Parkway Family Restaurant
Latest Parkway news and reviews
Alan ate the fish fry.
JM ate the mac and cheese with Polish sausage and a lemonade.
Mallory ate the Greek omelet and a soda.
Nichole ate the chicken noodle soup, a Monte Cristo and coffee.
We split some tapioca pudding and a slice of lemon meringue pie.
The bill was $46, or $11.50/person, plus tip.
JM gave Parkway Family Restaurant an B+ ; Nichole gave Parkway Family Restaurant an A (see our grading rubric).
With the economic times what they are, Parkway has recently garnered some attention as a place for a good bargain on homestyle food, but that's not news. Parkway was one of the places Nichole and JM went during their first summer in Madison; back then, they were still easily charmed by smoother faces and Parkway seemed shabby, almost something to be ashamed of feeling affection toward. In contrast to a Food Fight joint, where $4 got you a fake smile and a side of mashed yams, at Parkway Nichole's cashier pay easily afforded a plate of scallops (nevermind if they really were) and a side of Brewtown nostalgia. Today a meal will run you more like $7 or $8 but the place is still real. We think it's too bad it's taken harder times for Parkway to get what recognition it deserves, but we're glad it's starting to happen.
Anyway. Of the Monte Cristo:
Bread: The French toast was made from very eggy, thick cut white bread. The top was soggier than the bottom.
Meat: The ham and turkey were warmed through, medium-thick cut.
Cheese: Swiss, exceedingly goopy and generous, but possibly processed versus the harder stuff.
Construction/presentation: The flavors were balanced, but the sandwich was basically too big and heavy to finish. Maple syrup was provided on request. About a 6 of 10 overall.
Mallory got her usual, the Greek omelet; we gather she could have said "the usual" to our server and she would have gotten the right thing. It's that kind of place. The omelet spilled off the plate and was cooked perfectly, with fresh tomatoes, feta, and peppers. The side of hashbrowns were lightly cooked and not too greasy.
Alan's fish fry included a trip to the salad bar, which offered a few dozen choices of toppings and standard sides like cottage cheese, radishes, carrots, nuts, etc. The fish itself was better than average, flaky and hot, with a light breading and a baked potato with the trimmings on the side.
JM gave in to his heart and got the mac and cheese. A big serving of elbow macaroni, garnished with parsley, in a cheesy sauce with many visible bits of carrots and onion. While this execution was neither as tasty nor as memorable as the one at the Old Fashioned, it was perfect comfort food at a very comfortable price. Warm and satisfying, even the Polish sausage implied "home" to JM, nevermind that he didn't grow up eating it split and fried in this particular way.
No dinner at a family restaurant is complete without something from the rotating display case and/or tapioca/jello. The serving of pudding was presented prettily, and about twice the portion as usual. The pudding was light on tapioca pearls and had a good vanilla flavor. The lemon meringue pie was very good and zesty.
Yes, friends, the Parkway is not a place to go in order to "be seen" in the right place. It is not where you go when you want to "wow" a first date. But for good food at a price you can live with, Parkway is way towards the top.