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Tim Hortons In America

Updated on July 13, 2014

Tim Hortons in America

Around 1985, Tim Hortons founded its first store in the US, close to home on Niagara Falls Blvd in Amherst, Ny.

However, 50 years ago this year, the very first Tim Hortons was founded in Hamilton, Ontario under the name "Tim Hortons Donuts." The name was abbreviated to "Tim Horton's," and the apostrophe was later removed due to language laws in Quebec.

In Canada, it is a proud obsession verging on a full-blown religion. Here in the US, it is just getting started. There are now 807 stores in the United States, not even coming close to rivaling the 3400-some in its home to the North.

5 stars from 1 rating of Tim Hortons

Inside a Tim Hortons in America

The average person may or may not know that Tim Hortons is more than just your average coffee. Their coffee is brewed "always fresh" by strict standards, 20 minutes on the burner and it is discarded, to brew another pot. When a customer takes a peek behind the counter, they may see white marker on the pot: this is the throw time of the coffee, when it expires, if you will. When a pot is brewed, the grinds are immediately discarded and the pot is marked with a throw time so that you can ensure that you are being served coffee at its optimum freshness.

The logic behind this is that the high heat from the burner will break down the coffee over time, causing it to taste bitter and burnt. The grinds, if left in the basket, will continue to drip into the pot, causing a bitter taste as well. So much thought goes into that cup of coffee you're enjoying and you haven't even told them how much cream and sugar to put in, yet!

Tim Hortons also serves a large variety of baked goods, as well as breakfast and lunch items.Their menu is always expanding and evolving, and test markets throughout the area carry exclusive new items at all times of the year. The menu changes seasonally to include items such as peppermint mochas in the winter, and the always delicious pumpkin spice muffins in the fall.

On The Menu: Breakfast

Breakfast starts at most locations at around 4am. The eggs are cooked, the biscuits are set out to toast, and the bagels are tumbled into the baskets. Tim Hortons has extended their breakfast many times due to demand of their yummy sandwiches, from 11 am to noon, and now to 5 pm In some areas! Breakfast almost around the clock. Sandwiches go out by the bagful and hash browns are accompanying breakfast combos, as well as their donuts and muffins. And, of course, don't forget the coffee.

Tim Hortons provides many different breakfast options for breakfast on the go. Their most popular, classic sausage egg and cheese on a home style biscuit is always a stand by. They carry English muffins as well, and if requested, they will put any breakfast sandwich on any of their wide variety of fresh toasted bagels, as well. To mix it up a bit, they also carry what is called a Bagel BELT, a play on the classic BLT, but with egg included, usually served on a toasted bagel. Each sandwich can have the meat and egg swapped for another, or left off altogether, making your sandwich customizable to your tastes or dietary needs.

The menu includes lighter options as well, including their home style oatmeal, still slow-cooked on the stove as opposed to warmed up when ordered. The oatmeal can be topped with maple flavor, apple flavor, or fresh berries according to guest requests, or even left plain. In house it can be served in a china bowl on a tray for you to enjoy. Other healthier options include their egg whites, which can replace the yellow egg omelet on any of their sandwiches, and you can even have an apple or yogurt parfait for your side. Some locations also carry turkey sausage, which is lower in fat and calories than their pork sausage, and much less greasy if that isn't your thing.

Most of their baked goods are served all day long, but a fresh frosted cinnamon roll, or glazed donut also goes great with your morning cup of coffee, although it doesn't provide much nutritional value. It is always good to treat yourself once in a while!

Breakfast at Tim Hortons is their rush period, with drive through and front of house doing hundreds of transactions an hour. The employees are challenged to get customers in and out with their items within a certain timeframe, although hospitality is always their top priority.

Coffee is made to your specifications, poured fresh and the lid is marked to indicate how it has been made, ensuring you that you get your coffee exactly how you want it, time after time.

On The Menu: Lunch & Dinner

If you are stopping in for lunch in the afternoon, Tim Hortons has a wide variety of options for you to partake in. Lunch starts around 11 or noon, but some stores can start their lunch as early as 10:30, and, if asked will let you know which lunch options are available at this time.

