A while back I had pretty much covered the community when it came to places to eat. Then I took a sabbatical, even venturing into other cities. Meanwhile, some entrepreneurs moved into the west river community. Specifically, Parka Cafe and Blue Door Pub.
So to give ourselves a change of pace from chain food, I’ve now taken a sample of take out from both places.
First, the Blue Door Pub. I looked at their menu, and I decided the one thing I was sure both I and my wife would go for is the Blucy which is the signature sandwich. So I ordered that takeout. Took about 15-20 minutes and was done when I got there.
Then, the Parka Cafe. I’d read about it, read the menu. Decided that the meatloaf sandwich was “Mom food” enough for me, so I stopped there and ordered it takeout. Took about 15 minutes. I ordered coffee and waited. Gave me also a chance to sort of size the place up.
The food: I don’t know. I just have this feeling that the Merriam Park Blucy was better than what I got in Longfellow. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t memorable. I thought the stuffed burger I got from Casper’s and Runion’s Nook Cafe in Highland Park was better. That had pepper jack filling. I expected a stronger sense of blue cheese in the Blucy and didn’t really get it. We thought the fries were nice.
Meanwhile, the meatloaf sandwich from Park Cafe was mountainous and tasty. I think I really like meatloaf sanwiches better than burgers. Or, at least, I like the Parka Cafe meatloaf sandwich better. The trimmings were nice, too. They gave us a mound of pickle chips, but we didn’t use them. There were also fries. My wife was more complimentary to these fries than what the Blue Door provided.
The ambiance is really radically different between the two places. When I called in my order to the Blue Door, the noise coming over the phone was deafening. I thought they had music playing loud. But when I got there, I discovered it was just a full room talking. But the space is extremely live, so it magnifies the sound. Parka Cafe, on the other hand, despite its concrete block walls, was much cozier. It seemed like a place to have a cup and talk quietly. I have no idea if the owners meant each place to be the way it is, but I’d choose the Parka Cafe ambiance every time. I just don’t like to spend time with a constant din. Blue Door, to me, is a place to get food and go.
IGGERS DIGEST | Parka and The Sample Room: Smart and unpretentious (Jeremy Iggers, 2013)
Are Twin Cities restaurants too loud? We’re testing them—and you can help (Kristoffer Tigue, 2013)