MORNING GLORY (457 King East, at Gilead Place, 416-703-4728) Complete meals for $12 per person, including all taxes, tip and a fruit nectar. Open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 8 am to 3 pm, Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 3 pm. Closed Wednesday. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: two steps at door, washrooms in basement. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
So far, Morning Glory has flown under the radar of local foodies, and co-owner James Feistner couldn't be happier.
It's allowed the diminutive east-side diner he and partner Heidi Roeder launched a year ago to develop at its own pace and build a small but devoted following for its deluxe all-day breakfasts. Watch their numbers increase as of NOW.
When we later discover that both are veterans of Aunties and Uncles, that much-loved luncheonette on Lippincott just north of College, Morning Glory's long-term success seems inevitable. Though the two restaurant's menus are dissimilar, they deliver exactly the same thing - quality product at wallet-friendly price points. But before you lot race over there en masse, remember this Corktown café has all of 16 seats, 19 if you're particularly nubile.
Morning Glory comes with a few more limitations as well. It opens every weekday morning at 8 (9 on the weekends) and closes every afternoon at 3, except Wednesdays when it's shuttered around the clock. The card's short, too - some all-day egg combos, a couple of sandwiches and a daily soup. It doesn't sound like much, but the attention to detail is impressive.
Start with the airy, off-cream space. Any traces of the former flower shop and cat hospital have been replaced by an orderly room accented with modish pale olive and teal, dominated by a dark, wooden pew. To the rear, a large French train station clock hung next to a burnt-orange wall-mounted Princess rotary phone looks over a minimal open kitchen. On its counter, a laptop sits waiting for someone to update the cafe's ongoing blog (www.morningglory.ca/news.html). The attendant soundscape stretches all the way from the Velvet Underground to the Supremes and back again.
All of Morning Glory's first-rate breads are pre-proofed and house-baked each morning to become the starting point for super sandwiches, like thinly sliced smoky Bavarian-style ham, sharp Canadian cheddar and ripe Roma tomato on chewy baguette spread with sweet butter and garlicky house aíoli (all sandwiches $5/$7 with soup or salad).
The baguette gets toasted for the Dubstyle and plastered with smooth cream cheese, tomato and meaty centre-cut bacon, while an exceptional ciabatta accompanies the eponymous tuna salad accentuated with tart green apple and crunchy red onion, simplicity itself.
Only offered currently as a bi-weekly special, the house curried chicken club deserves a place on the permanent roster. Marinated overnight in cumin-spiked yogurt, the plump breast gets grilled before being stuffed into a ciabatta loaded with leaf lettuce, ripe tomato and more of that fantastic aíoli.
Better to pair them all with an Asian-inspired soup - sinus-clearing squash purée swimming with crushed Szechuan peppercorn or complex lentil nipped with citrus and caramelized onion - than the mesclun ordinaire in standard vinaigrette option. Or slurp the soups solo ($4 with bread/$2.50 cup).
Bigger appetites will be abated by substantial omelettes (all $7.50), their fluffy-perfect exteriors stuffed with tasty combos such as Havarti 'n' leek or Brie paired with pear and sided with crisp potato rösti and sesame-seeded white toast. Remember to ask for Roeder's remarkable from-scratch ketchup.
I've never been a breakfast person - I'm more "a beer, a line and a cold leftover slice" type - but I could easily get into the Morning Glory habit, especially if I started my afternoon with its lovely bacon and egg butty ($5). Only one thing stops me - where's the flipping beans on toast?