The Red Wagon is a neighbourhood joint serving diner classics.
Went here for a late lunch or an early dinner at 330pm. Had to wait still for a table for 25 mins. The restaurant was filled. Ordered three breakfast specials which consist of toasts, eggs, bacon etc and I ordered the pork belly sandwich. The food was tasty and hot. The breakfast specials was very good and plentiful. The pork belly sandwich was delicious, a bit too rich if you did not ration the bread to pork. The service was decent and the ambiance was colorful to the area. I enjoyed the food and found the experience to be positive till we had to pay. When we first sat down to order, I mentioned that I had 2 entertainment coupon which states buy one meal and get the second meal free up to (approx. $10). I asked specifically if we could use both these coupons as we are ordering 4 entrees as we do not venture to Vancouver that ofter. The waitress stated yes. So when it came to pay the bill, we were told that they can only honor one of the coupon. I inquired why and the head waitress stated that our waitress is new and was not familiar with the entertainment coupon. If there was an issue or she felt that she did not know the answer, she should have asked someone who would known as the only reason we ordered 4 entrees is to use the coupons. If we were told only one coupon, then we would have ordered less as the kids did not eat that much. The head waitress try to press the issue that the waitress is new, but I said that was not my problem. Eventually they honored the entertainment coupon. A little misunderstanding but the overall experience at Red Wagon was positive.
Given the brouhaha of Red Wagon it obviously necessitated an eventual visit. My gf and I lucked out on a quiet weekend afternoon between the lunch and dinner hour detail as it is always busy when I pass by.
Whether deliberate or not, the space itself feels predetermined as it is decidedly unkempt but with peppy indie rock looming in the background. Positive ambiance relies solely on the customers themselves but we were one of only a couple of occupied tables at the time. The waft of lemon cleaner and mop water was a big turnoff for us as one of the staff members decided it would be a good idea to mop the floor during service. Considering the proximity to food it may stifle one's appetite.
Now, the menu is small but it makes for easy decisions. My gf's pulled pork sandwich had an ample fill though I found the meat itself bland if not for the sauce while my gf found it a touch too tang. The fries were plentiful and crispy. I started with the butternut squash soup of the day, which was simple and creamy and mildly seasoned. My crispy pork belly sandwich was akin to a Vietnamese banh mi combined with chinese bbq pork. The pork was tender with a nice sweet and slightly salty tinge but the pickled vegetables completely overpowered each bite. Much of the baguette collected the pork fat making it a greasy adventure for butter fingers. My "chips" were homemade through and through but far too oily and lacked crunch. We finished off with a slice of apple pie which had a good filling of apples without the typical store-bought taste and a nice crust.
Kitchen speed is slow so lunch hour excursions beware. Our server was friendly and I noticed she checked our table from afar however no water top ups and several mistakes on their end namely: wrong drink order, I substituted the chips for fries but received chips and was then subsequently charged for the fries I didn't get anyway. At the time we were one of two occupied tables so that was was a strange oversight.
One trip already yielding such mixed results..I may need many visits to like this place.
We probably would never have tried Red Wagon if it wasn't for DD&D's coverage and other word-of-mouth so when we easily got seated on a Friday evening, we were excited and maybe expecting a bit too much. The server was great. Efficient and cute. The decor is cool because it looks unchanged from 1960. The kitchen appears to be as big as your average apartment kitchen and the chef nearly hits his head on the sill everytime he steps out. If you need to go to the bathroom, you'll have to walk thru the kitchen...how cool is that?
We ordered a Pulled Pork Sand, Duck/Lettuce/Tomato (DLT) Sandwich and other stuff. Both sandwiches were good with the DLT superior. The Iced Tea was outstanding. I would probably recommend this place to someone looking for something different and retro.
I went here on a friday for lunch at 12:30, there was no line up and the place was almost full. It had about 2 small tables open so I was in luck. They were busy like always so service seemed a little slow, I had to wait 5 minutes for a menu, the waitress apologized for the wait when she finally arrived. The place is like a diner basically, nothing special about the look of the place.. must be the food.
I ordered a $2.55 coffee and the $12.50 Pulled Pork Pancakes. The meal was good, you could actually taste the alcohol in the syrup and it was the perfect sweet/booze ratio. The pancakes were good, this was a solid dish.
Overall, small diner like place, kind of slow service, creative breakfasts. I would never wait in a line up to eat here like I see people doing on the weekends. I have no interest in returning really unless a friend wants to go and asks me to join them.
