We have just entered a time warp. The year: 1957. The menu: Cobb salad, patty melt, fried clams and a bakery case stuffed with cream puffs, key lime pies, German chocolate cakes and eclairs.
Not much has changed at Grampa’s Bakery, a diner in the Dania Beach antique district across the street from another ’50s icon, Jaxson’s ice cream parlor. Grampa’s still proudly serves all the food you won’t find in South Beach.
These comfort-food recipes have stayed the same through the years, even if our waistlines haven’t. Paninis and wood-oven pizzas? Not here.
Grampa’s cooks up stuff that gramps loved to eat. Meatloaf, liver, rack of lamb with mint jelly, stuffed chicken breast, scallops, seafood platter, open-faced turkey sandwich, “diet delight” (hamburger with a side of cottage cheese and fruit). Just don’t expect the prices your grandparents paid. Some sandwiches are 10 bucks and most entrees are more than $13, with some stretching beyond $20. But the portions pour out of the takeout containers from which two or three can easily feast (without the sharing charge when dining in).
We turned our containers into serving dishes, spooning out the cantaloupe and honeydew from the fruit salad (nice touch with nuts and blueberries, although the yogurt sauce on the side was a tad too sweet). Slicing up the shrimp salad sandwich (with perfectly marinated large ones nestled in a gigantic homemade roll). Doling out the fried clams (a bit bland and too many small bits of fried stuff).
The hits of our order: an overflowing tuna melt and a slab of chopped steak slathered with grilled onions and served with mashed potatoes covered with mud-thick gravy and a side of string beans, accompanied by two thick slices of banana nut bread.
Waiting for the food proved to be 20 minutes of entertainment of staring into the wrap-around bakery counter. Everything is home-baked, and the scene evokes the South Florida bakeries of yore such as Pumpernik’s and the Rascal House.
What to choose? A raspberry cigar so long and fat that a family of four had plenty.
Now, time for a nap. Just like Grampa used to take.