The End of Keegan's?

September 1, 2006

Yesterday I made a distressing discovery. I was walking home from the bus terminal and passed by that most classic and revered greasy spoon: Keegans on 109th. To my huge surprise, the place was shut down. Windows papered. Big dumpster out front. Part of the famously pale red Keegan’s sign was missing. By god, what has happened? They could be simply renovating. The sign on the door states that “Keegans in closed until further notice.” Yet another sign on the papered-over door, placed there by a patron, proclaims Keegan’s the “home of the revolution”. For some people in the Old Scona or Garneau neighbourhoods, Keegan’s was, if not the birthplace of a revolution, something of an institution. The questionable cleanliness of its dining room and suspect quality of its food only added to its legend. Taking breakfast at Keegan’s was akin to attending church. Everyone confessed the previous night’s sins over greasy omelettes and holier than holy waffles. Keegan’s bacon was a greasy, pathetically curled mystery that had the lingering taste of whatever was on the grill before. Their hasbrowns seemed to change on a weekly basis, ebbing and flowing with the whim of whoever was on the grill that day. The food was…kind of good, I guess. As far as dives go Keegan’s was a fucking gem.

My brother and I spent many a Saturday morning in that place. It was our Saturday AM ritual for a few years before we decided, for health reasons, to not eat there any more. We got to know the waitresses, and we were given preferential treatment. We never had to wait long for anything, and they always took a few minutes to chat with us. The older one made a big fuss when I cut my hair from shoulder length to buzz cut. They missed us when we were in Europe for a month last year. We got them a Christmas card. They knew what we ordered for drinks and brought them to our table without asking. It sounds silly and trite, but we felt loved there.

Omelette atrocities. Delicious BBQ bacon burgers. Day-old hasbrowns served with vigour. Melt-in-your mouth French Toast. Highly questionable lasagna that bore a strong resemblance to those frozen tray lasagnas that you can buy for three dollars at Safeway. Waitresses that were just a little rough around the edges. Cooks that looked like criminals. Coffee that tasted like a little slice of heaven. An unpretentious, real place to eat.

Keegan’s on 109th, you will be missed.

Vignette #108

10 reader comments (closed)

1

Richard

No!!!!! This is not the end of Keegan’s!!! Can’t be. Where else will I nurse my hellish hangovers? Where else will I find the glory of their pancackes? No!!!

Sep 01, 2006 • 09:35

2

Bex

It’s not trite or silly to say you feel loved when you’re living your own personal episode of Cheers. I feel much the same way at DaDeO.

Sep 01, 2006 • 18:15

3

mandie lopatka

a great loss, indeed

Sep 02, 2006 • 14:40

4

adam snider

Oh god, if I see the one on 97th Street is closed the next time I head down that way, I will have to shed a single tear. I have similar experiences with the northside Keegan’s. I haven’t been in years, but it was a regular haunt in my high school and university days when I still lived at home.

It’s a sad day when classic dives like Keegan’s go under.

Sep 03, 2006 • 11:45

5

Rosemary

That sucks! I had many a hangover talk there with friends who were still drunk!

Keegan’s you will be missed.

Sep 05, 2006 • 13:51

6

gravel

I still had hope that they were just renovating, but alas, that’s not the case. Keegan’s on 109 is history. All romanticism and embellishment aside, it truly was one of the most unhealthy restaurants in town. Like I said, I actually stopped going there awhile back ‘cause I couldn’t handle the grease. Still, the place had its moment. It’ll always serve as an avatar for the “Nighthawks at the Diner”.

Sep 05, 2006 • 14:54

7

vasyl

NOOOOOOOO.

i have been to the wonderful kegans numberless times at 5:20 in the morning on a cold dark winter drinking spree. Discussing life, school, love and lust.

or something…

Alot of the time i was reminded (or told) that i went to keegans simply by ketcup on my shirt rather than short term memory.

this is a travisty. however, since i am now out of school it doesnt suprise me. that whole area is changing and keegans is simply a perfect example of it.
I am just not suprised there is a crane looming over the building.

Sep 06, 2006 • 11:37

8

Kevin Solez

But where are we to go? -when the bars have closed but the cavorting just got good. -when you’re 14 and just want to sit around for hours with friends on a single cup of coffee. -after unusual reverie in the 109st train tunnel (before that too got boarded up). If you asked really nicely with a glint in your eye, they’d put a mess of jalapenos on your poutine.

Sep 10, 2006 • 11:46

9

Emmy

I guess there’s always Dennys…but revolutionary things never happen at Denny’s, just a slew of bland drunkards at the exact same time every morning. Denny’s is a trend, Keegans was…a warm hideout. I really hope they don’t close the one on 97th either. Out of the two, that one is my favorite.

Sep 11, 2006 • 02:48

10

Jocko

When I got here 18 years ago, it was a Humpty’s and then changed hands quite some time ago. But the location and the food (and my occasional need for breakfast before I go to bed at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning) made the place one of my faovrites in town, even though I hardly ever went there. It was one of my few remaining links to the Edmonton I knew when I first arrived. When everything else was closed at the end of the day I could still find shelter in this twilight zone of food with its Rod Serling omelettes – not only edible but packed full of unwanted but necessary epiphanies.

Sep 13, 2006 • 11:18

Keegan's Door

Keegan's Door

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StreetRag is an urban weblog and podcast about the city of Edmonton, which is located in the province of Alberta, Canada. It is authored by Edmonton-based writer, web advocate, and poet Michael Gravel and is updated frequently with written urban vignettes, amateurish photographs, deuteronomous audio material, barely coherent musings and rambling ecumenical treatises. StreetRag is a love letter to a lonely prairie burg struggling with its big city ambitions and small-town feel.

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