It may not necessarily be true that like old truckers, old truck-stops never stop rolling. If they can’t change with the times and expanded tastes of their clientele, they may end up on the rust heap. Nothing could be farther from the truth than Penny’s Place. Purchased in 1994 by Penny Bell, this former hash haven for commercial travellers once ran 24-7. Today, its wide (from near and far) customer base still enjoys the super-sized parking lot and inside, a whole lot more.
To truly appreciate Penny’s Place you need to know that owner Penny Bell raised her two daughters (Dawn and Penny Ann) there and the love of creating great food was definitely contagious. Now Dawn operates another successful restaurant in Perth, Michael’s Table, and Penny Ann manages Penny’s Place.
From opening to close, it’s rare to pass Penny’s Place and not find a busy parking lot. Locals and travellers know this destination well; made famous for its breakfasts but now keeping this 45 seat diner booming throughout the day with terrific lunches as well. Their signature breakfast, eggs Benedict (nicknamed Penny’s Bennies) is made in-house with lovingly crafted smooth-as-silk sauce. The breakfast menu is stacked with favourites and served fresh and hot in sizes to fit every appetite.
On a recent Sunday morning my family and I stopped by. The French toast they ordered drew raves, and I was pleasantly surprised by a choice of either hash-browns or homefries (both hand-cut and tasty)with my eggs and sausages.
The lunch menu received a great boost three years ago when a meat-smoker was installed. Now you can get mouth-watering brisket sandwiches along with other tempting meats fresh out of the smoker. I tried their Southwest Chicken sandwich special and found that they don’t overpower the meat with too many spices but instead provide a great balance that lets you really enjoy every bite.
More than a few regulars will testify that their in-house smoked meat rivals the best of Montreal and will beat any Ottawa deli hands down.
Penny Ann isn’t shy about raising the bar of diner fare with some great specials such as lobster and brie quiche or an eat-your-veggies fresh leafy salad with bacon. The special’s board is updated regularly and worth a check before ordering. If you want in on homemade soups that people will drive hours out of their way for, get in early because they often sell out.
With cottage season upon us, Penny’s Place has an added treat for travellers heading to the area lakes; take-out. Many vacation-visitors drop in on their way through to pick up a great hot lunch or bag of sandwiches to take a chore off the weekend to-do list. And the parking lot was made for recreational trailer-towing.
The great staff gets just as many rave reviews as the food, you won’t be disappointed with this diner.
Find Penny’s Place at 23 Dufferin St, Perth with and entrance off Highway 7. The diner is open seven days a week, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekends.
First published in the June edition of the Hometown News. Read more of our June issue, or check our the July issue online.