Live from the Archives

André Picard and Shauna Tucker (1982)
Then arts editor Shauna Tucker and EIC André Picard enjoying a pint at a local establishment. Photo: Mike Lewis/Fulcrum
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Take a look at all the unique local restaurant options U of O students had in 1982

Originally published on Sept. 9, 1982

After you have been on campus for a week and you’ve eaten in the cafeteria, snacked at the Sugar Bowl, munched on a sub from the deli and dined while you’ve wined with Bar Services, you may be:

  1. Interested in exploring culinary art further
  2. Desperate to ingest real food 
  3. Hungry for meals à la mom
  4. All of the above 

In consequence, you will be pleased to know that Sandy Hill provides a virtual feast of restaurants, cafés, and junk food stands ready to satiate the angry gnawing in your stomach. Some of the best dining in Ottawa is to be had in the Market area, but if you don’t want to go that far or pay for tourist trappings, there are many acceptable alternatives near the University. Here is the Fulcrum’s guide to just a few.

The Back Home Buffet at 212 Somerset E. is sponsored by the Bhatki Yoga Community and features sumptuous vegetarian spreads which change composition regularly. The buffets are offered at extremely reasonable prices. The Back Home Buffet is open daily from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. 

Las Brisas at 191 Somerset E. is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday to Saturday and until 10 p.m. Sunday. It is the only Mexican restaurant in Sandy Hill. The servings are small and the plates are expensive in comparison to most dinners at more general restaurants, but the food is very tasty and spiced to give you a sizzling experience.

Café Napoléon at 21 Nicholas caters to a younger crowd. They have a tempting array of cheaply-priced sandwiches, among which the grilled cheese is an absolute must.

La Chandelle, located at 58 Laurier E., is licensed and offers a good general selection of hearty food ranging in cost from moderate to slightly above average. In addition, La Chandelle offers a breakfast special from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. for a reasonable $1.96. They also offer a 10 per cent discount on student meal vouchers.

Daisy Buckanan’s at 161 Laurier E., although close to school and tastefully decorated, is slightly out of reach for the day-to-day budget. Dinner entrées including steak, chicken and fish start at $6 and mount with a speed that will scare away your appetite.

Double G Drive-in and Dairy Bar is the latest inhabitant of the former gas station at the corner of Laurier and Nicholas. It has the usual offering of greasy burgers, fries, and fish and chips as well as numerous ice cream products. But the big treat on the menu is the incomparable cheese dog, generously garnished with mustard, relish, and onions.

Father & Sons, located at 112 Osgoode, is one of the grandfathers of the area and a perennial hangout for law students. The menu features the cheapest breakfast special around at $1.50 and, like La Chandelle, Father & Sons sells a discounted meal voucher to students.

Fat Albert’s, opposite the Double G on Laurier, needs no introduction. If you and sub shops get along swimmingly, you now know it exists. Otherwise, be warned…

Four Jays Restaurant at 238 Laurier E. has a $1.75 breakfast daily. The selection of sandwiches, burgers and dinner entrées at the Four Jays is among the most varied and cheapest in the area. 

The Hollow, nearly lost in suburbia at 321 Somerset E., is a small, warmly furnished place with a bent towards nutrition. The prices at The Hollow are slightly more expensive than the regular fare of burgers and fries but the servings are generous and the food is loaded with the essentials. 

Johnny’s Pizza, 233 Laurier E., is open from noon to 2 a.m. Monday to Saturday and from 4 p.m. to midnight on Sunday. It offers burgers, chicken, and sandwiches in addition to pizza, all of which ‘Johnny’ will deliver free of charge. A large combination pizza at Johnny’s costs $8.50 and the fries with gravy, which are absolutely without equal, cost a mere 95 cents. 

La Place, here at the University, is open until 1 a.m. every night. They serve a good variety of food and alcohol for fair to expensive prices. The service, however, tends to be slow. 

Prima Pizzeria, 223 Laurier E., opens at 4 p.m. each afternoon and delivers free of charge. The large combination pizza costs only $7.95 and the anchovy pizzas of any size hit the spot. Prima also has a selection of chicken and subs to choose from.

Rosie Lee at163 Laurier E., described as “the British experience”, is entering its second year, and one can understand why they’ve survived thus far. Afternoon cream teas are a delightful touch and all the meals served are light and a treat for the tastebuds. This is no place for a quick bite, however, as the cook sometimes doubles as the waiter. 

University Tavern at 196 Somerset E. provides one of the most popular and interesting menus in the area. Meals are priced between $4 and $6 and the breakfast special goes for $1.75. “Sam’s”, as it is affectionately known to the patrons, is by far the gem of neighbourhood restaurants selection and service wise and thus a must for all eaters-out. 

Bon appétit!

Fun facts about this article 

Shauna Tucker is now a family lawyer that works out of the law office of Brown Henderson Melbye in Victoria, British Columbia. The year following the publication of this article (1983-84), she would become the Fulcrum’s Editor-in Chief.

-The Back Home Buffet has renamed itself Govinda’s vegetarian restaurant. It still exists to this day on Somerset E., steps from campus.

Las Brisas has closed its doors, and the building that once housed it is now home to the new restaurant No Forks Given.

Café Napoléon does not exist anymore: in its place stands the Rideau Centre. 

La Chandelle most likely closed its doors in the early 2000s, as there are early internet records of it existing. It has been replaced by Hamelin Hall.

Daisy Buckanan’s has gone out of business. In its place stands the now-also-closed Royal Oak beside the Hyman Soloway residence.

-In Double G Drive-in and Dairy Bar’s place stands Desmarais Hall.

-Father & Sons One of the four institutions that still exists on this list, it is without a doubt U of O students’ most beloved off-campus establishment.

Fat Albert’s still exists, although it has changed location and is now at 245 Laurier Avenue West.

Four Jays Restaurant has closed its doors and has been replaced by the Moondog Bar and Grill.

The Hollow has been replaced by Sandy Hill Lounge and Grill at the intersection of Blackburn Avenue and Somerset Street. 

Johnny’s Pizza closed its doors in the early 2010’s (there are Yelp reviews from 2011). It has been replaced by Shawarma Bits. 

-La Place was one of many iterations of the campus pub which was located on the third floor of  Jock-Turcot University Centre. It was renamed the Nox and then Pub 1848, before it closed its doors for good when the SFUO was dissolved in April 2019. The location is now occupied by the U of O’s career corner.

Prima Pizzeria’s old location has closed. There is a Prima Pizza in Nepean, but we couldn’t confirm this was under the same owners. In its former place has opened Pizza Lovers.

Rosie Lee has gone out of business. The now-closed Royal Oak stands in its place.

The University Tavern still exists, and is surprisingly one of the oldest spots around campus.