Soda Jerks --> Central Park on Fair Oaks in Pasadena
A new restaurant has taken over the former location of Soda Jerks and now open. I saw people inside as I drove past last nite. I will definitely make an effort to check this place out sometime soon, but I was wondering if any of the hounds have noticed this place and beat me to it.
I hope they find a new place because I SURE miss soda jerks. It never mattered to me what their food tasted like (I don't think I ever ordered a real meal there). The important thing was it was a unique, fun place to take kids of all ages...they loved the old-fashioned shakes in the silver car and all the trains on the wall.
Everyone makes it sound so good that we're going to try it Saturday. I called for reservations and when I told him what time, the guy sounded surprised that it would be for dinner. Is there something I should know about? I do have one question: what's the dress code like?
Central Park Cafe is actually owned by the same people that own Beckhams. You can find menus for it as you go into Beckhams on the side table.
I noticed dinner menus just appeared about a week ago so it may be that dinner is just new.
Dress is completelty casual for breakfast - I wear jeans and t-shirts, people come in shorts, sandals, etc. But dinner - a woman answering the phone just told me in poor English that "wear jeans dinner, not really." So...? Trying to ask her anything more was pointless. (she took reservations and then said "not need reservation".
We are going for dinner tonight but have made Central Park our weekend breakfast stop now - the food is very good and you get fast, competent and personal service.
We love it and the Beckhams connection only made it better in my book.
Indeed, it is reasonable -- I went for a quick breakfast the other day and ordered one scrambled egg and a side of toast a la carte with coffee -- it seemed like they included the price of the toast with the egg, and so for a whopping $3.50 I had a nice sit-down breakfast with decent coffee and refills.
The sign/banner is at the closed Shakers on Arroyo Parkway not Sizzler, which is down the road on AP. Central Park Cafe IS a finer dining venture by the owners of Shakers, nothing to do w/ Sizzler, and it succeeds. You definitely will not think Shakers when you're in the place or from their menu (except for a some breakfast items and they have burgers- which are upgraded) or from the food- really good Cal-Bistro at really good prices.
ipsedixit's experience sides w/ the usually good advice to wait at least a month before trying a new restaurant, but based on my experiences, I'm already a regular. They may be settling in on their menu but I think the food and service is very good now.
What is puzzling us a bit is that there's a sign on the door of the now-closed Sizzler on Arroyo Parkway, saying WE'VE MOVED and directing patrons to Central Park! So is this a finer-dining venture by the Sizzler owners? Is this kind of like Norm's opening a cute bistro, or what?
I'm glad to read that they're making efforts, and in many ways succeeding. We'll have to check them out.
We just went to Central Park for breakfast on Sunday. We were probably there at about 10am and were seated right away (party of 2, but plenty of tables for 4). Because I had a list of must-eats for lunch, we split the Eggs Sardou (poached eggs, spinach, bearnaise sauce, all on a croissant - SPECTACULAR!) and a side of bacon (thin and crisp). We also got a Mimosa, which I thought was a good deal. For about $5, you get a split of champagne (each) and your own pitcher of fresh squeezed OJ (which they will refill if you run out before you empty the champagne).
I do wish we had tried their croissant french toast; that sounded decadent!
I would give Central Park a few more weeks before testing the waters. I dropped in for lunch last week, or least tried to, and was told "many" of the items on the menu would be unavailable (something about a snafu with the vendors) and that they were "short" one server.
We left, but were glad that the place was upfront with us.
I'll probably give it a try in December, or in the new year, but not now.
Here's a copy of my post on "New to Pasadena" topic:
Central Park Cafe-219 S Fair Oaks,Across fr: Central Park, 2 blocks S of Colorado/Old Town.
Cal-American Bistro, very nice interior, good food, great value. (downright inexpensive considering- atmosphere, quality, taste & service). A few misses but heavy on the hits.
Entrees, Pasta, Pizzas, Sandwiches, Apps, Soups, Salads.
Wine (Avg about $6/ Glass- $25/Bottle-Decent Choices)& beer.
I can recommend -
Sauteed Sand Dabs w/Lemon Caper Burre Blanc Sauce w/ vegs, really good Yukon Gold mashed potatoes - $15.
Braised Boneless Short Ribs W/ Natural Jus w/ sides - $12.
USDA Prime Flat Iron Steak w/ Red Wine Reduction & sides-$14.
Beer Batter Fish & Spicy Chips, Broccoli Salad - $12.50
Everything on their Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner Menus is "wanna try" for me.
Based on tables around us on Fri & incl us, they have a bunch of regulars after being open just 2 1/2 weeks*.
* 1st time we went was their 1st Sat. Had 1/2 hr to eat, told the server and we got our meals in about 5 minutes- very well prepared & good. Showing they were up to speed from the get go.
Addendum: Service was great 1st 2 times, avg 3rd time