Berkli Parc Cafe
Where in Manhattan can you get a hearty lunch at affordable prices, with good coffee and tea, and an inviting ambiance to boot? Berkli Parc Café, my friends!
This café has an earthy vibe, with long slabs of wood for tables, and cut-off tree trunks for chair bases. It is located in the Lower East Side on the corner of Delancey and Allen and is ideal for studying, working (lots of laptops in attendance!), or a coffee date. Its corner view lends itself well to people-watching. The day I visited, we started out at a communal table, then hopped over to a two-seater by the large, open window frame, which someone could have easily jumped through.
I went for lunch with a friend. Unexpectedly, our original plan to hit up Home Espresso Bar a few blocks away went south after I found the coffee shop with its lights off, presumably locked up for the day. This was a Monday. I’m not sure if this is a regular occurrence or what – in which case, Yelp, you’ve misled me! Lesson learned: always double-check and call the store ahead of time to confirm that: a) it indeed still exists, and b) it’s open when you plan to go.
Luckily, this small hiccup didn’t ruin our catch up time. My friend didn’t skip a beat and recommended Berkli Parc Café.
The extensive menu was a lot to take in at once. I took several minutes just to decide what to order.
Since my stomach discouraged too much riskiness that day, I chose the classic Ham, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich on thick slabs of multigrain bread, and African Nectar hot tea. Berkli Parc uses Mighty Leaf teabags: I approve! The teacup size was a mite disappointing, but at least I got a free refill.
I was pretty impressed by the generous portions and fresh, balanced ingredients. The sandwiches, salads and pastries are all made in-house daily. The quinoa salad is supposedly one to try as well. It comes with roasted chickpeas and is served over a bed of mixed greens, lemon vinaigrette, cucumber, mint, cilantro, scallions, parsley and orange yogurt.
My friend ordered the Summer Chicken Salad: grilled chicken, avocado, mango, cucumber, roma tomatoes, and mixed greens, tossed with a garlic-soy dressing. She washed that down with a Cold Brew Iced Coffee.
Berkli Parc sells interesting House Specialties, such as the unique-tasting California latte (orange zest, cinnamon and cloves), Almond Mocha, Bourbon Latte and Strawberry Fields Latte. One gripe I have is that none of the specialty drinks shown on the chalkboard menu had accompanying descriptions, so I wouldn’t have known what the ingredients were unless I asked the staff.
But really, one can’t complain. Later on during our meal, a staff member (whom I suspect may have been an owner…) walked over to our table to ask us how everything was. This personalized approach earns stars in my book for good service. Also, come here for the lattes, espresso drinks and free wifi.
Berkli Parc Café
63 Delancey St (between Allen St & Eldridge St)
New York, NY 10002
Neighborhood: Lower East Side