Turning back time at Morrison’s

Walking into Morrison’s, on King Street between Johnson and Brock, feels like stepping back in time about five decades. Forest green and dark taupe are ubiquitous—in the padded vinyl booths, the Formica tables and diner-style counter and the classic round-pedestaled stools.

Even the servers are a throwback to the ’50s. They’re a combination of brusque, dumpy older ladies and fresh-faced boys who look like they’re still in high school.

Sepia-toned photos of Kingston’s past line the walls, vintage juice and hot chocolate dispensers grace the counter and old-school syrup, ketchup and vinegar containers on the table add to the overall time-warp effect of the place.

Morrison’s is packed to bursting at 12:40 on Sunday afternoon, and the crowd is refreshingly diverse compared to the Queen’s bubble of the Common Ground or QP. Families with young kids—including an endearing mother-son mullet team—and septuagenarian couples rub elbows with the occasional student.

The double-sided laminated breakfast menu is another classic, covering the terrain of pancakes and French toast, eggs, cereal and breakfast meats. Prices range from $2.10 for a single pancake to $4.75 for three eggs with bacon, ham or sausage and “home fries”—really, a sloppy excuse of half-mashed potatoes that look lumpy, but are tasty regardless. The fairly standard omelettes selection ranges from $5.50 for plain cheese to $6.75 with ham. Service is swift and mildly dour and the coffee is sitting-in-the-pot-overnight stale, but the food is pleasingly reminiscent of a roadside diner. The “Super Breakfast” is a pile of pancakes, toast and eggs, with a pair of sausages nestled on the side. The cheese and tomato omelette is generously packed with Kraft singles or a similar cheese by-product.

The “old-fashioned” strawberry milkshake is comfortingly sweet and artificial, tinted a vibrant Pepto-Bismol pink in plastic glasses.

Perhaps the most fun aspect of eating at Morrison’s is the fact that it’s impossible to eat here and worry about things like cholesterol, trans fats or fair trade. Concerns like that are as much of a non-issue here as they were in the ’50s. But instead of being guilt-inducing, it’s surprisingly liberating. I can sit and sip my strawberry milkshake, wipe up traces of oil on my white maroon-scalloped plate with a morsel of potato, and feel content. Now, where did that syrup bottle go?

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