Review: The Park Cafe, Salt Lake City Utah
Situated right across the street from the picturesque Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, The Park Cafe is a quaint little eatery in an old converted house with true-to-the era white plaster walls and dark hardwood floors. You can’t help but to feel right at home here. Despite the crowded jammed together tables and high volume of the one-room dining hall, there is a cozy comfort at The Park reminiscent of a large family reunion with a bunch of cousins that you really don’t know but feel good being around.
We had heard good things about eating here, felt good things upon walking in and taking our seats, and smelled good things coming from the plates of our fellow diners. As our wait staff guided us through the menu with big smiles, we felt that we had come to the perfect place to start our Saturday morning together.
The Park Cafe Menu
The Park’s menu is pretty typical of most diners/cafes: many comforting breakfast options, lunch burgers and sandwiches, and a few soups and salads to choose from. They place the 1-page menu under the tabletop glass, which is actually a great touch. According to our servers (we had 3 of them), the most popular breakfast choices are the French Toast, Michigan Hash (park potatoes mixed with sausage, onions, mushrooms, peppers, cheddar cheese, and served with 2 eggs), and Biscuits & Gravy. The Park also has daily specials to keep things interesting.
We were told that the omelets at The Park are exceptional, but neither of us were in the mood for an omelet. Sadie couldn’t keep her eyes from going to the daily special board of Huevos Rancheros, and my eyes kept going back to the Biscuit and Gravy menu comment, “available until sold out.” Our orders in, we visited, snapped some pictures of each other, commented on the fun art deco, admired the curls on the little kid sitting at the table next to us, and enjoyed our lovebird time together.
At last, the moment of glory had arrived….
The Park Cafe Huevos Rancheros Breakfast Special
Look at this feast! Two fried eggs, Park potatoes, flour tortillas, sour cream, red salsa, and house-made refried black beans smothering a pile of pork carnitas. Damn! This place isn’t messing around! Sadie quickly dived in, but was sweet enough to compile a breakfast taco for me as well.
This was a tasty and hardy treat. The refried black beans were great with the runny-yolk eggs. The pork carnitas were very tendor and moist, had a strong pork flavor, and were a great accompaniment to the dish, but were a bit under-seasoned. The red salsa was good, but was store-bought rather than house-made, which was a bit disappointing. But all in all, this was a fantastic breakfast.
The park potatoes that both our breakfasts came with were a good accompaniment. They were basically just mashed up hashbrowns with some cooked onions mixed in, and then fried on the griddle to get patches of golden-brown. They were good, but were in dire need of salt.
The Park Cafe Biscuits and Gravy
“Available until sold out” gave me high hopes of these biscuits and gravy. Perhaps too high.
This plate smelled wonderful! The eggs were perfect, the park potatoes good but lacking salt, and the pork sausage links were great. The biscuits looked light and fluffy, but the gravy had me concerned.
Upon my first bite of gravy, my concerns were confirmed. This was not a scratch-made gravy. It came from a powdered mix base. That means that it tasted just like every other white gravy served across the country at places that take “the easy way out” rather than making the real stuff (which, by they way, is extremely easy to make). It still tasted good, but what a huge disappointment. At least The Park dressed it up with good quality pork sausage chunks and lots of black pepper. But the sadness I felt in my heart from the gravy mix base just ran too deep for me to enjoy my order. However, I must say that the biscuits were exceptional. They were light, airy, extremely soft, had a great golden-brown top and bottom, and were pull apart delicious. Why not serve a gravy worthy of them? You confuse me Park Cafe.
Concluding Review of The Park Cafe in Salt Lake City
Gravy travesty aside, The Park Cafe is a delightful breakfast destination in a beautiful part of Salt Lake. The atmosphere is great, the staff extremely happy and helpful, and the food better than most. I recommend them the next time you find yourself looking for something tasty on a Saturday morning in Salt Lake.