I have been a Sunrise resident for the last 5 years. I always enjoy going to the Red Wagon, it's a gem, and for locals that appreciate a greasy spoon , it's doesn't get any better than this. The place has a lot of character, staff are always pleasant , hard working ,and hearty. The food is great, I always pick the trucker or the $7 breaky. The pancakes are awesome sauce and the hash is so flavourful. Yes kids and hipsters it gets busy, staff get run off their feet, mistakes happen, be patient and there always willing to accommodate and fix things , don't create things in your head.
SPECIAL NOTICE: For those who are impatient, have a sense of entitlement or presume they have high standards, grow up! Good things comes to those who wait. If you came half way across Vancouver to wait 45 mins, then you are in for it for the long haul, deal with it. It's a great breakfast joint and there is only so much space so if you get fussy I'm sure the cooks can whip you up a nice poo sandwich!
There was a very long line up. When I got my pulled pork sandwich, OMG! Well worth the weight.
The crispy pork belly was really good as well. A little bland, but with the rest of the mean, it suites, quite well.
Most people there had the pancakes. The pulled pork pancakes looked like a hit. Next time I will definately try it.
I was really craving a great breakfast and I found raving reviews on this restaurant,so we went on a late Sunday morning, got to the restaurant around 11:45am, there was a line up inside and outside, we thought the wait would be short, boy were we wrong! The restaurant is small but clean, it has decors to give you that old diner feel. The music is good. We were offered coffee while we waited which was nice! However we didn't get seated until 1pm! Service was good, but slow! The front of the house was working the crowd but the kitchen was taking forever to cook. By the time we sat down, food came another half hour later I ate my pork back eggs benedict so quick I almost don't remember how good it tasted. The portion was small but satisfying. The hollandaise sauce was well prepared, free ranged pouched egg was cooked to perfection, there was bacon bits with the hash browns. The shredded back bacon was good. $10 for the meal, you can substitute the eggs for free range eggs for an additional $1. I think the price is a bit much for such a small portion, but the breakfast here is unique. They have specials every day, its a local joint in East Van, they are very busy so do not go hungry and expect a table without a long wait.
After seeing it on TV I have been wanting to go to the Red Dragon for a long time, today was the day I finally went. I understand this place is busy so I patiently waited in line, I expected that. I was second in line with my friend and 20 minutes later another couple showed up, 5 minutes later all of us were seating at the same time. As soon as I walked in my first though was the food must be amazing because the decor and ambiance is horrible and cheap. We were seated beside the couple that was ahead of us in the line up. They brought us the menu and we looked at it, within a few minutes we were ready to order. I was going to order the eggs breakfast with the fryed pork belly ( I saw it on TV) and my friend wanted the vegeratrian omlette. 10 minute later l looked around and they were taking the order of the people that came in line with 20 minutes after us. Then 10 minutes later they took the order for the people that were ahead of us in the lineup. We had to wait another 10 minutes and had to call the waitress over to take our order. I was already upset that they took the order of the people that were behind us 20 minutes before.I was upset but didnt say anything.
20 minutes later our food showed up. My breakfast was horrible. The toast was so dry without any butter on it, the eggs were completely wrong and one was broken. Hashbrown taste like recooked mashed potatoes so not crispy at all.The pork belly was ok at best but 95% fat but I guess that the way it is.
I was so disappointed that I ddint even leave a tip. I cant believe people wait in line for ths place. its nothing special!!
All hype and very dirty. On the positive the girl that brings the water was working hard and always there to fill it up.
Stopped by here for Lunch. Was recommended by a lotta people I know, so I figured to give it a shot. Our Server recommended the "Club", so that's what I got. It was a Sandwich with Turkey Salad, Lettuce, and bacon. The Bacon was crispy, and Sandwich was sliced in 4, but, well put together. The fries were really crispy and good. I enjoyed it. My friend had the Pulled pork sandwich. It looks pretty awesome. I nicked a piece of the Pork, it was ok. The Sauce was made in house I think, and was a bit tangy. The food here is decent, came out quick and hot. I thought that it was a bit pricey considering it's just East Side Diner food. The portions weren't particularly big neither, enough to fill, but, not enough to stuff. For the price, I'd figure it'd be a bigger Sandwich or what not, but, it was alright. I thought the service was good. They came by prompty, refilled our water consistently.
If I was in the neighborhood I'd stop by again, but, I wouldn't go out of my way. And, I would NEVER even consider waiting 45 minutes to eat at this place. I just think that it's a lot of hype.
