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Cheers

Way back in my initial University days (I say that because I went back so many times!), Rich Guy and I would go out to eat occasionally. I guess things haven't changed now either; but we were always on the lookout for good eats. One time, while heading back to his house in West Van from SFU, we stopped by a little known place called Cheers in North Van. The only reason I knew about this place was thanks to Ann Garber. She had written a book on cheap eats in Vancouver and yup, we were slowly going through them. Aussie, Rich Guy and I stopped by for a quick dinner. The one thing that we will forever remember about that visit was the complimentary pitcher of beer offered by the manager. In hindsight, the manager was probably confused to see 3 young men visit his restaurant. Why? Well, let's just say we were not their target clientele. With the prices they charge, it is a magnet for seniors and families. Not exactly a trendy spot for 3 guys to pick up some women. Unless we were into older women...

Anyways, from that point on, despite our age disparity with the rest of the customer base, we kept on coming. We even brought friends and probably reduced the average age of the diners by half. Yah, the food ain't gourmet or really all that pretty to tell you the truth; but one look at the prices and portion sizes, you'd think it was the 80's. Wait, one look at the decor and furnishings and it's not a stretch to think you were back in the days of big hair, neon colours and leg warmers. Yup, Cheers is a restaurant from a different era (Funny how I reminisce about the 80's like it was a long time ago? Wait! It is a long time ago! Doh!), complete with a salad bar. Not since the days of The Sirloiner and Bonanza have we seen something like Cheers. From Wednesdays to Sundays, you can have the soup and salad bar included in your meal for an extra cost. Joining us for lunch were Wolvie and Italian Stallion. Luckily for him, Cheers does not serve tongue, tripe or anything ethnic. If you can recall, he has the gastronomical diversity of a yak.

Seeing that we were not confident as to what the kiddies would eat, the "choose any 3 appies for $13.00" seemed like a good bet. $13.00??? Yah, normally that'll only get you one appy at any of the many chain restaurants in town. We started with the Nachos with melted cheese, onions, olives and tomatoes served with sour cream, salsa and guacamole. A pretty standard attempt at nachos with plenty of cheese, served hot and crunchy. The only thing I'd change on this would be the chips themselves. It's personal preference; but I found the chips to be too thick. I'm not sure who their food supplier is; however, my guess would be Sysco (they supply many of the restaurants in town). Thus, the Chicken Strips looked like all the other chicken strips I've had. So, if that is the case, the only thing I can comment is the overall execution of the dish (ie. frying). They were fried correctly being crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Dipped into the generic honey mustard, it does what chicken strips do.

So assuming that the strips are the frozen premade type, then the Torpedo Shrimp would be the same. Panko-crusted and fried up nicely, I actually liked them. I particularly liked the cocktail sauce, it was more tomatoey rather than ketchup like. The only thing that bugged me about it was the overuse of tortilla chips as a garnish. Viv and Italian Stallion both had the Beef Dip to my dismay. I tried to talk Viv into a different entree to no avail. A decent beef dip with real roast beef while the fries were your generic frozen type. Wolvie had the Chicken Panini with lettuce, roasted peppers and provolone on ciabatta. The chicken was cooked perfectly and it was a pleasant sandwich. I decided on the Veal Cutlets which were real, not the ground type. Cooked perfectly with a crispy exterior, these were good despite the plain Jane gravy. And that pretty much sums up the food here at Cheers. Nothing great; yet very edible and generally predictable. For the prices they charge, that is good enough for me.

The Good:
- The prices are ridiculously cheap
- The food is actually alright
- Personable staff

The Bad:
- Although the food is alright, some dishes are definite misses (like their pasta)
- Despite being friendly, service gets sparse when busy.

Cheers Catering on Urbanspoon

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