Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch

I’m strangely excited about the impending opening of Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch on Queen St. It’s amazing to see a business moving to downtown Charlottetown, I guess. And since the demise of the Perfect Cup Cafe, I’ve been looking for a new breakfast place.

They’ve certainly done amazing work on the old Uncommon Grocer space: walking by tonight, the place is basically ready to go, with the tables all set up, the signage in place, and menus at the ready.

Cora’s, as readers have pointed out, is a branch of a Quebec-based chain. A story from the Toronto Star starts:

Until I’ve had a decent cup of coffee and a good meal, evil hell witch doesn’t begin to describe my morning persona. But enter through the doors of Cora’s Breakfast and Lunch, and you’re instantly transported to Happyland. In fact, I’ve forgotten what unironic cheerfulness feels like. Not only that, but if four urban homosexuals rush on over to a Mister and Mississauga strip mall on a Saturday morning after a Friday night of total debauchery, then the food just better be good. Boy, is it.

They seem to be big on variety, portion size and fresh fruit.

There’s a big countdown sign in their front window that says, tonight “2 Days until Opening”. So I imagine they open on Saturday. Anyone game for breakfast with Oliver and I?


Dan James's picture
Dan James on July 3, 2003 - 03:50 Permalink

How early is said breakfast?

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on July 3, 2003 - 04:22 Permalink

I’ll try it out. I’ll be there promptly at Whenever:IwakeUp AM

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on July 3, 2003 - 11:18 Permalink

Looks very intersting — breakfast is my favourite meal- pick a time Peter

Andrew Chisholm's picture
Andrew Chisholm on July 3, 2003 - 13:00 Permalink

I walk by a Cora’s every morning on my way to work. It smells good. One day I think I’ll actually go in.

Karen's picture
Karen on July 3, 2003 - 14:05 Permalink

Hey Peter,

I took my son on a business trip to Montreal recently and we were looking for a good breakfast spot. A server suggested Cora’s with a certain shrug of the shoulders and arched brow that intimates “Doesn’t everyone know about Cora’s?” We had excellent fruit smoothies and a lengthy discussion about ‘real Montreal bagels’, which they don’t serve at Cora’s in Montreal. (Of course, you can get them at Norman’s!) We’re doing breakfast in the country these days but may see you there for lunch sometime.

Lana's picture
Lana on July 3, 2003 - 14:14 Permalink

You used to be able to get free smoothies at Cora’s in Montreal with your student card.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 3, 2003 - 22:39 Permalink

I eat there often when in Moncton. I like it, but a bit too bright and perky until I get my first coffee. She feels it is a bit expensive and does not like the fact it closes early in the afternoon. Maid Marians is better, and I bet even better now that the smoke is gone.

Will's picture
Will on July 3, 2003 - 22:56 Permalink

I was walking by the store when I saw a guy leaning against a truck, looking into the store with a loving pride. I looked at him and he said

We open at 6:00 AM”

I said

Good luck”

Alan's picture
Alan on July 3, 2003 - 23:06 Permalink

Maid Marian’s is pretty great. I am looking for the same here. My favorites to date really are the Spartan and Ardmore Tearoom both on Quinpool in halfaslacks.

Isn’t no smoking dandy. We just got it and many great bars are now within imagination for Sunday brunch with two kids. Our patios are even clear of it. Now if Ohio would just knock off the smoking…

Heather's picture
Heather on July 4, 2003 - 13:07 Permalink

I just came from breakfast at Cora’s — today they have free fruit cocktails which are amazing. There was a buzz of waiters and waitress’ every few minutes they came by to say hello. I opted for the affordable eggs and bacon which were very good. On enote of advice if you go between 6-8am the food is much less at $3.95 for everything compared to regular prices of $4.85-10.00. I highly recommend the fruit cocktail/samoothie and if you go today you can try one for free!

Dave's picture
Dave on July 5, 2003 - 16:21 Permalink

I’ve always been partial to Linda’s Coffee Shop, but I’ll give Cora’s a whirl at some point in the near future.

Rob Paterson's picture
Rob Paterson on July 5, 2003 - 17:20 Permalink

Peter R, Robin and a summer visitor plus Oliver had breakfast today at Cora’s. Spotted at the next table Steve G.

This place is going to be a huge success — it was packed — it is also quite large. It will put some buzz back on Queen street.

I work for a major Food services firm and I was looking for a number of points. First of all the staff have been well trained. This is day 2 from the opening. The waiter, Mike, got Oliver a colouring pad plus crayons as a prioity — high chairs are available.

Rule # 1. If you run a family restaurant make sure that the kids are doing something immediately so that the parents can get a bit of a break.

