On June 28, 2011 a couple things happened in my life.
One was less than interesting, as it was my birthday. Which I really am indifferent to, and frankly want to ignore...especially since I woke up with a slight scratchy feeling in my throat that day, and its since progressed into some type of cold/fever... which I am currently pushing thru to get this blog done.
On the bright side. I also uncovered the official location of the Dead Like Me restaraunt "Der Waffle Haus".
Yeah I know, lots of fans had the impression it was all in studio...and for episodes 2 thru the duration of its run, it was. A soundstage that MGM ran. But for the pilot episode, it was a different place. An on location place.
When I originally realized this, several years ago (not when it first came on air... I joined in after its 2 season run was already done) I picked up on some details immediately. 1- There was a KFC across the street. 2- Trolley buses go by there...something that most of Vancouver & its outskirts DONT have. Theres probably a dozen or so trolley bus routes in Vancouver. 3- It was on a major street. Something that was at least 2 lanes across each direction.
For a couple years, I had given up finding it. I had googled all the KFCs in Vancouver and none of them seemed to stand out as a possible match. Yesterday, I was again drawn into this mystery by a simple notification from facebook telling me the Dead Like Me page on there had been updated. Like several others I was drawn in to talking about the show again in the various posts on the board.
A post about where Georgia got torpedoed by the toilet seat drew me in. I responded to tell those in the thread where that spot was...then follow up posts had people asking about the location of Der Waffle haus. As usual, the simple answer that it was a studio location was brought up, once again, I knew that was infact false for the pilot.
I was determined, like I have been several times prior....to prove the Der Waffle Haus was an On Location spot somewhere. I re-watched the pilot, especially the parts where they were in the DWH. The night scene verified my old assumptions of there being a KFC close & a trolley bus going by. It was however, when I watched the daytime scene where they had "banana bonanzas all around" I clued in.... I'VE BEEN THERE! In fact, I for awhile, was a semi-regular there. How I didnt notice a hotel in the background on the day shoot in my previous attempts I dunno. The original KFC that was tip 1 back then has long since been closed & re-opened as a Starbucks. I was 99.9% sure this was the locale....now only to prove it.
I hopped on the bus (a trolley bus funny enough) & took the 10-12 min bus ride thru East Vancouver to my destination. As soon as I got off the bus, I knew it....now, to get some photo proof. I walked inside, and sat down. My lack of immediate material to guide me made me sit 1 booth off from where I assumed If only I had the common sense to watch a clip on youtube on the blackberry I had in my pocket before sitting down.
The booths still had the blue seats you see in the pilot. Where the daytime scene is done is almost right inside the door. In the pilot it was behind a wall...which till a couple yrs ago, actually used to still be there...but has since then been taken down. There was 2 sets of booths, I picked the wrong set lol. As I perused a menu I was already familiar with, I asked the waitress if anyone had been working here over 7 yrs, she said she had. I asked her if they filmed anything in here back then, she said "we've had several things done here". My 1st hope for solid confirmation was dashed. I proceeded in photographing different angles & things, like the Starbucks, the hotel across the street, a trolley bus going by & of course, 1 of the booths...which I thought at the time was THEIR booth for the daytime scene...but as it turns out, was not, but shows a part of it to the side where Roxy & Georgia would have sat.
I walked around mostly empty restaraunt after my meal looking for where the night scene was shot...as it turns out, I wasnt even close. Like the daytime shoot, I missed the night time shoot table by 1 table. I will likely go back when I am feeling better & get shots of the proper locations....but for now, the mystery thats befuddled an entire fanbase for years, where is "Der Waffle Haus" has been found.
I welcome you to the diner "Tom & Jerry's" at the corner of Hastings St & Kaslo St in Vancouver... just 1 block west of the entrance for the PNE.
I used to eat here a fair bit when the prices were cheap. For quite awhile, its had the same name...certainly been T&Js since before DLM shot there. Its changed gimmicks several times over the years, not that long ago, it was an "everything on the menu under $10" place, and for its price...was adequate. Then, they started pushing the prices up. Now the menu has gone up anywhere from 20-70% on some items, but the quality hasnt matched the raise in price.
For nostalgia. Sure, go there just to say you have been. The staff is friendly enough. The food just isnt up to the average price of $15 that it now has. Sadly, they dont have a banana bonanza on the menu....maybe if enough people go in & order it, it will exist.
I spent a LOT of hours digging this info up over the years. Its sad that it actually was a place I have frequeneted probably 50+ times over the years since then. I used to do occasional google searches to see if someone else had a clue, and no one ever got it...yet everyone asked about it. It was my own personal birthday gift to myself....and hopefully, some of you die hard fans will enjoy it too.
I occasionally argue with inanimate objects, but I usually win. So its all good.