Print Edition: November 16, 2011
33780 King Road
Hours: Monday – Saturday: opens at 11:30 a.m.; Sunday: opens at 11 a.m.
There are some days on campus when lunch seems like the most monumental decision in the world. Sodexo just never seems like a good idea and AfterMath has a certain, well, post-apocalyptic ambiguity to some of their dishes, but the clincher is parking. Who wants to leave campus when they’ve already scored a good spot in the permit lot? Or who wants to ditch a stall they’ve already paid six hours for? That’s a lot of good luck and money to go throwing at the wind, so it seems the only other option within sight is Finnegan’s.
Finnegan’s is located just behind the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre and has an air of distinction – and thus the presumed necessity of deep pockets. What I discovered on the other side of the one set of doors that lead to Finnegan’s—as opposed to the other doors that lead to Phoenix Lounge—was some surprisingly good food at surprisingly affordable prices.
It was a Thursday that I stepped across the threshold, and even though the threshold offered some added difficulties—namely power tool cords, a ladder, and a lingering smell of fresh paint—what greeted me inside was a rather nice surprise. TVs bedeck every available wall, which can be both a hindrance to actual conversation and a nice distraction in the face of awkward company. The atmosphere is tangibly intimate with low-lighting and dark colours, but the tall chairs still keep it pub-like without going too intimate. There’s a plethora of seating on a weekday afternoon, and even though they have tall chairs, they were surprisingly comfortable – unlike the bar stools at another table.
The service was prompt and friendly without being invasive, which makes a meal suddenly that much better. The only downfall that I could see was the prices. They’re not exorbitant, but when compared to AfterMath or Sodexo, they may seem like a pricey little trip across the street. However, the quality of the food far outranks anything on-campus eateries can provide. Since I didn’t feel like going over $15 for steak or another dinner-like entrée for lunch, I went for the special of the day. Since it was Thursday, the house burger was on for $6.99. Though this price did catch my eye, I wasn’t yet aware of the extra fees required to make it a real burger – bacon for $2 and cheddar for $1.50? Interestingly the smoked cheddar was $2. Fifty cent smoking fee? I guess so. Mushrooms, too, cost extra if eating fungus is a preference of the patron. Either way, though, the burger was reasonable and—bonus—delightful. Most pub burgers are greasy mounds of fat and calories designed to soak up the pitcher of beer most patrons order with it. Finnegan’s, however, appeals to a slightly more sophisticated demographic and knows the importance of quality food. The burger wasn’t fatty. The bun wasn’t dry. The fries didn’t require five napkins to soak up any excess grease. It was a pleasant surprise, to say the least, but it’s difficult to get past so many pricey add-ons that make a burger better.
It seems, then, that the best way to eat at Finnegan’s, as a student, is to order from their specials menu. With a different special each day of the week, it is fairly easy not to get stuck in a nearly-on-campus lunch rut. Or you can give up a parking space and venture beyond King Road for something else to satisfy those awkward stomach grumblings that seem to only happen at the quietest moments in class.