Rule # 2 set expectations — we ordered the great fruit drink — try it! Mike said I’ll be right back with e coffee but the fruit drinks will take a while. When you set expectations this is sign that you have been trained to create an atmosphere — this is high end stuff that you find rarely.

Rule # 3 keep it moving — the coffee came around every 5 minutes. Meal checks happened at least twice and the waiter “listened”. I asked for lots of butter on my toast and he not only came back with a plate of butter but repeated back to me the eason. This is called “conformation” and is a again a sign of a well trained staff. I was blown away that this was only day 2 and Mike was a new waiter. (Nice looking staff — fresh looking boys and girls — sign of a hiring policy that has been thought through))

Rule # 4 Have menu that fits all tastes — if you cannot find something on this menu that you don’t really like I won’t believe you. Not only enough variety to satisfy all tastes but to provide the opportunity to explore new ones. You wont get bored.

Rule # 5 Make it appear that the customer has all the time in the world. The place is very large and was full but I felt that I had space and the waiter made it clear to us that we could stay as long as we wanted. In our case about an hour. I acn see this becoming an important business spot. They need wifi!

Smittys had better watch out. Linda’s will be closed in a year. It will give all the mainstream cafe’s a run for their money. But not I think Interlude and The Formosa which have a different values set.

This has all the signs of a category killer. Being open only during the day 6am to 3pm — they can hire better staff. After all who wants to work shifts and evenings and nights. Staff are the key and this format is a staff winner. Another sign of a managment that has really done thier stuff.

They will be open on Sunday and I can see Cora’s becoming an Island tradition. It fits a range of tastes from the most traditional to the quite trendy — we all want “cosy” for breakfast. What a concept and how well executed. A bullseye for Charlottetown values and taste

Wayne's picture
Wayne on July 5, 2003 - 18:49 Permalink

I used to work in the foodservice industry in a previous life, and have eaten in restaurants the world over, for years. Ever hear of the “Honeymoon Phase”, Rob? Seen it soooo many times!

Linda’s should have closed years ago, but Linda selling it saved it. High prices will soon be the topic of discussion about Cora’s-once the novelty wears off.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on July 5, 2003 - 19:15 Permalink

Wayne is right: the proof in the Cora’s pudding with be the October situation.

Cora Ulvstal's picture
Cora Ulvstal on July 16, 2003 - 18:17 Permalink

Hi! I am absolutely in love with Cora’s Breakfasts!! But the shoe certainly fits as my name is Cora also! I work just down the street from the new breakfast nook and just had to try it. So on their opening day a friend and I had lunch and it was fantastic! We met the manager and his family and we also got to chat with Cora herself! I think that this restaurant will do very well here in Charlottetown because there aren’t many establishments around here that serve breakfast all day. Not only that, but the food, service and atmosphere is excellent! I’m sure in no time the servers will all know me by name! But I guess it’s not that hard to remember!
Congratulations on the opening of a great and promising venture!

Doug Ryan's picture
Doug Ryan on October 26, 2003 - 04:28 Permalink

Very interested in getting info on frachising

Mary's picture
Mary on November 1, 2003 - 20:09 Permalink

Had lunch at Cora’s today and it was extremely hot and crowded there. The best I can say about Cora’s is that the staff are very well trained and friendly. The food is another matter. Two of us ordered the grilled cheese and bacon sandwich. The bacon was undercooked, the cheese was the type of food product that comes wrapped in individual slices, and the sandwich was so greasy from all that butter on the outside, that I just couldn’t eat it. I choose that particular item as it was one of the lower-priced items.

The bottom line is that the prices are too high and after everyone has a chance to check it out, it may not be so busy. Too bad because we would love a new reasonably-priced restaurant downtown.

Wayne's picture
Wayne on November 2, 2003 - 03:20 Permalink

Ahhh-hhhaaaaaa! The dreaded review a few months after the “honeymoon” is over. The truth is out.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on November 2, 2003 - 04:08 Permalink

Mary, I agree that the staff is well-trained and friendly. They ride the friendly/too friendly line very well, never tumbling over into syrup or the dreaded server crouch.

I’m curious to know: did you let your server, or the manager on duty, know about the poor food quality? Every restaurant will make mistakes; a good restaurant will have systems in place to immediately correct them.

I can’t really speak to the bulk of the menu, as my experience of Cora’s is limited to their various fresh fruit-related dishes (my favourite is the Fruit Crunch). On those items, however, I can say that the fruit I’ve received has always been top quality, and well prepared. Breakfast at Cora’s costs me $15 with tip for a Fruit Crunch and an order of brown toast. Compared to other options for breakfast, that’s stratospheric; however I consider it a good value for what I receive: compared to what passes for fruit salad in other restaurants (soggy fruit cocktail very heavily leaning on melons for bulk), Cora’s fruit dishes are gourmet quality, and I’ll pay for that.

