For being a small, hidden, neighborhood cafe, the Volunteer Park Cafe does a brisk business, especially on sunny Saturday and Sunday mornings. To avoid the crowds, I decided to order at the counter and take my treat to – where else? – Volunteer Park for a Sunday morning picnic. If you’re visiting on a summer day, it’s best to eat outside (there are sidewalk tables if you don’t feel like taking it to the park) because it gets very hot inside the restaurant.
Despite the heat, I do like the interior of the cafe – the building is over 100 years old, and was a small grocery in the early 1900s. The owners have tried to preserve the nostalgic atmosphere with furniture and decor that feels homey and venerable, with a long communal table taking up much of the interior space.
But, on to more important things: the food, the coffee, and the dessert (all are good, but let’s just focus on the latter). When faced with a counter full of cookies, pastries, scones, and cakes, I had a hard time choosing, especially since the breakfast menu also included a nutella-strawberry panini.
As usual, I ended up asking the staff for help. The girl at the counter steered me away from the nutella panini and toward the muffins. I eventually decided on a berry-nut muffin, and set up shop at a picnic table in the park. I started eating and almost forgot to take the picture:
The muffin was satisfying in the way that only butter and sugar can be, but I felt it was missing something. Now, I know, that I often complain about things being too sweet or too rich, but in this case, I thought the muffin could have used more streusel topping (butter and sugar), and just more top in general (don’t you like the top of the muffin best?). I know I’m being picky, but to tell the truth, I’ve had trouble getting just the right treat at VPC, and every time I go there I leave wanting a little bit MORE.
I’ll just have to go back and try again.