Cafe on the Park Serves Satisfaction

For a food experience of a unique nature, venture to the edge of Hillcrest for the Cafe on Park. Parking is atrocious and seating space is limited, serving a maximum of 35 people, but it’s all worth the experience of eating there.

Decorated in a simple art deco motif, the floor is unfurnished concrete (for now) and amenities are kept simple. Exemplary of its unique style, Cafe on Park uses mason jars as glasses. To add to the ambiance, there is always local art on exhibit, which owner Andy Haenfler doesn’t help choose.

“”I know what I like, and if it was up to me, that’s all that would get put up,”” Haenfler said. “”So, some mornings I come and am completely shocked at what’s on my walls.””

The Cafe on Park has a different approach to decision making and what to serve. The decisions for menu items are completely democratic. Everyone from the busboys up get to have a say in what ends up on the menu.

“”Everyone gets together at my house and we talk about what the customers have told us about the menu,”” Haenfler said.

The outcome is a tasty and unique result that remains quite inexpensive. The food reflects what Haenfler calls “”typical hearty, down-home, Midwestern food.”” For example, the breakfast menu carries a “”large bowl of Captain Crunch”” ($3.50). That’s about as normal — or perhaps, as predicable — as most items get.

Corresponding to the atmosphere of this quaint cafe, familiar menu items are often given an inspiring twist. Pancakes, for example, come in varieties including Banana-Chocolate and Blackberry-Cornmeal (both $3.25). One pancake literally covers the entire plate, and that’s without any side dishes.

There is also the Mexican Hash ($6.95), which includes jalapenos, onions, tomatoes and potatoes, pan-fried with mozzarella. Served with black beans and tortillas, this is a filling and delicious meal. There are several other kinds of hash, omelets, pancakes and waffles, all of which sound delectable.

Nothing on the breakfast menu is more than $8, and everything is in huge portions, promising a take-home box. The lunch menu is similar in price range, though the cap is about $10. The lunch selection is just as varied as breakfast, offering a lot of sandwiches, burgers, salads and pastas.

The dinner menu is more expensive but still very reasonable, with the more extravagant items around $15. The appetizers and salads have flare and excitement. The entrees match the standard of excellence set up by the rest of the menu. The Turkey Pot Pie ($9.50) is as delicious as it is infamous — it has been noted in several other reviews. Those looking to go simple should try the Grilled Corn-o-Cob ($10.95).

The Cafe on Park is strongly recommended. You just can’t go wrong with the food or the prices. Just make sure you come hungry, and you will be satisfied.

Cafe on Park
3831 Park Blvd.
(619) 293-7275

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