2953 Beech Street, South Park
South Park easily claims the title of my dog's favorite neighborhood. It's home to her favorite dog park, pet shop and bar (Hamilton's, naturally). It's also where to find her favorite mid-walk water dish – the large metal bowl that sits outside the door to Grant's Marketplace. This makes it convenient enough for me to stop in for a sandwich from the small grocer's deli counter.
So far as delis go, there's nothing too remarkable going on here: Dietz and Watson meats, assorted side salads, a choice of breads, etc. You get daily specials, some tasty looking pastries and a crispy slice of pickle. A cooler filled with specialty sodas washes it down with something different every time, if you care to be adventurous with your beverages. Every neighborhood deserves this sort of even-money sandwich option.
What really makes Grant's worth a visit is South Park's small-town charm; sit outside for awhile and a friend will pass by – or at least a friendly passer-by. Or at the very least a steady stream of relaxed and limber smiling souls coming out of the nearby Ginseng Yoga studio. Even my dog runs into people she knows here.
There's plenty of indoor seating, but there's rarely a reason not to eat outdoors, even without the pooch in tow. There's no table service, but the counter staff never fails to be friendly, despite an awkwardly situated shop that disrupts this vibe during rushes, as circulating customers struggle to get in and out around others impatiently waiting for their to-go orders.
While it's convenient enough that a number of local residents do grab their food on the go, more should learn to call ahead, or at least find a seat and stop hovering. Nothing about Grant's suggests it's a fast food joint, and it's really at its best when you've got time to leisurely sit on the wrap-around patio and enjoy your time. This holds especially true if your lifestyle affords a little late-morning, sit-with-a-coffee-and watch-the-world-go-by time. In other words, my dog's third favorite meal: breakfast.
It's tough to make a bad egg, sausage, and cheese on a bagel, and Grant's performs competently with this type of typical breakfast offering. However, due to the lack of a visible menu board and counter case filled with quiches, a number of people probably never notice the deli's best creation: the Rosemary Avocado Smash. It's basically a couple of slices of toasted rosemary olive oil bread, slathered with spread avocado, topped by salt, pepper and basil leaves, served open-face. Sliced tomato is optional (though it should be mandatory) and determined carnivores will also want to get it with bacon.
It's not something I'd ever wake up craving, but seeing as avocado's the original superfood, it turns out to provide a satisfying start to the day. Which is fortunate, because if my dog had her way I'd be here a lot more often, and probably never get much done.