My friend Jack has been telling me about Al’s Diner in Ottawa for some time now, a popular spot on Clyde Street that serves breakfast and a whole lot of other menu items all day long. Now that is my kind of place, so it was indeed time to explore.
The place opens at 6 am Monday to Saturday and 7 am on Sundays, remaining open for dinner Tuesday to Friday. Besides an array of breakfast items, the regular menu consists of items like pizza, wings, burgers, salads, fish and much more. They offer quick pick-up and delivery and you can order online at www.alsdiner.ca
There are 110 seats inside and 35 on the patio. Owner Al Ayoub told me that before the pandemic, the place was averaging about $1,000 a week in orders via Uber, Skip and Door Dash. That quadrupled during the lockdown and has remained constant since.
Al’s parents ran a greasy spoon in this spot called Skyline Restaurant from 1970 to 1975 and then rented it out until 1990. At that time Al stepped in, moving on from his profession in sales, gutting the place and rebranding it as Al’s with its present format. “During the pandemic, I repainted the place and made some cosmetic changes,” Al noted. “We also provide catering for sports teams, parties, office events and more.”
The place attracts a lot of regulars. “Those people are here five days a week,” Al said, motioning towards some clients. “We have a great following of regulars, young and old. Kids that were coming in with their parents, are now coming in with their own children, which is great to see.”
Al can also count on the support of his wife Anita, who works as a server and operates the place when he’s not on duty.
I was there for breakfast, of course, comfortably seated on the patio on a warm weekday summer morning. A lot of restaurants stop this service towards lunch hour, but not Al’s. “You need to have a really good grill to provide breakfast all day,” Al explained. “I am glad I invested in one.”
Looking at the menu, it was hard to make a choice, but I settled on three slices of golden-brown cinnamon raisin French toast, with sides of crispy home fries, bacon and rye toast with my standard cup of decaf coffee. I also ordered a chicken sandwich to take back with me for lunch. It was delicious.
There are a variety of Al’s breakfast specials. They all come with a choice of home fries, baked beans, or tomato slices, as well as toast and coffee. From eggs and omelets to pancakes, waffles and smoked salmon bagels the choices are endless. I look forward to coming back for lunch and dinner and sampling something among the fish n’ chips, smoked meat club, wraps, hot beef dip, burgers, pizza, chicken wings, lasagna, spaghetti and meatballs, shepherd’s pie or veggie spring rolls.
Al’s is located at 834 Clyde Avenue. Opening hours at 6 am to 3 pm Mondays, 6 am to 7:30 pm Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 6 am to 8 pm Thursdays and Fridays, 6 am to 3 pm Saturdays and 7 am to 3 pm Sundays. This is a licensed restaurant that serves alcohol. For more information call 613-761-74988 or log on to www.alsdiner.ca