Pink Cadillacs is fairly new to the thriving restaurant scene in Saskatoon. While many of the new restaurants seem to be sticking to the downtown core and focusing on pub food Pink Cadillacs has gone a completely different direction. They are in the residential neighbourhood of Willowgrove situated on the main floor of what will be a condo/apartment building. Another thing that sets them apart is that they are a 50s diner. They have it all: black and white checkered floor, red vinyl seating, turquoise accents, and of course a jukebox. There are some photos/posters on the walls but they do a good job of not overdoing it. It’s not cluttered and doesn’t seem like it’s about the memorabilia but about the experience of the 50’s.
Almost two months ago my husband and I went there for the first time for a meal. We were quite happy with it. First impression looking at it is that it stands out, but not in a bad way. It blends in nicely with the building and isn’t an eyesore. The sign is very clean and neat looking and has some great signs outside that helps you identify what type of restaurant it is.
We had to order a milkshake to start, which was delicious. We were quite happy with the menu options as well. They put a modern spin on your typical diner options. You’ve got burgers, hot dogs, salads etc. They keep it interesting with all the different options like a burger with bananas and peanut butter on it, or more traditional options like spaghetti and meatballs. Their menus fit in great with the theme without being too cluttered or hard to read. They have great, clever, names for their food like “The Sandra Dee” and “The Fonz Fishwich.” Even if you know what you decide what you want, you just have to keep looking at the menu just to see all the names!
Just this last Saturday they had their big grand opening. Ian (the husband) and I went in the afternoon for a milkshake. I ended up going for the custom shake with Reese’s Pieces and Oreo crumbs in it.
I always like when places give you the extra shake in a cup, really makes you feel like you’re getting a bang for your buck. I also like that it wasn’t in one of those tall metal cups that is just hard to get into and they never make straws tall enough for. I was also happy to find that the Oreo and Reese’s Pieces weren’t just put on the top of the shake, but were throughout it. Each topping cost an extra 50 cents so that was nice to see.
They had plenty going on during the day to get people coming. The whole time we were inside we could see a long line up of kids waiting for their balloon creations. I saw all sorts of neat things, flowers, hats, swords and even a UFO with an alien!
They also had a tent up and were selling 50 cent ice cream cones and giving out cotton candy.
I feel like I need to take a minute now and talk about the owner of this place. He is the one in white dishing up the ice cream (anyone else thinks he looks like Buddy from Cake Boss?!). Both times now that we have been there, he has been there as well. He is approaching tables and talking to customers, keeping an eye on what is going on and even grabbing a mop when a child spilt a drink. He seems as though he is very hands-on and that is great to see. We eat out quite a bit and have our fair share of complaints about how staff are managed. I’m going to go ahead and say that I don’t think this place will have that issue. He seems to take pride in this place and I love seeing that.
The other event they had on during the day was a car show. All I can say about that is that there were some beautiful cars.
After looking at the cars we left as there wasn’t much else going on. Until that evening that is. I was very excited to see that in the evening they would be having a Sock Hop. Anyone who knows me knows just how much I love music from this era. I don’t have fun going to a bar and listening to new music but a diner with 50’s/60’s music? You bet I’m there!
They had FX Music Productions DJing and he did a great job ( I don’t think I ever actually got his name). The music was on cue and was the perfect volume. We sat the bar so we were right by the music. I had no issue talking to or hearing what others were saying. This is a huge bonus for me because that is my biggest pet peeve going somewhere. Even if I’m going to the music, unless it’s a concert, I want to be able to visit.
The bartender there was also great. I forget what his name is but Ian and I named him Linus (I don’t think he realized that we did this). The reason for this was that he did a great job at keeping my water refilled (How I Met Your Mother anyone?). One thing that many people may not realize is that this diner is also licensed. I think that is great, it gives people in that neighbourhood somewhere close to go when they want a drink. It also sets them apart from the other diner-type restaurants. With my water, I also, of course, had to have a milkshake again. This time I didn’t add anything but it still came with chocolate chips in it, which was absolutely great.
For the sock hop they had the U of S Ballroom Dance club come out to do the jive, and to help others if they needed it. I think that was a brilliant idea. Often at things like this, it seems that no one wants to be the first one on the dance floor. There may be a few that eventually go up but it doesn’t keep the party going. That was no issue here. As soon as it started the dance floor was hopping and it was very rare that no one was dancing.
It was great to see people dress for the time and out there just smiling and having fun. For the most part, we just sat at the bar enjoying the dancing. At one point the owner actually came up to us and commented to Ian that he hadn’t seen us dancing yet. That’s another thing about the owner, it shows he’s really paying attention to what is going on and wants everyone to enjoy themselves and the experience. We did eventually get up and enjoy a few dances.
Eventually, people started to leave and there were only the staff and a couple groups left. That’s when Ian got the idea to go and request a song that was completely out of the era, but it was our wedding song “Fishing in the Dark” by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The DJ was nice enough to play it for us so we, of course, had to get up and dance to that. I didn’t really expect two-step at a Sock Hop! The bartender was nice enough to grab my camera and snap a couple pictures of us, which was a great gesture! I’m really happy to have those pictures.
By the end of the night, it was just us, the DJ and the staff. The party didn’t end though and the staff was able to get in on the fun. The staff seems as though they are great. They were just there, having fun during their shift. They all got in the spirit of the place by dressing up. They got on the dance floor, and just goofed off by hiding (creepily) on their boss.
The last song played and one of the staff was smart enough to request a song from Grease. The DJ pulled out the perfect Grease mix. It was the perfect way to end the night, even though it was just us and the staff dancing!
I also had to get just one more picture in my dress by the jukebox and gas pump.
I was so happy that I happened to have this dress. I had bought it about a month or so before from ModCloth and it is the Traveling Cupcake Truck dress.
Just as we were about to get up to go one of the ladies came up to us and handed us a Prairie Meats cooler full of stuff because we were the last couple there. This was just an awesome touch. We opened it up when we got home and it was such a great mixture of stuff.
I would recommend this restaurant to anyone in a heartbeat. They definitely still have some kinks to work out but they are a new business and who doesn’t have some bumps along the way? With the way that the owner and staff are I don’t think it’s going to be too long before those kinks are ironed out. The first time we went the service was very slow, but you know what? The wait was worth it. The food was great. The atmosphere is amazing. I really hope that this place will be around for a long time to come. I will definitely be a regular customer as long as it is.