They carry a variety of sandwiches, from subs to panini pressed on their panini grill. Each sandwich can be made on a variety of breads and can be customized to your liking. The veggies and sauces that come standard on most of their sandwiches can be removed or changed. Each sandwich is made to order, and in some reseteraunts, you can even watch them being made! Each sandwich is individually toasted and assembled with fresh ingredients, and then served on a china plate with a tray, or wrapped up to be whisked off in drive through. There are chicken painini varieties as well as turkey and ham, even a grilled cheese panini which is grilled to melty perfection.

in addition to sandwiches, they also carry an array of hot bowls to compliment their oatmeal in the mornings. Most locations serve macaroni and cheese as well as chili, and choice soups that are prepared that day. Served with a bread wedge or crackers, these hot bowls are perfect for a crisp winter afternoon inside from the snow. Even if we don't get as much as our neighbors up north. Each soup variety is unique, and there are both broth and cream bases with vegetables, chicken, and turkey to name a few. They are a perfect lunch or dinner and come in two different sizes: small and regular. Butter is provided with the bread if asked, at no additional charge.

Each lunch item, like breakfast, can be made into a combo which includes a drink and a side item. Soup can be substituted as a side item for an additional charge, and makes for a warm filling meal in the afternoon.

On The Menu: Drinks

Tim Hortons has a very diverse drink selection. Everything from their standard roast of coffee to a wide variety of both caffeinated and decaffeinated teas, frozen java drinks to smoothies and lemonade. Hot and cold and something for everyone. Espresso can be added to any beverage for an additional charge, as well as their selection of flavor shots.

To highlight a few, the Iced Capp is always popular. Every coffee house has them: the frozen coffee drink that often comes topped with whipped cream. Perfect for a hot day or just a caffeine boost, it is one of the most highly caffeinated beverages they offer. The Iced Capp can be made with the standard cream, white milk, or even chocolate milk. Every once in a while Tim Hortons highlights a new variety of an already existing drink, such as the triple chocolate iced capp, which contains more chocolate ingredients than their standard Iced Capp. You can add a flavor shot or whipped cream according to your tastes, and they are blended up for you on the spot.

Tim Hortons offers both espresso based cappuccinos and lattes, as well as those that are made from a mix like the kind you might find in a grocery store. The French Vanilla and English Toffee are served piping hot and can be topped with sweet whipped cream. Each espresso-based beverage is frothed out of a machine and comes unsweetened made with skim milk, so you can get one plain with no flavor but the espresso in it, or flavors and sweeteners can be added. There is also a Mocha Latte available that is topped with peppermint pieces in the winter months. Pumpkin Spice Lattes are popular in the fall, sprinkled with nutmeg and flavored with their sugar-free pumpkin syrup.

For the folks who aren't into coffee, Tim Hortons carries a hot chocolate and apple cider that can be flavored, as well. There are smoothies that come in various varieties and are blended up with the yogurt that they use in their parfaits. Frozen lemonade is also a treat, and comes original or with added raspberry, and is very refreshing while not being too sweet. Their real brewed iced tea is served all year around, but in the summer look for their special 99 cent iced teas. Made sweetened or unsweetened, they are brewed every six hours and cooled with lots of ice.

On The Menu: Bakery

The bakery items vary from location to locations, as each individual baker has his or her own touch that they put on their display cases. Guests can choose from anything from donuts to muffins to Danishes and everything in between. Tim Hortons sells Timbits by the box, the chain's take on donut holes, which come in a wide variety of flavors.

Donuts come filled, frosted and glazed, with some locations carrying peanut covered and even coconut covered cake donuts. Some popular varieties include their Boston Cream, thy chocolate frosted donut that comes filled with their yellow custard. Another classic is their Maple Dip, a fluffy yeast donut covered in maple fondant. Each donut deserves a try, and everyone has their favorite.

Their muffin menu has recently been overhauled to include muffins with more high quality ingredients, no preservatives, and no high fructose corn syrup. Old muffin varieties have been changed or replaced with new ones such as the Whole Grain Pecan Banana Bread in place of Banana Nut, and Cranberry Apple Walnut Bran in place of Cranberry Blueberry Bran. In an effort to be always improving their quality and their menu, the old muffins have been slowly phased out And discontinued.

Come Visit Us!

As an employee of Tim Hortons for years myself, I welcome Americans to come and try a taste of what Canada has been raving about. We are just starting to take hold here in the 'States, but have a lot to offer fans of similar chains. During my time working for this company, through ups and downs and learning the ins and outs of our products, I have gained a massive appreciation for all that goes into this franchise. I hope our presence in the US continues to grow for years to come!


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    • othellos profile image

      Mario Psomas 

      7 years ago from Europe

      Very good coffee from a chain food-beverage store. Your comprehensive review is very helpful to learn a little more about Tim Hortons.

    • WritingInRichmond profile image


      7 years ago

      I always say you can judge an establishment by their coffee. Sounds like Tim Hortons has it down to a science. You really made this place come alive with your review. I'll keep it on the list of places to visit if I ever get a chance.


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