But how about Newfoundland's other coast? While the West Coast does not have restaurants with the same notoriety as those in the East, it does have some local hangouts that deserve mention, including one of my childhood favourites, the Irving Big Stop.
The Irving Big Stop is located in Deer Lake, the home of a major regional airport, making it an ideal stop after a long flight. Corner Brook, the island's second biggest city with a population of approximately 20 000 people, is a 30-40 minute drive away from Deer Lake and my family and I would often stop at the Big Stop on our way to or from the airport. Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site, is also located a short 30 minutes away and well worth the trip if you find yourself over this way.
Yes, the Big Stop Irving is located at a gas station and yes, there is a convenience store located right next to the restaurant. But don't let this stop you from coming in to get some grub. Just think of it as one stop shopping- fill your tank with gas, fill your car with snacks for the road and then fill your belly with lots of down-home Newfoundland eats!
At any given time of day, the Big Stop is typically jammed with hungry customers from all over the province, making it a great place for those from away to experience the local flair. While you may not catch everything your server says to you, and likely will be baffled by some of the words and sayings that you hear around you, you will no doubt feel engulfed in friendliness. There is a reason that Newfoundland is said to be home to the nicest friends on earth.
So what kind of food can you expect? For tourists looking to be comforted by some food to which they are well-acquainted, there are plenty of options like burgers, sandwiches and a very popular all-day bacon and egg breakfast. They also make a mean Chef Salad which has enough meat to satisfy even the largest appetite. Even these more familiar dishes are infused with a lot of Newfoundland love and are sure to leave you with a very full and satisfied belly (portions here are VERY generous!). For those looking for traditional Newfoundland food, there are dishes like fries, hamburger meat, dressing and gravy (yes, all on one plate) and, of course, fish and chips. If you are fortunate enough to visit on a day when “Jigg’s Dinner” is served, go for it. This traditional Newfoundland dinner which is served in many homes every Sunday includes turkey, peas pudding and carrots, potatoes and turnips all boiled with salt meat which is then served on the side. This is something everyone should experience at least once!
Here are some of the dishes that we enjoyed when we visited recently:
Pea Soup- You have not had pea soup until you have experienced the Newfoundland version. It is thick and salty from a healthy dose of salt meat, and often comes with a dumpling in the middle.
Club House Sandwich
Jigg’s Dinner (http://www.newfoundlandlabrador.com/TheLatest/BlogPost/379)- Not on the menu on the day of our visit but hopefully it will be when you are there! Here is idea of what to expect!
After a visit to the Big Stop and a trip around the western region, you will understand why we call the West Coast is called the “best coast”:)
Stay tuned for more of my West Coast restaurants- coming soon!