Monday, July 27, 2009

The Park Cafe

Weekend big breakfasts were something that I always looked forward to as a kid. During the week we always ate something quick like cereal or toast – usually on the go on our way to school. But on the weekends my folks would cook up big meals, with multiple meats like sausage and bacon, eggs, and additional items like pancakes or French toast. The tradition of the big breakfast is something that lives on in my own household now; similarly, we seldom get a chance to eat big during the weekday mornings. Usually a cup of coffee, some cereal or yogurt, or a smoothie suffices during the week before work. But on the weekends we continue the tradition of cooking it up big at home usually with French toast, bacon, and hash browns at least one lazy weekend morning. It’s either that or we go to our neighborhood breakfast diner – The Park Café. The Park Café is a restaurant that has been converted from an old house. It is located across the street from Liberty Park (hence the restaurant name – the Park Cafe) and is a breakfast and lunch joint Tuesdays through Sundays. If anything screams “local hangout” this is it. The outside is always packed with people eating at their tables, standing outside waiting for a table, or just people standing around hanging out. The atmosphere is vibrant and alive; you won’t find pretentious attitudes or gourmet nouveau cuisine here – it’s a simple hustle bustle diner, with simple fare - no doubt about it. And that’s this place’s charm.

The breakfast menu at the Park is very simple. They’ve got a number of omelets, typical breakfast items such as French toast and pancakes, sides of breakfast meats, and a number of breakfast specials or combos. My favorite breakfast special is the ‘Michigan Hash’ – house potatoes mixed with sausage, onions, mushrooms, and green peppers topped with cheddar cheese and two eggs, served with toast. It’s huge…it’s filling…and oh so delicious. Are you kidding? It’s like a perfect mix of everything you love about breakfast rolled into a crispy-on-the-outside, gooey-on-the-inside type of casserole. It’s a complete savory mindblast. Luckily you can balance out the savory with some sweet with your toast. At the table you’ll also find house made jams – strawberry, apricot, peach - depending upon what’s in season and/or available at the time. With some of this homemade jam slathered on a piece of wheat toast or sourdough, you can round out your breakfast nicely.

If you’re more into a basic breakfast, more like something you might make at home yourself, check out the huge portions of the ‘Double Play’ with meat (either ham, bacon, or sausage), eggs (however you like), and house potatoes served with toast. For sweeter menu items, don’t miss their delectable, thick pieces of French toast or the super fluffy, enormous pancakes. I’ve eaten most things on the menu, including the occasional specials such as chile rellenos or the ‘eutaw omelet’ and everything is great. It’s total diner food to the max. I must say that the breakfast menu is the highlight for me, but they do have a selection of burgers and sandwiches for lunch. But if all else fails for lunch, they do serve breakfast all day.

What I really love about the Park is its homey environment. I always feel welcomed when I come through the door and what I really like is that it’s always really loud and alive inside. It kind of reminds me of my family home growing up; I grew up with a pretty loud, large, extended family. It’s very appropriate that the restaurant is located inside an old converted house. That definitely contributes to the homey feeling you get from the place. Continuing my tradition of big family breakfast feels right at the Park Café. I may not be making the food myself, but I know someone back in the kitchen is putting some love into this food. You can taste it…and it tastes good.

The Park Cafe ~ Salt Lake City, Utah

604 East 1300 South

Co-owners: Sean and Randi


Park Cafe on Urbanspoon