July 3, 2020

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Munch Madness: Down to the Tasty Two

Two classic joints vying for Breakfast of Champions title

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 5/4/2019 (455 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

"joint (NOUN informal):
an establishment of a specified kind,
especially one where people meet for eating, drinking, or entertainment"

At the outset of this year’s Munch Madness III competition, we announced we were looking for Winnipeg’s best breakfast joint, not necessarily the city’s best breakfast.

It’s safe to say both finalists, 2 Kelly’s Café and Wanabee’s Diner, fit the definition of joint to a T.

Exhibit A: in a previous interview, we asked Wanabee’s owner Karen Ashley how she has managed to run her no-nonsense diner by herself, for the most part, since opening at 639 Broadway in October 1993.

Wanabee's Karen Ashley

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Wanabee's Karen Ashley

"I’m pretty fast," she said, "but everybody around here knows better than to complain if their food is taking a minute or two longer to come out.

"They get that I’m alone — that I’m the one taking their orders, cooking their food, cleaning their tables and kicking their asses out the door when they’re done."

(Her charm must work; in that same interview she mentioned that Fred Turner, the T in BTO, and veteran radio personality Larry Updike are both familiar faces at her locale.)

Exhibit B: 2 Kelly’s owner Kelly Oxelgren has always made a point of putting her customers’ needs first, even if it means serving her homestyle dishes a bit unconventionally from time to time.

2 Kelly's owner Kelly Oxelgren

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

2 Kelly's owner Kelly Oxelgren

In 2011, Cheers star George Wendt appeared in Rainbow Stage’s production of Hairspray. During his time in Winnipeg, Wendt lived at Fort Garry Place, the downtown apartment block that houses 2 Kelly’s Cafe on its main level.

Wendt chowed down at 2 Kelly’s three times a day for a month, Oxelgren told us. And on those days when he couldn’t get there in time for a pre-show meal, he asked her to do him a solid.

"There’s a potted tree just outside of the restaurant, next to my sign," Oxelgren explained. "George told me to hide his supper in a bag at the base of the tree — along with reheating instructions — where he’d pick it up later."

And then there were two:

The final round of Munch Madness works the same as the previous three. Voting began Friday at noon, and remains open until next Thursday at noon. You can vote on the final pairing once per day.

Thursday afternoon we’ll tally the results and let you know which restaurant will wear the crown of Munch Madness III: Breakfast of Champions.

Click to vote for the Breakfast of Champions

david.sanderson@freepress.mb.ca

David Sanderson

Dave Sanderson was born in Regina but please, don’t hold that against him.

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