Housed in a former Frisch’s Big Boy, Parkside Cafe (1024 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, 513-221-2026) keeps it real with its own drive-thru window, soup and salad bar and what seems to be the original Frisch’s furniture. They must still have the same ice machine, too, because the ice was Frisch’s ice. You know the stuff — it falls somewhere between Slushie ice and ice cubes. It’s crumbly and easy to crunch on if you’re into that sort of thing. Their menu is pretty standard for a breakfast and lunch joint, but they have a nice variety of choices nonetheless.
I really like the vibe of this place. It’s kind of old school and a little modern (free WiFi) at the same time, comfortable and not too high-paced. That’s not to say that the service is slow, because it’s not. It’s just casual. I also dug the oldies music they played. A little lunch with The Jackson 5 is always legit.
After remarking that inside it indeed looks like a Frisch’s restaurant, my lunch companion Samantha and I found a nice booth to sit in. Our server was an affable young lady who didn’t mind my consecutive requests for more time to study the menu. Finally, I decided on the New York Ham and Cheese ($5.50), a deli-style ham sandwich with Swiss cheese, lettuce and tomato. The menu told me to get it grilled, so I did. It came with a pile of Saratoga chips and a pickle, like sandwiches do. I’m a sandwich fanatic, and I enjoy thick slices of bread with meat and vegetables piled so high I can barely get the thing in my mouth. This sensibly sized sandwich was a change of pace from that kind of thing, but it was pretty nice.
When I also ordered a slice of the Fresh Baked Quiche of the day ($4.95) our server responded, “Are you sure?” I was. It was done Greek-style with meat, black olives, spinach and feta cheese. I suppose you can’t expect much from a quiche at a restaurant since it needs to be made in advance and reheated. But it’s pretty hard to go wrong with those ingredients. It wasn’t very hot, but it was decent. I bet it was even better when it first came out of the oven.
Samantha ordered the Greek Salad ($6.25), which consisted of greens, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, homemade vinaigrette and, best of all, three big ol’ pepperoncini peppers and a salty breadstick.
Going along with the Greek theme, Parkside Cafe also offers a purportedly famous Gyro, flatbread and pita sandwiches and even a Greek omelet. Like I said, they keep it real. They also have all kinds of coffee drinks, milkshakes, desserts, burgers, soups and salads. If the term versatile can be applied to a restaurant, I’d apply it here. You can relax, have a choice of many good lunch or breakfast items or just have coffee or a milkshake and get some work done. Or all of the above. Yep, versatile.
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