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Arts in Review

Restaurant Review: O’Neill’s – The best thing since sliced sweet potato buns

Stepping into O’Neil’s in downtown Abbotsford feels like travelling back in time. The small lunch counter style restaurant, with its delicious sandwiches and featured hot meal and soup of the day specials, feels like a throwback to the 1950’s when times were simpler and food was hearty. One thing the 1950’s didn’t have though is Verne O’Neil’s patented sweet potato bun.

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by Jed Minor (Editor-in-Chief)
Email: jed@ufvcascade.ca

Stepping into O’Neill’s in downtown Abbotsford feels like traveling back in time. The small lunch counter-style restaurant, with its delicious sandwiches and featured hot meal and soup of the day specials, feels like a throwback to the 1950’s, when times were simpler and food was hearty. One thing the 1950’s didn’t have, though, is Verne O’Neill’s patented sweet potato bun.

As I bite into The O’Neill, the restaurant’s flagship sandwich, I am thinking one thing only: “What the hell is this bun made of?” It’s light, flaky, delicious and… orange? Verne O’Neill bakes the buns himself every day using his secret recipe, featuring sweet potatoes in place of flour and using honey as a sweetener. They really are fantastic. So much so that I am devoting this entire paragraph to talking about the bun. It’s just that good. The O’Neill is a breakfast sandwich consisting of a good-sized egg, a slice of cheese, a thick slice of black forest ham and mayo, but it is the bun that sets it apart. Anyone can sell ham and eggs, but apparently no one else can bake this bun, and Verne would be wise to keep the recipe a secret.

The O’Neill can be upgraded by adding beef or chicken in generous portions, turning the $3.99 breakfast sandwich into a $4.99 tower of protein. The beef that is served at O’Neill’s comes from organic free range cattle, and the bun contains no sugar or preservatives.

O’Neill’s also serves a hot meal of the day at a very reasonable $4.99, which can be lasagna, chili, meat pie or jambalaya. The soup of the day comes in an 8oz cup for $1.99 or 16oz bowl for $3.50, and ranges from seafood bisque or corn chowder to the delicious-sounding tomato and roasted red pepper. All soups are served with a thick piece of home-baked bread. The hot meal and soup specials are made daily, so you can only have the item that is available that day, but that is part of the charm of the eatery. You never know what the specials are on any given day unless you call ahead, which adds some excitement to the experience of eating at O’Neill’s.

Students living in residence who crave a delicious home-cooked meal would be well advised to head down to the restaurant, but it also makes an excellent pit-stop for those UFV students traveling from Chilliwack, Mission and beyond. Calling ahead is a good idea for quick pickup of food, as O’Neill’s offers a variety of take-out options. As we all know, options for good food on and near campus are somewhat limited, but this can also be said for Abbotsford in general. In a world of franchises cranking out bland, small portions at ever-increasingly exorbitant prices, it is very rare to find the real deal when it comes to high-quality, affordable food. O’Neill’s is the real deal.

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8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. David

    January 21, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    Where is it? I can’t seem to find any website for it, or any phone number listing.

  2. Nick Ubels

    January 23, 2011 at 3:17 am

    O’Neill’s Home Cooking Take-Out
    33771 Gosling Way, Abbotsford, B.C. (Formerly Cypress Street)

    Here’s a link to their facebook page if you’d like to find out more:

    http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Oneills/149711945055249?v=info

  3. Joel

    January 23, 2011 at 3:21 am

    @David – This should help answer your question:

    http://img825.imageshack.us/img825/3841/15055013101298028914510.jpg

    As the image (lifted from the O’Neils facebook fanpage) indicates, the restaurant is located just across the street from the Duke of Dublin in downtown Abby.

    The phone number is also on the image: .604. .746. .4048.

  4. Joel

    January 23, 2011 at 3:21 am

    UUBBBELLLLLSSSSSSSS!!! you’ve beaten me to the punch once again!

  5. Nick Ubels

    January 23, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    And by a mere 4 minutes at that! I can’t afford to cut it that close next time…

  6. Sophie

    January 23, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    You guys stay up too late.

  7. Douglas

    April 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

    O’Neill’s!! the owner is an idiot. He has the personality of a chick pea. He made a mistake on my daughters’ sandwich order and instead of using a fresh sweet potato bun,he told us he would scrape the mayo off,as she ordered it without mayo,his food handling techniques are appalling,as he handles money and then handles the food without using gloves.

  8. Leona

    August 18, 2012 at 11:31 am

    THE O’NEILL is EXCELLENT!!!!
    We happend by O’Neill’s during the Berry Festival; and finally made it yesterday to try the O’Neill. WOW, it was GREAT. We were completely surprised at how tasty and light the sandwich is – and there’s no surprise as to why it has made the headlines.
    In fact it was so good, we have asked to have O’Neill’s cater our father’s 80th Birthday Party this coming Saturday, August 25th.
    Cheers to O’Neills Originality.
    Leona & Karen

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