Ann's picture
Ann on November 3, 2003 - 13:17 Permalink

I went to Linda;s yesterday for breakfast and it was so packed we had to wait. Excellent pancakes, crisp bacon and coffee — all for ten bucks. When we walked by Cora’s, there were many fewer people. Having said that, I’m glad Cora’s is here. I am in favout of anyone who locates in downtown Charlottetown and I will certainly give Cora’s a try.
But it doesn’t — and shouldn’t — spell the end of Linda’s.

Mary's picture
Mary on November 5, 2003 - 17:30 Permalink

In reply to your question Peter, I told the server that I couldn’t eat it because it was too greasy and even though I returned nearly all of it to her, she didn’t say anything.

When the cashier asked how every thing was, I told him “very greasy” and he didn’t reply.

Usually I would insist on a refund, but one of my companions ate her food which was the same as mine; however, she’s not very picky and will usually eat whatever she is served.

So I guess the bottom line is, although the staff is very friendly, they need to pay attention to what the customers say and act on it.

This is the last I will speak about Cora’s as I will not be returning there.

Rachel's picture
Rachel on February 7, 2004 - 23:33 Permalink

I was visiting in Charlottetown the first week Cora’s opened and I loved it! I may be more use to high prices so I din’t really find them out of the ordinary. But the food was delicious and the fruit was very fresh.
I have been to my local Cora’s a few times since and it is always a very pleasant albeit very perky experience.

Sara's picture
Sara on March 15, 2004 - 17:44 Permalink

I think! Cora’s is amazing my dad owns a franchise in Winnipeg and it’s the only place in the city you can get a good breakfast.

Michel Schnob's picture
Michel Schnob on May 7, 2004 - 17:00 Permalink

I went to Cora’s, here on rideau Street, about 3 weeks ago for breakfast with a friend, and the bill was over $24.00.!!!

While the decor and service were good, but nothing outstanding, I found it absolutely outrageous that the bill would be so high for two simple breakfasts. Cora has joined the new trend of establishments charging extra for coffee after 8 AM to be served with their breakfast. Nothing justified the hefty bill for an ordinary breakfast. I will never set foot in a Cora Restaurant again…and I will tell others of my experience as well. What a rip-off!!! Maybe people should start boycotting places such as this one. In my opinion, a breakfast with perhaps, a glass of OJ should cost at most $5.00.


zoe's picture
zoe on May 12, 2004 - 02:06 Permalink

I have been to Cora’s in Momcton and in Dartmouth and I have to give it a thumbs up on service, price, meal, and decor. Keep up rhe good work

Craig Ziebarth's picture
Craig Ziebarth on May 29, 2004 - 07:19 Permalink

Cora’s, like many urban located breakfast spots, are becoming expensive.
Specifically in Ottawa, Ontario, compare prices at Denny’s, Cora’s, Nates, Zaks, Nickels etc. I find the prices are too expensive for my liking.
Okay, expensive rent, staff, insurance, food. I understand that. But as a consumer who is practical, I see the cost of a breakfast peaking over $10.00 as ridiculous.
I plug the ‘El Moracco’ on Bank St, near corner of Lisgar St. Small, lots of booths, homey, “clean” free and current newspapers available, friendly staff who are not afraid to talk beyond the “I’m a waiter/waitress” approach. Wow. I have no reason to plug this restaurant, other then it’s “Wow”. Cheap and simple breakfast grub are it’s specialty with all day breakfasts. Free coffee refills.
Three eggs, hashbrowns, white or brown toast, coffee plus a refill or two, (they don’t quibble if you want a couple of cups), glass of water to hydrate, and your choice of 4 sausage links, bacon or ham. This, all for $4.25! I know their is even cheaper around, but all the above makes the price extremely affordable, even to thrifty men like me.

