Charleston brunch favorites: Park Café
I’ve lived in Charleston for three years now and just recently experienced Park Cafe. What a mistake not going there sooner. A local favorite, The Park Café is a little off-the-beaten-path for tourists staying on the Lower Peninsula or in Mt. Pleasant, which adds to its charm and makes it all the more appealing to people looking to experience Charleston the way the locals do.
I visited Park Café with a group of Charleston girlbosses in early March as part of a branding session that we were doing for my new business. At the time, I was just getting started as a small business owner and had heard that it was crazy important to have a branding session early on in your business. The Park Café staff was generous enough to let us use their bright, sunshine-y space as a backdrop for our boss babe brunch, and I was able to get some great photos for my website while also enjoying a delicious brunch.
I’ll be sharing my thoughts on the important of a branding session for your small business in another post, but for now: here’s why I (and most other Charleston locals) love Park Café.
The fact that they’re a real neighborhood spot: Park Café is aptly named for its location directly across from Hampton Park, which if you’re not from Charleston, is a big ole park slightly north of the crosstown on the Charleston Peninsula. Families, pet-owners, runners, bikers, picnickers, and people who like ducks love Hampton Park for Sunday strolls and peaceful afternoons in the sun. Park Café is right across the street and draws a similar crowd; I love that this is truly a place with lots of regulars and a really local vibe.
Their unique brunch selection: There are lots of places in Charleston that do a great, traditional Southern brunch, and I absolutely love that. But Park Café mixes it up with a truly unique menu, packed with diverse options for every taste. I definitely couldn’t define a few menu items when we arrived, but by the end of our meal, we had all tried bites of each other’s food and were raving about every single plate.
Their sunny space: Part of the reason we chose Park Café as our brunch location was because we knew we’d be taking pictures, and their bright, white space was perfect for the vibe we wanted. One wall is all windows, looking out at picnic tables for outdoor diners and pups, while another wall is a vertical garden of greenery. And don’t even get me started on their little coffee bar.
My brunch recommendations: I haven’t tried all the menu items here, but here’s a quick round-up of what I’ve liked so far.
For the table to share: áebleskiver (no, I don’t know what this name means, but it’s acute little plate of Danish popovers with fruit preserves - the perfect start to any meal.)
For something really awesome: the Honey Poached Turkey Sandwich (because all these flavors are my favorite and I never would’ve thought to combine them, but wow)
For the quintessential brunch: the Ham Benedict (because hollandaise)
For a traditional breakfast: the Walk in the Park (choose the bacon, always)
For your all-pink Instagram: the Pink Your Poison cocktail (there’s truly nothing like starting your day with gin)
I’m very anxious to make it up to the Park Café again sometime soon; next time, I want to bike there, enjoy a slow brunch, and then spend the afternoon in Hampton Park. If you’re in town and want to experience a true off-the-beaten-path, local favorite, stroll through the neighborhood and stop in at Park Café for brunch.
Sirena of Aneris Photos was our photographer; Mimi of The Tiny Tassel and Ashley of Always All Dressed Up were along for the ride. Part two of this article is going to cover the importance of a branding session for your small business – stay tuned!