The Boston Phoenix
September 17 - 24, 1998

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Park Square Café

Breakfast and lunch, city-style

On the Cheap by Jason Weinzimer

Despite the urban-arcade façade, Park Square Café is the real thing: a fast-paced downtown greasy spoon with a solid menu, revved-up countermen, and even a few tables for those without offices to eat in. The turkey sandwich ($3.50) is fresh and simple enough for a fourth-grade lunch box; those with a more lenient approach to cholesterol will enjoy the grilled Reuben ($4.25), especially the pastrami version. And even those who don't consider food therapeutic might succumb to the $4.25 cheese steak's ability to cure hangovers. The version here gets its edge from a distinctly Philly trick: cooking the cheese into the meat, rather than laying it on top.

Also not to be missed are the chili ($1.95) and the occasionally offered cream of tomato soup ($1.50), both of which go well with the grilled American cheese sandwich ($2.65). But beware -- if it's raining out, both are usually long gone by 12:45 p.m.

Though some customers might find its frenetic pace more stressful than work, Park Square's pleasant predictability inspires loyalty from its patrons. In fact, if you're there early enough for breakfast, you'll notice that most of the customers don't need to order -- their regular is served up right away.

The Park Square Café, located in the Park Square Building at 33 St. James Street, in Boston, is open Monday through Friday from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (617) 451-3868.

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