By Sheliza Mitha
Cora Breakfast and Lunch – or Chez Cora (as it’s known in Quebec) – could be described as nothing short of a Cinderella story.
This colourful eatery first opened its doors more than 30 years ago in Montreal’s lively Saint Laurent district as a modest diner by Cora Mussely Tsouflidou, a single mother of three. With uncanny prescience, Cora saw the need for a particular type of eatery and shifted the focus of her new diner just a few short months after opening. Now, three decades later, Metro Vancouver is also home to five Cora locations.
Cora’s fruitful decision led to successful Cora restaurants specializing in breakfasts
and lunches – bringing together fruit, cheese, crepes, French toast, egg dishes (think omelettes, eggs Benedict and much more) in new and creative ways. Since opening the first restaurant in May 1987, Cora the restaurateur has moved westward – bringing her fresh new ideas and items across the country – including Burnaby, Coquitlam, Langley, Richmond and Downtown Vancouver.
While remaining truly Canadian in every way and featuring some timeless breakfast dishes from Cora’s earliest years, Cora the chef continually works to evolve the menu with a pulse on current trends. Take, for example, the new kale-mango smoothies and smoothie bowls as well as various vegetarian and gluten-free options.
“As a chef and an entrepreneur, Cora has her finger on the pulse of what’s driving Canadian eating habits and preferences,” says Colbin Wong, whose family owns and operates two Metro Vancouver Cora restaurants. “What we’ve noticed is that Cora has become the great unifier of people for a truly unique Canadian breakfast experience.”
When asked what makes Cora so different from other cafés and diners, Wong answers with a single question: “Have you seen the menu?”
While this question may seem simple, the answer is incredibly complex – reflecting Cora’s truly colourful, diverse and eclectic menu, of which fresh fruit seems to be the star. In fact, fresh fruit covers half the plate for many of the dishes here.
“The focus at Cora is on fresh and healthy, and sourcing the best of fresh and local at every opportunity – from fruit to dairy and more,” adds Wong. “There is no compromising on the menu or on the dishes. Unlike other typical diners, Cora pops with colour… around the room, around the menu and on every plate served here.”
The most popular dish at Cora? Wong says that coast-to-coast, the most-served breakfast item is the classic (and aptly-named) “Cora’s Special,” which has been on the menu since day one and overflows with eggs, ham, sausage, homemade hash browns and fresh fruit.
“While ‘Cora’s Special’ seems to be the overall national favourite, many customers also have their very own preferred dish that’s special to them,” adds Wong. “On the West Coast, our smoothie bowls are incredibly popular, along with the fruit-filled Samira Wake-Up… and then there are the waffles, French toast, crepes, pancakes and our very own Eggs Ben et Dictine. Everyone here has their own favourite that they come back for again and again.”
With so many diverse and delicious menu options, it may just be time to make your way to Cora and discover your very own favourite…
For more information and locations, visit chezcora.com.