Baby Boomers love the “throw back”, aka the “rehash”, which is basically a nostalgic backwards glance at seemingly great things from their past. The first cast of SNL, flights that arrived and took off on time, quiche, cheap gas.
Generation X’ers and other newer humans kind of nod and roll their eyes at the mysterious references they never knew. But can’t we all get along? Well, The Parkway Café tucked away east of Foothills at 4700 Pearl, is a yesteryear kind of joint that’s still around, slinging hash and pleasing all kinds of diners. Apparently it’s been around forever and rumors of its demise are greatly exaggerated, which is a bit strange, as few knew it was alive in the first place.
I was one of those clueless folks until Lucy “Crazy Legs” Wallace hooked me up. This chick; man, she eats out as though she has no plates at home (she does, I’ve seen it, but her fridge generally contains maybe a cocoanut water and a dried smudge of butter, period.) so she knows the hot spots, the joints, the secret stashes.
We get there about 10 o’clock on a weekday morning, and Lucy suggests we sit on the patio. Sweet; it’s warm, sun is filtering through the trees and eating outdoors is always the righteous choice, weather permitting.
The menu is one of those long, legal-sized one-page types, covered in plastic. There are a few coffee stains & egg yolks on them, but that’s what you get at high-volume ‘aw shucks’ type roadhouses like Parkway. Actually, the overall cleanliness is impressive and consistent.
The chow is all about eggs, cakes, cheese and pork but to me the hook is the Mexican slant. How about the head-slammingly tasty “Migas Cuatro Quesos”? Yes, yes, that would be muy bueno. Eggs, chorizo, chips, green chile, a landfill’s worth of salsa cups and ummm, four types of cheese. And speaking of cheese, if you are going to indulge, why not go with the ultimate lactose-intolerant’s nightmare and order up the Chile Relleno? Two banana-sized Anaheim peppers crammed to the breaking point with quesos blanco, dipped in batter and deep-fried. As if anyone were able to stand after tackling those twin shanks of doom, it also comes with rice, refried beans, guacamole and sour cream. Nine dollars never hurt you so good. We push back our chairs with a combination of delight and alarm at what we just pounded.
Sounds kind of sick and appealing all at once right? A guilty pleasure to cave in to from time to time? Yeah, it’s that, but you don’t have to be completely brain dead about sophistication and health when you visit Parkway. They serve Ozo coffee. They bring you water in quart-sized tumblers.
If you look closely, you can find oatmeal, croissants, soy milk, chai and a fruit cup on the menu. If you were to choose one of those options, I may ask you, “But why?”, to which you might say “Because I prefer to be at least 40 before suffering my first stroke.” Fair enough.
So, here’s the thing: you can eat like you want to (as you do when you are, say, in your 20’s) or you can eat somewhat responsibly (the relatively bleak state of affairs you tend to consider as you edge into the ‘middle years’) but either way, it’s a good time to do so with a wide variety of ages, collar colors and tastes, and the mix is usually in the house at Parkway. Lucy loves it, you might too.