It’s time to get ready for outdoor egg salad: The Park Bench in Manito Park opens Friday. New items on the menu include Greek salad, tomato and basil bisque, fresh-squeezed lemonade and breakfast parfait.
“The parfait is low-fat yogurt layered with granola and topped with strawberries,” said Sam Song, food and beverage manager for the Spokane Parks Department, which runs the Park Bench. “We will also offer hummus with pita bread as something new.”
One of Spokane’s favorite summer lunch spots, the Park Bench was originally built in 1923 as a peanut shack, back when Manito Park had a small zoo. It sat mostly vacant after the zoo closed in 1932.
In the early 1970s, park visitors could rent bikes and roller skates there, and some concessions became available again.
At one point in the ’80s, bike sales were added to the menu, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that the Park Bench was turned into the now well-known café.
It sits in the shade of big chestnut trees surrounded by picnic tables, offering only outdoor seating.
Though new items are added to the menu every season, the old favorites stick around.
“We still have egg salad and the turkey sandwich, the Gobbler, is still here,” Song said. “We will always keep those because people love them so much.” The café also features pastries and baked goods from Rocket Bakery, coffee and espresso drinks, sodas and an assortment of sandwiches, wraps and ice cream treats.
For four-legged park-goers, the Park Bench has free dog treats and water.
“The only other place for the dogs to drink is in the duck pond,” Song said. “We put out fresh water all the time.”
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