We had heard reports that weekend brunch at Parkway Deli (8317 Grubb Road) is a madhouse but still I underestimated the madness of the house, and the longness of the wait for a table. PD is a local institution for nearly 50 years but somehow we had never been, until recently. Not only was the wait long, but the line was awkwardly arranged, constantly in the way of servers rushing around, and the end of the line was not obvious to each set of newcomers, which added to the feeling of being in the way.
We survived the madness and even mostly liked it. Everything we ordered cost $9.35: the reuben, an omelet, and eggs benedict with crabcakes. Technically we also ate a potato knish, which was $3.55 and above average quality, but that ruins the $9.35 theme. “Ruins” is probably too strong a strong word. Moving on…
Overall the food was solid, especially at the price point. I liked the reuben, and a big/good value at the price, but the accompanying fries were limp and sallow. I tasted the crab cakes on the benedict (which looked good otherwise) and wasn’t impressed but Senior Mrs. Me liked them and that’s what counts. The omelette was pretty good. Lots of good classic Jewish deli/kosher options.
The main room is big and loud, with lots of mirrors and odd colors, very strange layout. We were glad to be in a booth, not at one of the close-packed tables in the middle of the room. Service was generally good though a couple of dishes were practically thrown on the table; I guess you have to cut some slack during the brunch rush. I can see why the place is popular — does the dinginess and datedness add to the charm? — but if I had to choose between Parkway Deli and Woodside Deli, it would be a tossup: PD food might be slightly better, but WD wins on decor, convenience (for us Wheatonians) and not having to wait as long for a table (though that’s a tough table too at brunch/lunch rush). I need to revisit Wheaton’s own Nick’s Diner one of these weekends, very different atmosphere and food style but serves a similar local diner brunch/lunch niche.