evening they do their fabulous fresh Mediterranean Style Roast lamb dinner, served with Greek Briam (like a ratatouille), Baked Orzo & your choice of starter salad or house made soup. It is to die for! A Must Try when you get the chance! Limited quantities so call ahead if you’d like to ensure you don’t miss it!

For my lunch I ordered Greek food, Homous & Pita and Cotopita with the house salad. I just love the flavorful garlicky chickpea spread. The Cotopita is a savory crispy filo pastry, filled with Greek chicken, rosemary, mushroom, parmesan, onions & pine nuts. These individual pies are super good eats! Of a lovely consistency and very satisfying!

It's the real deal here! I can speak from experience as I was lucky enough to travel to Greece on 3 sepate occasions. I remember munching on Tyropitas that I had bought from a street vending cart in Athens, while perusing the Acropolis. The Greek food at the Diner reminds me very much of the old country. Some of the best Mediterranean cuisine I encountered, was at small seaside eateries, where locals mingled with a few tourists on the beautiful isle of Crete. The towns of Plakias and Damnoni near the famous palm tree lined beach of Preveli, located at the exit of an imposing gorge, were my stomping grounds in my earlier days. It is being said, that the yummy and delectable Greek diet with lots of fresh seafood is one of the healthiest in the world.

Talking about fish now, the Main Street Diner is well known for their fish and chips, a very popular take out item and a Nelson tradition for over 35 years. My husband stuffed himself with their 3 piece fish and chips, called the Queen Mary. They are 3 oz cod filets, battered to order and this dish comes with a generous side of coleslaw and tartar sauce. Perfection on a plate! They use the locally produced ale from the Nelson Brewing Company in their fish batter to achieve an English pub style crunchy coating. The Main Street Diner even offers various family packs called "Schools of Fish" (for example the "Senior" with 12 pieces of fish!!!) to accommodate a big gathering.

The chips are fresh Russet potatoes which are cut on a daily basis and have been nominated Nelson's best fries. If you just want to eat fries, try the Amsterdam Pommefrits, they are served with mayo. So delicious! That's the original most popular Dutch snack, the "Patat". I used to live in Amsterdam, the Netherlands for more than 7 years and whenever I got a craving I would bike to the down town area just to stand in line to buy this hot treat from a "hole in the wall" type snack bar, which specializes only in French fries and various condiments to go with it. The Main Street Diner does it justice! They also have several versions of Poutine on the menu. Buffalo Chicken poutine! What? That sounds incredibly tasty.

Burgers are big on the menu and on the plate, lots to choose from. Worth mentioning besides the charbroiled 160 gram beef burgers, are the Athenian, the burger they named a city after, a Kefta lamb burger, the Surf and Turf - (a cheese burger with calamari, tzatziki and the fries-WOW), the fish burger and the Oyster Deluxe burger.

And when you think that you have seen it all, you discover the wraps, sandwiches and pita melts. You really need to go there and read through the menu yourself to see what strikes your fancy.

I hear that Nancy, the previous owner, the face that everyone is familiar with because she was always there, hands on, working hard, has passed on the diner to her nephew. Keeping it in the family is grand, keeping the tradition alive. She is still around however to bake yummy cheese cakes and scrumptious pies, something I have yet to try myself. I am usually to full for dessert because the servings are that large.

You have not been there in a while? What are you waiting for? Go there or call them at (250) 354-4848 to order take out or find out what is new today.

The Main Street Diner is always special for lunch or dinner.

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