Story and images by Phil Petrovski
In the move to high-tech toys, a fast-paced lifestyle and use of social media, some of the little pleasures of day-to-day life have been slipping way. It seems there is a big rush to get the job done, put a stamp on it and get home.
One of the little pleasures that fewer people seem to be enjoying these days is the experience of a classic diner-style restaurant: a place that serves home-style food, has no dress code and ends with a modest bill.
There is a hidden gem in downtown Oshawa that has been keeping the locals satisfied for 55 years. Rainbow Restaurant, located on 82 Simcoe St. N, is a family restaurant that has kept its traditions while staying in business. Louie Givelas, current owner of the Rainbow Restaurant, explains why keeping the tradition in Oshawa is important.
“The Rainbow Restaurant has been in business since 1958, and we are a generational business, my grandfather, my father, my uncles. Now I run and own the place. You don’t stay in business for 55 years if you don’t serve good food with reasonable prices.”
Givelas pricing and overall quality of the food in the restaurant remains consistent. His customers know that their favorites are going to be on the menu and they can afford to eat there regularly. And having regulars in the industry isn’t easily achieved, but having that friendly ‘Cheers-like’ quality in a restaurant makes new customers, like myself, comfortable as well.
There is a social science required to keeping a restaurant in business for as long as the Rainbow Restaurant has been around.
“The way we make our money is through volume. We’re not ripping anyone off, and we don’t work on individual customers like a high-end place. We need a lot of people coming in at all times. And that’s how we stay in business,” Givelas explained.
After grabbing a booth around 2 PM, I noticed the place was not short of customers. Seats were available but there was high traffic, which is always good to see in a restaurant.Just a few months ago, Simcoe St. was closed for construction and that affected businesses in the construction zone. Despite some slow times at that time the Rainbow Restaurant has bounced back strong.
When it comes to the food, the menu is well varied and you can’t argue the prices either. I ordered the mushroom burger. Full of fresh vegetables, thick-cheese and filler-free beef, it’s easily understood how the restaurant keeps its customers coming back.
Sometimes it seems strange that fast food chains stay in business, while classic restaurants have a harder time. The Rainbow Restaurant and people like Louie Givelas are what makes a city into a community. They help relax and feed the customers making them realize that even in a world that is as fast as ours, there’s always time for a good meal.