Enjoy, Jesus saves! Take care.
Craig, Ottawa

Annis's picture
Annis on June 13, 2004 - 20:10 Permalink

We just visited the Cora’s Resturant in Toronto, and I have to say that it will be the last time that I will go there. After waiting for over 40 mins with our waitress not returning to see how we were, we asked to speak to the manager about our service and the lack of food. He said that it was normal to wait long at MOTHER CORA’S, I don’t think that she would agree! JIM the owner did nothing to compensate for the lack of service, not even free coffee. When we were asked at the check out how the service was, the reply was awful and the employee Dale was more than helpful at this point, but just a little too late. You would think that as an owner you would go the extra mile to make sure that your customers were satisified, a comp on a meal to make sure that they return, just a small investment on his behalf would have been great. So Long CORA’s, we will not be back.

burG's picture
burG on December 6, 2004 - 04:02 Permalink

I don’t know what u idiots are thinking. Cora’s breakfast was BOMB. My girl and i went to the Cora’s in Toronto this morning. Sure we had to wait 20 minutes outside in the cold. But the food was great and so was the service. If u guys want your cheap greasing food u can go down to the local dirty greasy spoon if u wanna save your twoonie. Definitely worth it and i will be returning.

joe blow's picture
joe blow on December 6, 2004 - 04:03 Permalink

Blow me u big dick basterd. I love fruit.

dana's picture
dana on March 22, 2005 - 07:54 Permalink

I have recently been to the Cora’s in Moncton, and found all to be quite lovely. Clean, great quality food, and excellent service. Just a couple of notes, and this is not to pick on anyone…if you complain about price, just head to your local McDonalds, where a microwaved “hamburger” (actual meat content unknown), with stale lettuce and a slice of pickle, cold fries and a watered down pop can cost the best part of ten bucks. If you want quality, it costs.

Jon's picture
Jon on September 18, 2007 - 23:22 Permalink

In Toronto the cost averages $10-$20 per person including tax and tip.

I ordered one of their crepes which my friend was bragging about to be HUGE crepes that are awesome and filling. He told me he was stuffed and couldn’t finish his crepe. I ordered one of their most expensive and hefty sounding crepes with a glass of water and it cost me a little over $15, i think it was $18-$20 with tip and tax. It was a very tasty crepe, but for some reason, it didn’t taste so good when I saw how small a crepe actually is (This was the first crepe I had ever had, prior to this experience, I did not know what a crepe was). Crepe’s, I had found out, are not meant to fill a person up. It was even less satisfying when the bill came.

I never went back to Cora’s again, for their breakfasts or their crepes. I do go to a place in the Toronto area (north of toronto) called Kotsy’s. from 6am — 11am they reserve the right to NOT smile and they have morning special, $2.99 for a hefty portion of potatoes, 3 eggs, 4 breakfast sausages, toast, and fruit, I usually order a glass of water. My total is $3.23 after taxes, so I pay a $5.00 bill. Now that is a deal…in Toronto.

There is another place I go to where they serve you chinese food.
for $5.00 flat (no tip cause it is an eating counter), they serve you a dish of your choice (over 20 items, example of a dish: chicken & vegetables in black bean sauce), chicken or beef soup, steamed rice, and bubble tea (or lemon tea or tea or soya milk).

ann's picture
ann on December 17, 2008 - 00:35 Permalink

when talking about breakfast, most cheapast place i found for early breakfast was in kotsy’s restaurant in north end was only $ 2.99 per breakfast meal, every morning before my work, for that conveinent price, why not, and food was great, friendy staff pluss opens at 6 am.
its at 2104 keel & highway 7

jeannie's picture
jeannie on May 24, 2009 - 17:55 Permalink

I’ve been to the one in brampton and thought it was great! I guess going back a second time won’t be as good

Jyllie's picture
Jyllie on June 4, 2009 - 23:20 Permalink

We went to the new Cora’s in Burlington, today. Great food, friendly staff, nice atmosphere. Nothing, at all, to complain about. It isn’t the 90’s, any longer, folks! Remember what one pays, these days, for *dinner* in an average, relatively inexpensive restaurant. Or, for that matter, what one must fork over for a mere, anaemic-looking sandwich and greasy fries, for lunch, just about anywhere!

Beth's picture
Beth on July 1, 2009 - 05:18 Permalink

I just tried Cora restaurant for the first time on the weekend when we visited Toronto. My husband and our kids were very pleased to finally be able to find a breakfast place that offered such a great variety of breakfast foods at fair prices. Our hotel wanted over $24 for a breakfast buffet. Ridiculous! I’m not sure why people are complaining about the prices at Cora, because for the quality and quantity of food that they serve you, it’s well worth it. Open your minds people. If you just want bacon, eggs and toast, sure, that should cost around $5.00. But beautiful fresh fruit, crepes, waffles etc. aren’t going to cost that same amount. Think about it. As well, the service was excellent at the location we visited. We will definitely return to Cora in the near future.

Mike Smith's picture
Mike Smith on December 12, 2009 - 19:07 Permalink

I stopped at Cora’s in Barrie twice in the past month and I thought it was great.

Their spinach crepe omelette was fabulous and I am searching the web try to find that recipe for Christmas morning.