This fact must be stated: my parents are brunch-ers. Apparently, pre-me, they spent most Saturday and/or Sunday mornings frequenting any number of places on the west side, lamenting about how they were going to miss the neighbourhood post move-to-the-new-house-in-Riverdale. In any case, while there are great brunch spots on the east side, taking me along has proven challenging at the best of times. And so, Joy.
Joy Bistro is our go-to spot these days for brunch, for a number of reasons. Most importantly, the sheer size of the place means we usually don’t have to wait, which is a huge bonus given the fact that I become a bit bear-ish if kept too long from my afternoon nap. That said, Joy recently went through a renovation of sorts on the main floor, which has unfortunately made it rather un-kid-friendly; the high bar tables and chairs definitely don’t work for me, and probably wouldn’t for anyone under five or six. However, there is an upstairs level with traditional tables (though if you travel by stroller it can be a bit of a haul), and come spring/summer there are two outside patios that have accommodated me and my ride just fine.
Highchairs are the standard wooden variety and get mixed reviews. On one visit, with not another kid in sight, I had my choice of two very rickety, falling apart chairs. We made due, but my Mom was not impressed, nor very relaxed as she stabilized the thing throughout the entire meal. On our visit this past weekend my highchair was perfectly functional, much to Mom’s relief.
The weekend brunch menu seems to have changed recently, so unless you’re into Eggs Benedict (I’m not) or lunch items, you’re in for the brunch buffet. At $6 for children, it’s a bit pricey for the amount I’m putting back these days, so I take my cues from Dad and steal bites of Mom’s spinach, mushroom and goat cheese omelette and home fries. That said, had I ordered my own meal I could have had any kind of eggs made to order, and chosen from the buffet selection of french toast, bacon, sausage, fruit salad and assorted breads and bagels for toast.
My customer service experience here has been hit or miss. On our last visit lots of the servers talked to me directly (one of them even offered me a mimosa … I’m so flattered they think I look so mature!), and they extended the patio awning so I wouldn’t have to sit directly in the sun. Our main server didn’t even mind when I wanted to see what the ties on her apron tasted like. On the wonky highchair visit, I had trouble getting hot water for my bottle (Mom had to ask a few times and it still took forever), and our table seemed like a bit of an afterthought. That said, maybe they were just having an off day.
Overall, Joy is (most of the time) a joy.