Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Where everyone knows your name -- and your breakfast

Ellice Cafe is always full of cheer

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Like the animals in the wild (or the denizens of Wind in the Willows) I, too, have my favourite path I've worn through the scrub. I'd rather walk than drive, so in my case, the weekly trek that takes me to my favourite spot to eat, pontificate (though nearly swamped by a sea of lefties at my table) and do the Free Press Jumble contest leads me to the Ellice Cafe.

My wife and I like to start Monday morning with a measured stroll that has us arriving just at the 8 a.m. opening, allowing us to snag our favourite table. I delight in watching others on their way to the salt mines while I whistle a happy tune.

She's glad to have the day off with the last of the big spenders.

Located across the street from the West End Cultural Centre, it features black-and-white photos of the way we were and always offers a warm welcome to all. And I do mean all. As the sign says -- white-collar, blue-collar, no-collar, it doesn't matter. Tim, the manager, sees to that with a kind word or a verbal dig in the ribs if he thinks you can handle it.

Remember the theme song for the TV show Cheers? And its line "You wanna go where everybody knows your name"?

That's the Ellice Cafe. Being a creature of habit -- I prefer to think of it as a man who knows what he likes -- the coffee is sometimes on the table as I sit down. And the breakfast special I love to tuck into is on its way without my having to point it out in the menu.

Now I know bacon and eggs is bacon and eggs... but then the highest Winnipeg accolade is value for money. To top that, there is a loyalty program and a steady stream of deals, offers and entertainment to bring you back morning, afternoon and evening.

In addition to our Monday breakfast, we also reward ourselves for finishing our Saturday Morning Show on CKUW at the University of Winnipeg by having breakfast there, and I never glance towards the door without seeing the spirit of the late Harry Lehotsky.

It was partly due to his determination that the neighbourhood has what amounts to faith in action. Indeed, I once saw him giving Jack Ewatski, then chief of police, a piece of his mind in no uncertain terms. The chief may have blanched, but he listened like a man.

So the least I can do is live in the neighbourhood and lift a knife and fork in support.

 

Taller on radio, Ron Robinson can be heard Thursday on Pages and co-hosting the Saturday Morning Show with his wife, Carol McKibbon on CKUW-FM.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 10, 2012 A6

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