By Amy Jones

“Oh, I love that place!” my friend exclaims when I tell her where I’m going for lunch. “Make sure you try the warm goat cheese salad.”

“Warm goat cheese salad?” I think, later, as we step through the door into Daytona’s Restaurant and Sports Bar. It’s lunchtime on a Thursday, and there’s a table full of men in coveralls to our left, a bevy of boisterous elderly women to our right, all of whom the cheerful waitress seems to know by name. Over in the corner, a couple is shooting pool. There’s curling on the television, drink specials on the chalkboard, ketchup bottles on the tables.

Nothing about this place suggests warm goat cheese salad.

And yet, the menu turns out to be surprisingly sophisticated—a mix of classic bar favourites like nachos and fish and chips alongside intriguing appetizers and cleverly original sandwiches and burgers. We opt for the bacon blue cheese burger and the smoky BLT—a sandwich with crispy fried onions, smoked gouda, and bacon. We also can’t resist the braised short rib poutine, which is as delicious as it sounds, with fresh-cut fries and Thunder Oak gouda cheese curds topped with gravy and tender braised short ribs.

The service at Daytona’s is outstanding, and the portions are so huge that we end up taking half our meal home—two definite pluses in my book. I swear I will try the warm goat cheese salad next time, although the fried chicken sounds incredible, as does the chorizo orecchiette, and those wings at the next table looked pretty good.

And that’s not even counting the breakfast menu…

Daytona’s is located at 965 Cobalt Crescent at the corner of Cobalt Crescent and Alloy Drive; call 622-2169 or visit