Neighbourhood: West End
Address: 540 Ellice Avenue
Phone: (204) 786-2822
(Editor’s Note – This business is no longer open.)
Since opening in 2008, healthy, homestyle food served inside the sunny yellow walls of Black Sheep Diner has become a favourite of breakfast aficionados around the city.
Owner Angela Forget has transformed this quaint space on Ellice Avenue into a welcoming atmosphere, complete with a mishmash of vintage kitchen tables, retro vinyl chairs, and kitschy cartoon salt and pepper shakers.
Forget’s connection to the local community is evident by the majority of the items on the menu made from Manitoba ingredients. The menu’s price points reflect the restaurant’s location—a stone’s throw away from the University of Winnipeg. Hungry students can get a healthy home-cooked meal for under $10, which explains why so many hipsters can be seen at any time of day.
The connection to Winnipeg’s hip cultural scene doesn’t stop with the clientele. On the walls there is a revolving exhibition showcasing local artists, with works often for sale. The restaurant is also home to ArtHive, Winnipeg’s only art vending machine. This cool contraption—created by Forget and local artist Suzie Smith—is a refurbished cigarette machine that for $4 dispenses a small package of art created by some of the city’s best local artists.
While the restaurant has limited hours—only opening for breakfast and lunch—the menu is anything but restricted. Vegans and carnivores alike will find plenty of options with staples like pancakes and eggs scattered in amongst the specialties. Everyone can enjoy the journey through the “Choose Your Own Breakfast Adventure.” For $6.50, a diner can select two items from an appetizing list of nine breakfast selections.
Choices include the roasted tomatoes, which are flavourful, juicy and a perfect complement to the lightly seasoned red potato hash browns. Tender baked beans are a pleasant blend of sweetness and firmness while the local farmer’s sausage is tender and savoury. Toast and organic fair trade coffee come complimentary with any “adventure” combination. The buttery rye toast is a robust bread, speckled with delightfully bitter caraway seeds.
The filling selections for the omelette change daily, although the gooey cheese options of chevre or Bothwell cheddar remain a staple. There are also seasonal options—this summer saw the restaurant take on the bounty of zucchini that the season brings, regularly adding supple chunks of it to the dish.
Those looking for a light option must try the house-made granola. Cinnamon-flavoured and full of whole almonds and dried cranberries, it’s an excellent start to any morning—especially if fresh honey from Forget’s own rural Manitoba apiary is added as a side.
It’s not just the breakfasts that attract the customers in droves, but also the mouth-watering lunch menu. The nut burger is a house favourite. Served with optional cheese and avocado, this vegan burger patty is bursting with walnuts, pecans, almonds and grains topped with a lovely sweet chile sauce.
The Madeline sandwich is possibly the most perfect grilled cheese in the city. Creamy brie is melted with crisp green apple slices to create a meal that is both homey and heavenly.
Black Sheep Diner is open Tues-Fri 8 am-3 pm, Sat-Sun 9:30 am-2 pm.