Play Grounds Cafe

By Chris Dias on September 20 2016

Every small town has that one café everyone frequents. By frequent, I stress because of the quality of the food, not because it’s a gym for Pokémon Go.

Sometimes, it’s because they boast a chocolatier or a bakery, the common denominator being a central figure with a passion for his or her business. This spills into every corner, resulting in something far more important than a simple coffee shop. I feel the distinction is important. A coffee shop is where you go to purchase coffee, and not much else. It’s more a factory floor than a community center. A café, one that earns it’s accented “e”, is something approaching art, where people socialize, unified by a desire to actually be at that café. It must be more than pressing a button and waiting for molten tar to come dripping into a ten-cent paper cup.

Play Grounds is no assembly line; it is a true café, one deserving of its placement atop the list of cafés in town. It wears many hats, a daycare, a social center. It could still be a gym for Pokémon Go; I can’t make that assumption. The space used to be an actual gym, so that wouldn’t be a stretch. Its name implies a play area for children, and this safe bet is justified as it rests beyond a partition splitting the establishment.

But it is so much more. Its tea selection was handpicked. Its coffee is local. The tables are hand-made or vintage secondhand, therefore indistinguishable from those found at Pottery Barn. And they have a crepe machine.


Not a frying pan with an extrawide spatula, an actual crepe machine, by this article’s publication a unique feature in town. That alone would draw the thralls. Crepes dominate the menu, and rightly so, with not a single option unenticing.

Beyond that, Play Grounds has an actual personality, and not an intrusive one. Its décor is rustic but not distracting. The food is appetizing without breaking the bank, and wholly made in house. All of this is thanks to Jeni, a second generation restaurateur (could be more, I didn’t probe further, I’m not, a professional photographer, and a mother to six. She also runs a restaurant. Meanwhile, I have difficulty driving and chewing gum at the same time. Play Grounds is not just another café, it is fated to be another landmark people speak of when bragging about the city, the one you tell visitors to try. And if you get the chance to watch a crepe being made, do so; it’s like being hypnotized by a lava lamp.

WGO2016Norm Coyne