When you mention Stratford, Ontario, two things probably come to mind: it's the home of the Stratford Festival and the birthplace of pop star Justin Bieber.
Culturally speaking, the two mix together like broccoli and bubble gum.
Both worlds do manage to collide comfortably at Madelyn's Diner, however. The down-to-earth diner is a destination for Stratford locals and Festival-goers — li'l Bieber also loved eating here as a kid.
Madelyn's isn't fine dining, but it offers high-quality short-order food fare, including burgers, chicken fingers and even liver and onions.
(Alas, it's known erroneously as a place where Justin Bieber enjoyed regular plates of spaghetti — we were informed that you can't order that, even off-menu; it's only available when they have their spaghetti dinner fundraisers.)
When we dropped by we ordered the tear jerker burger with onion rings, chicken fingers and fries, and the turkey clubhouse with fries. All plates used fresh ingredients and each included a coleslaw that was rich and creamy. The fries were homecut-style and delicious.
The highlight of the meal, however, were their tarts. The crust was incredibly soft, yet flaky. The different fillings available, which include pecan, bacon and rhubarb (we tried them all), are delectable.
Whether you're true Belieber or a Festival-goer, if you're in the mood for some classic, home-style dining, it's a no-brainer to drop by Madelyn's Diner before a show.
Madelyn's Diner is located in Stratford, Ontario on 377 Huron Street. They are open Mondays 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (breakfast and fish 'n' chips only). The diner accepts cash and debit only.
About Robert J. Ballantyne
Robert J.Ballantyne is a senior editor at Popjournalism and Creative Director at Artsculture.ca. Previously, he was a journalist at the CBC on a number of news programs including the fifth estate, Marketplace and The National. He also worked as a staff writer at the Toronto Star.