My friends and I had an awesome brunch here. Sunday morning we showed up about 10 minutes before the restaurant opened and there was already a line up so get there early if you hate waiting!
The food is awesome! It was actually very hard to order because everything looked so good on the menu. I finally decided on the pulled pork eggs benedict. Eggs were poached perfectly. Pulled pork had a nice kick to it. My friend had the crisp pork belly. I had a bite and I will order this next time. And I was surprised how good the coffee was.
Service was informal and very friendly. Wish I didn't live so far but this place is worth the drive from Ladner.
Went there for the first time several days ago and had brunch. I had the pork belly with scrambled eggs. Their scrambled eggs are the fluffiest I've ever had! The pork belly was really flavourful and really tasty. My meal also came with potatoes (meh for me but enjoyed by my dining companion) and toast (choice of sourdough, multigrain, or rye -- go for the sourdough!!). I found the portion size to be a little big -- would have been fine without the potatoes.
Service was attentive and friendly even though the place was packed!
I would definitely eat there again.
Just a warning...although I don't know if they will always give out gummy cola candy with your bill...don't eat it unless you don't mind the server using her hands to grab them out of the jar. (Of the two servers working, only one of them did that.)
We live just about the road from the restaurant. We have eaten breakfast there a few times and stopped in for dinner tonight. They usually close at 6:00 pm so generally we don't get there in time. The waitress told us that they just got the okay to open later so next week they will have more civilized hours. Tonight I had the portobello mushroom sandwich which was super yummy. My partner had the portobello soup (nummy) and the Cobb salad. She enjoyed both of them very much. The music (Johnny Cash) was cute and the service very attentive. My one suggestion to the restaurant is they need to do something with the front door. It is a single door into the cafe. So in crappy weather every time the door opens cold air whooshes in. Each time I've eaten there I wear my jacket indoors. Perhaps it is just me being a delicate flower? In any case we are very happy to have the Red Wagon open for business in our neighbourhood. We will be back many times I am sure!
We lucked out and got there before a small line up began forming outside. It seems that some people get seated in a preferential sort of way but the staff were good. The food was a little pricey but pretty good. The location in the city is run down and the restaurant itself really is a dive, but in a good way. It has a cool retro feel and the customers are what you would expect to see along Commercial Drive which is cool. They are relying still on their debut on the Diners, Dives, and Dirt Holes. Once the novelty wears out, they will have to work a little harder and sharpen their pens around price points but overall, it was worth the trip over to this part of town.
I was not aware of all hypes and the fact that this restaurant was feature on Food Network.
I was there because I was hungry.
I had a special vietnam-styel burger with pork belly, and my partner had a duck confit burger.
First, they were all way~~~ under-seasoned. You are talking about burger, pork belly, and duck which has a lot of fat. Put some salt. Yea, there was salt on my table, but that is not the point. Food gotta be cooked with salt on it.
Second, it was not too sure the quality of the pork belly they were using. It was 50% fat.... I am not talking about melted and juicy fat... It was literally a glob solid fat, which was not crispy either.
I would not be writing this review negetively if value was there, but sadly no.
$12-$14 for a burger in a diner setting is excessive.
Waiting in line for 45 minutes for brunch at an out of the way (for a downtowner) diner can only mean one of two things: a) this place is a total score, or b) this place has been over hyped.
The Red Wagon Cafe is a quaint, no frills diner on the corner of Hastings and Garden Drive, one block West of Naniamo. Self described as "a neighbourhood joint", this place clearly caters to the low-key East Van crowd. The unpretentious, mom and pop decor make it a great option for a lazy afternoon, weekend brunch.
With pork belly clearly on my brain, I couldn't make up my mind between the Crisp Pork Belly Sandwich: with pickled vegetables, jalepeno, cilantro, and mayo on a baguette with chips ($10.50) or the Crisp Pork Belly Confit: pork belly, two eggs, homefries, griddled tomatoes, salsa verde, hollandaise and toast (11.25). Luckily for me I didn't have to use my Sunday afternoon brain to decide; the sandwich is only available during the week.
The two thick pieces of pork belly were melt-in-your-mouth buttery, crispy on the one side and deliciously fatty on the other. Both sat atop a half a roasted tomato that helped cut the richness of the pork belly between bites. The eggs were covered in a mildly spicy salsa verde and the home fried potatoes drizzled in a tiny bit hollandaise. Before going I had read a few reviews that found the potatoes bland. They were right, the potatoes did not have much flavour, but a little table salt fixed that quickly.
