A regular rave
Story and photos by Mónica Barnkow
Who says you can’t go home again?
Long-time patrons of the Park View Café might have been faulted for wringing their hands when the beloved diner shuttered for renovations a few years ago.
For four decades, the neighborhood restaurant has served as a beacon for those seeking straightforward, delicious staples. The menu was long on classic cuisine, such as burgers, omelettes and sandwiches, that fortified and pleased the palate.
“He was one of the first ones in the neighborhood to open a restaurant,” explained Stacey Anton, referring to her father-in-law, John Anton, who opened the restaurant in the 1960’s.
Anton, together with her husband Gus, runs the Café.
The owners promised at the time that the remodel would focus on revamping the restaurant’s interiors, floors and kitchen – but would leave intact its appealing Americana fare.
A recent visit reveals that promises were kept, and that while the Formica counter is gone, the satisfying cups of coffee and the tasty dishes still await.
Park View’s updated menu is as extensive as it is eclectic – with satisfying burgers and omelettes lined up along new salads and wraps.
In addition, the Café serves specialty coffees and sodas, loose leaf tea, craft beers, and wines.
“We offer six rotating beers on tap, that change daily,” explained Anton.
The specialty sodas, made with all organic ingredients, hail from P&H Soda Company in Brooklyn.
“Very few places carry them,” said Anton proudly.
The remodel updated the restaurant’s décor, which now boasts exposed brick walls, hardwood floors, and leather banquettes. The walls are adorned with artwork, and the tables are bedecked with small white candles.
“It is much better now,” said long-time Inwood resident Wallace Kramer. “The food is good and there are more choices on the menu.”
Popular items include the Kobe Burger, which is served with cornichons, lettuce and tomato on a brioche bun, and the grilled Portobello sandwich, prepared with roasted tomato, fresh mozzarella and arugula-pesto mayo on olive bread.
Both are served with a side of skin-on fries or a mixed green salad.
“It is unique,” said John Mullaly, referring to the grilled cheese sandwich, a decadent treat made with both Brie and Cheddar cheeses and Fuji apples. Mullaly recommended pairing it with the Café’s tomato soup, as it was among the best he’d ever had.
“It is delicious.”
Still, tradition endures.
The “legendary” Park View Wrap has been part of the menu since 1967. Composed of savory layers of grilled chicken, bacon, mixed greens, tomatoes, onions, and Swiss cheese, the wrap is dressed with Dijon mustard and served on a whole wheat tortilla.
The Café remains a hot spot at all hours. Old-timers and first-time patrons alike jostle, politely, for seats throughout the day. The weekends, which draw those hankering for brunch, are busy.
“Every weekend,” said server Averie Ureña. “We have a lot of regulars.”
Including Suleky Román.
“I might be paying the [restaurant’s] electric bill,” she joked.
In addition to the food, she and her fellow diners lauded the Café’s service.
“The waiters are so friendly that you can build relationships at this place,” noted her friend Rose Daly. In fact, one of the servers had been a guest at Román’s birthday party the night before.
Her boyfriend, Rubén Ramírez, was just as pleased.
“It is a feel-good place,” he said.
219 Dyckman Street
New York, NY 10034