Speedy Joe’s Diner is serving up an authentic taste of Montreal from the heart of downtown Chilliwack.
It helps that owner Joe Renaud, along with his dad, owner Roger Renaud, and owner Jody Robinson, are all originally from Montreal.
They opened their family-owned diner with a difference on Princess Avenue at Young Road, offering Lesters Montreal smoked meat, as well as steamed hot dogs as specialties.
Right now it’s delivery or pick-up from the tiny storefront diner, but plans are in the works to take over the clothing store space on the corner, to provide a small dining room for patrons.
“I’ve lived here for five years and been to a lot of restaurants,” Renaud said. But he could never find a tasty steamed hot dog topped with cole slaw the way they make back in the Belle Province.
The Renauds said realized what was missing on the downtown scene and set out to offer it, with tasty, affordable fast food, delivered 24/7.
No one else does that.
It “clicked” for him one day when he was eating another disappointing hot dog out in Kelowna. The sign said “steamed” but it wasn’t, he said, when he saw them pop it into the microwave, and he told them so.
So they decided to bring in a real hot dog steamer to do it up right, and they even finish the par-baked buns in the steamer.
The fries are fresh cut, and not frozen. They’re twice-cooked to a crispy state, which is ideal for their poutine varieties, including regular or Italian Poutine. The slaw is made in-house, with shredded cabbage, oil and vinegar and a touch of sweetness.
The traditional poutine is made with real curd cheese, and a chicken-based gravy, the Quebec way. They also offer bacon cheddar spuds, burgers, or a hot chicken sandwich.
They serve Lesters hot dogs and Montreal smoked meat exclusively at Joe’s Speedy Diner. Lesters is a well-known Quebec meat company — one of the largest in Canada, which has been around since 1931. It started out as a Jewish deli on St. Lawrence boulevard and moved into a massive plant in Laval, Quebec. Serving mainly the Quebec and Ontario, the company is run today by a third generation of the Lesters family.
“This gives everyone in Chilliwack more of a choice for going out or staying in,” Renaud said.
When they held the grand opening last month, lots of former military types came in to sample their fare. Some were from the days of the old CFB Chilliwack who were originally from Quebec, and welcomed the diner’s Montreal style deli food.
“They’re happy because they finally have a taste of back home.”
Now they’re even hoping to contribute to the downtown revitalization effort.
“We hope to change the makeup of the downtown a little with our clientele. Together we can push the negative forces out, and change the atmosphere.”
“We would eventually like to expand to the Sardis side,” he said. “It’s really seems to be catching on here, but we want it to be going strong before we expand.”
The elder Renaud said the choice of Downtown Chilliwack was by complete happenstance.
Roger and Joe were driving in downtown Chilliwack when they spotted the for rent sign on the Princess Street storefront.
“It’s kind of odd. I’m a very spiritual person. We came here by pure accident,” said Roger. “The owner had placed the for-rent sign outside about 20 minutes before we got there. We cut the deal that day, and then went in a gutted the place. And here we are.”
Call for delivery or pick up at 604-392-3666.