My trusted brunch partner, Adam, ordered the Pulled Pork Pancakes with Jack Daniels maple syrup ($12.50). While I personally find pancakes too heavy to make an entire meal out of, I could definitely see myself ordering these, perhaps to share, next time. The Jack Daniels gave these hardy pancakes a serious boozy edge while the pulled pork added a richness and toned down the starchiness of the thick, fluffy pancakes.
It wasn't until we were paying our bill that we noticed a handwritten sign on the wall above our table advertising $5 mimosas, caesars or Red Wagon (boozy) lemonade. I'll definitely be seeing a charge for a mimosa (or two) on my bill next time.
I have a particular fondness for hole-in-the-wall joints, and this place is no exception. The only thing that might deter me from going back was the long wait to get it. This might just be the perfect place to keep up your sleeve for a mid-week breakfast or lunch.
I went to dinner here with a friend who has two small children and it was a very pleasant experience. The food is solid homemade style fare and the service was casual but also very accommodating, particularly with the children. The restaurant seem to attract families and singles who want a good meal at a good price. Not fancy but I do recommend it if this is what you are looking for.
On my third visit to The Red Wagon, I opted for breakfast. Previously I had griped about the smallish portions for the price point at this cute little cafe on a bustling section of Hastings-Sunrise but was enthusiastic about the overall vibe and cheerful attitude I encountered. This day I ordered a standard breakfast of 2 eggs, sausage, h-browns and toast washed down with coffee. I couldnt quite finish the grub so portions are about right so far as breakfast goes anyway. The meal was a cut above what most greasy spoons serve up for half the cost. For one thing, the meal wasnt greasy and the ingredients are slightly better quality perhaps...IE free range eggs and locally sorced b-fast links. Their coffee IS quite good too. You pay for the little things here. The cool music, the better trained cooks perhaps,better ingredients, the spare but funky decor, cheerful, if slightly unfocused service etc. My meal with tip came to $15. That's steep in this hood. I tend to not mind paying extra for small details so I'll wander in again. Its licenced now and there's a small dinner menu.
Went here with the wife on a date night on Saturday night. It was after 9pm and there were only a couple of other tables.
Food: I had the pulled pork sandwich with fries and my wife had a squash soup or something or other. She reported that the soup was very good. Meanwhile my pulled pork sandwich was piled about 2" high with coleslaw on a fresh white bun. The pork was delicious, but a tad on the greasy side. The fries were perfect; hot and fresh and hand-cut. I love the menu selections and would love to go back to try some of the other sandwiches. Excellent (but small) selection of carefully picked beers; and the waiter also indicated that they were currently working on getting R&B beer on tap, which would totally rock. Five stars.
Service: Sure, the place was almost dead but that should not come to bear upon how we rate the quality of service. Our service was a young female hipster. Very friendly, prompt, gave good advice about what to eat. Five stars.
Value: Others have commented that the food is expensive. I don't think so when one considers that a lot of the meat and eggs are organic, free range, non-GMO. I know from personal experience that purchasing healthy meat and eggs can be expensive. Plus, the prices really are consistent with similar offerings elsewhere in Vancouver. Yes, folks, $12 or whatever is the norm for a good quality sandwich and fries. Deal with it. Four stars.
Ambience: Yes, it is a diner in East Van, but it is not without its charms. The interior is clean and I totally enjoyed the eclectic selection of music, which even had a bit of dub reggae thrown in. Three stars.
been here quite a few times now cuz i'm officially addicted. the food here is so amazing - so fresh and made with perfect texture and balance. come early on weekends cuz there's usually a wait. service is efficient and brusque but it's okay, they're super super busy. love the simple and scrumptious food, the neighbourhood cafe feel and the reasonable prices. plus the chef adds new items all the time! can't wait to try them all!!
DDec 27, 2011 - Got to the restaurant around 9:45am, one server working, restaurant almost full with only two open tables. He sat our table then a couple minutes sat another table but the server helped the other table first (strike one). At 10am another server came on which helped a bit but she didn't really listen. We asked for more cream for our coffee, that request was completely ignored so we took some from another table (strike 2). Then we never ended up getting our toast that was supposed to come with our breakfast (strike 3). I had the daily special (frittata) which was tasty but nowhere as good “The Twisted Fork’s” frittata. My boyfriend’s crispy pork belly was pretty good but a little dry. The food has to be considered "Outstanding" (which it’s not) before I would be tortured with the awful service.
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