MISS MOOX + village

REVIEW: Mercury Cafe and Grill

The Round-up:

  • Food - 3 out of 5
  • Decor - 3.5 out of 5
  • Service - 3 out of 5
  • Overall - 9.5 out of 15
2936 13th Avenue
Regina, SK


Several months ago a food-loving group was created on Facebook. Its name was the "Cathedral Village Needs a Cheap Breakfast Place", or something like that. It seems that the Village just hadn't been the same since the Quality Tea Room shut down several years back.

I quickly joined the group, as did several hundred other Regina folks (What did we ever do before Facebook groups became the new face of activism, by the way?).
The Facebook fan page continued to grow, many of its members calling for a cheap plate of hash browns and bacon . . . like now.

Well, some wishes do come true.

The Mercury Cafe and Grill opened its doors in April. The place seemed to spring up overnight on the corner of 13th and Robinson streets in a spot that has housed numerous other restaurants.

The Mercury is a diner, no doubt about that. From the bright red vinyl booths to the formica and chrome tables, stepping into The Mercury is like stepping back 50 or 60 years in time. The Mercury is also under the same ownership as Regina's well-loved Novia Cafe, another all-out diner. This is a good thing -- who better to start a new diner than the folks who run one of the city's oldest and best?

I've been to The Mercury twice now, once for breakfast and once for supper. It's hard to find the right word to describe both experiences. It wasn't fantastic, but it wasn't horrible either. Perhaps satisfactory is the right word.

Weekend breakfast bustles and hustles in The Mercury. If you're not there by 11 on a Sunday, you're going to wait in line for awhile. Granted, The Mercury could easily jam a few more tables into the dining room in order to shave some time off the waiting game.

Your choices for breakfast are classic standbys: bacon and eggs; hash browns; pancakes; an omelette. You get the picture. Now, is it cheap? That depends on your definition of cheap. Most items run around the $8-9 mark, plus the cost of coffee and/or juice. I've had cheaper, but I've also had more expensive.

Service can be a little disorganized, but hopefully the servers work that out amongst themselves as the restaurant irons out the operating wrinkles. We had to wait 30 minutes for any food to hit the table at breakfast, almost enough to push us to the breaking point, but not quite. Fortunately, our waitress took good care of us in the meantime.

Now let's talk about supper for a moment. Once again, there are few surprises on the evening menu. Nachos; chicken wings; chicken fingers; burgers; clubhouse sandwiches; and grilled cheese are a few of the choices.

We ordered up a plate of nachos to get things started. With a $10 price tag, we pictured a nice platter of cheesy chips and veggies. We couldn't have been more wrong. A dinner plate with a puny pile of nachos on it was what we got. Even worse: the scarce bits of cheese on the chips were overcooked and rubbery. Epic fail, my friends. Epic fail.

Next up: the burgers. Now this is where the action is at. Tender homemade beef patties are smooshed between fresh buns with all the fixins. I went for the Mushroom Swiss. Big Willie had The Mercury Burger (two patties with fried onions, mushrooms, shaved ham, Swiss and cheddar cheese). All burgers come with a side. We went for the french fries and they were done to perfection.

Big Poppa (my dad) went for the open-faced Hot Turkey Sandwich . . . which came with hot chicken, oddly enough. But he got past that.

All in all, The Mercury offers up decent food in a comfortable room. The motto seems to be: come as you are, eat what you will. Now if they'd only fine-tune the nachos and up the portion size for most of the breakfast menu, we might have a sure-fire winner on our hands.

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