If I’ve got fifteen dollars to last me a week until my next paycheck, you’d better believe I’m spending it on bacon, eggs, and a loaf of gluten free bread. I’m without a doubt a breakfast person. It’s an essential part of the morning routine that gets me centered for the day, whatever that day might entail. Unfortunately, however, in a world full of cappuccino-grabbers, granola bar addicts, and straight-up skippers, breakfast is a dying art.
That’s why I was thrilled to get the opportunity to speak with Erin, part owner of The Park Avenue Grill in Amityville. She and her husband, Alex, opened the place eleven years ago, and they’ve been serving up quality breakfast and lunch dishes ever since.
While they both wear countless hats in order to keep everything running smoothly, she’s primarily in charge of the front-end (décor, serving, menus, wait-staff, advertisements), while he’s got the back (cooking, inventory, maintenance, and occasionally using his background in contracting when a project calls for it). When I asked Erin the perks of having a family-owned restaurant, she responded with, “Accountability. You know that everyone involved is invested in creating a great place.”
But adorable husband/wife dynamic aside, The Park Avenue Grill is one of my favorite spots for a whole multitude of reasons. First, you’ve got the atmosphere. It’s a mismatched-mugs-and throw-pillows type of place, and ever since they renovated with a booth-only layout in October 2015, it’s gone from quaint and comfortable to “I could probably nap in this waffle.” This place is also relaxed and laid-back in a way that other breakfast spots often are not. Even when they’re overflowing with a rush of people, I’ve never felt pressured by the “get in, eat, and get out so we can flip this table” vibe that frequently accompanies a pre-noon establishment.
Then you’ve got the diversity of the menu. If you think you’ve experienced all the different ways you can eat an egg, think again. They do everything from baked eggs covered in brie to scrambled eggs sandwiched between homefries and Kielbasa. The lunch menu is just as expansive; they serve an awesome mix of both classic and innovative burgers, salads, and sandwiches, and the location even reopens on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings with an entirely revamped dinner menu. Come spring, they’ll start offering their annual fruit smoothies, but that’s a separate article topic all on its own.
It’s also particularly evident that The Park Avenue Grill values quality ingredients in a way that modern America’s restaurant industry often does not. Because of a background in holistic health and nutrition as well as a sensitivity to wheat, I’m really careful about where and what I eat, and I can tell right off the bat if a place is willing to accommodate the dietary needs of their customers.
Erin and her family eat a paleo diet at home, and try their best to bring that lifestyle (and more, for those who don’t partake) into their restaurant. “This country’s food supply isn’t the same as it was when I was a kid,” she told me. “I realized how many fillers, additives, and pesticides I was eating, and I had a revelation.” As a result, The Park Avenue Grill offers gluten free options, like bread, pancakes, burger buns, and waffles. Their organic selection includes organic eggs, potatoes, Mesclun greens, and berries, and they even keep tofu on hand in the kitchen for any vegetarians who might stop in. “Ask,” Erin said, “and if we’ve got the ingredients, we’ll make it for you.”
She’s also really dedicated to the finally-emerging health movement that aims to spread awareness about and reverse the damaging effects of processed foods. Because Erin was so open and friendly, we easily strayed from the interview, and she told me about how she prepares school-wide lunches for her children’s cafeteria three times a week. “If it can stop them from eating fast food at school, I really don’t mind helping out.” It’s this kind of improve-America’s-health mentality that, I’m hoping, will start to revolutionize the way that restaurants, grocery stores, cafeterias, and households view their food.
And lastly, but certainly not least, the coffee’s incredible. I entirely forgot to ask what kind they use, but it blew my mind the first time I tasted it. Consequently, if you find yourself in Amityville any time before four PM, stop into this town-side gem for great food, great atmosphere, and great service. It’s well worth your time, and a must-try for anyone who still values the art of breakfast.