Confucius once said that there are only two great joys in this world: dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches. OK, he didn’t say that, but the combination of those wonderful things are a hop, skip and a jump away from campus at ParkGrounds. With the lack of personalized sandwiches at the DUC-ling and drought of dogs that grace our campus, this place is a little oasis for the comfort-seeking Emory student.
ParkGrounds on Flat Shoals Avenue is a neighborhood coffee shop that gives customers the chance to hang out with the several dogs and watch them play around as if it were live cinema. The theme of the cafe is simple: Grab a cup of coffee and let your dog off its leash in the garden outside.
What surprised me the most was not the very good boys, but the very good food. Honestly, if a cafe has dogs I would probably go even if they served me something bad, like worms or my GPA. Nevertheless, ParkGrounds’ food thrives in its simplicity.
I ordered an iced coffee to quench my thirst on a warm September day, with a classic grilled cheese sandwich on the side. The well-toasted sourdough bread of the grilled cheese sandwich instantly shattered as my ravenous incisors dug into the dish, revealing the gooey, golden treasure oozing inside. The sandwich was hearty, and yet not oily enough to make me lethargic, giving me plenty of reserve energy to fend off any dogs that attempted to take a bite out of my food. The accompanying chips acted as makeshift popcorn as I watched the wild antics of the unleashed dogs, with a solid crispness and light saltiness that acted as good textural balance to the sandwich.The iced coffee itself was a refreshing wake up, as if pouring a bucket of cold water on my face. The flavor was sharp but still easy to drink; it was never too overpowering.
If you buy anything on the menu, you’re allowed to sit in the back garden among the dogs. Each dogs belonged to another patron of the cafe, which meant that within every 45 minutes, some dogs would leave and new dogs would enter — a constant rotation of pettable goodness. (This is the type of thing that can turn a person religious.)
The interior — or should I say in-terrier — of the cafe fits in with of Little Five Points’ aesthetic with its edgy decor, adorned with wooden embellishments and chalkboards as menus. The crowd on the Saturday afternoon was rather limited, so there was plenty of space to make myself comfortable. The prices are very reasonable: Don’t expect to spend more than about $9 including the tip.
Other than the occasional dog walker that graces our campus, the average Emory dog lover may feel distressed over the dog drought that is college life. Luckily, man’s best friend can easily be found nearby at ParkGrounds, with a side of good food and coffee to boot. As long as you recalibrate your expectations of productivity when in this cafe, you will definitely leave with a paw-sitive experience.