Breakfast in Disneyland: Central Point Perk awakens the senses
If Gustavo Pardo were a coffee drink, he would be a glass of iced espresso with a twisty straw. Tall, roguish and unashamedly energetic, the owner/chef of Central Point Perk has fashioned what he calls an “Adult Disneyland” in the sleepy little town just north of Medford.
No, not that kind of “adult.” Central Point Perk is absolutely family friendly. Pardo is referring to the grown-up bistro menu of featuring fresh, local ingredients, coffee sourced with pride from Caffe Pacori in Eugene, and the objects of curiosity placed strategically throughout the establishment.
A testament to the strength of Pardo’s brew: He converted the 120-year-old building—Central Point’s second-oldest house—from a simple office to a bakery, coffee shop and cafe space in the span of 30 days. He filled it with handmade tables that he put together himself from reclaimed wood, locally milled of course. Domestic and industrial castoffs—antique windows, a child’s bicycle, old pipe that became a lamp—adorn the walls and tables alongside the work of local artists.
On spring days, Central Point Perk’s patio is a wonderful place to enjoy the sight and sounds of rain with none of the wetness. For those who prefer couches, there’s a perfect nook in the back room. Finally, a cozy attic offers even more places to tuck away with coffee and a snack.
A visit to Pardo’s establishment, however, is best enjoyed by ordering a full meal. Pardo likes to brag that he can do more in his little kitchen than lesser chefs do in full-scale industrial setups. He’s probably right.
This food writer ordered the Chef-Inspired Frittata ($10) with a side of sausage, and an Americano (just one shot, thanks). The food arrived steaming and perfectly plated, the towering frittata taking center stage with a crown of mild pico de gallo, avocado and a scoop of fresh pesto. Herbed yukon potato cubes formed a bed with the generous sausage patties, just greasy enough. Fresh strawberries and succulent orange slices balanced the color and hit that final food group on the nose.
The pesto was on point and another plate of those yukon golds could have been easily consumed in the same sitting. Nevertheless, the portion size was perfect, and knowing that Pardo sources everything locally that he can, the dish was a good value.
How about that Americano? My cup was delivered brimming; apparently people in Central Point don’t bother with cream. Three quarters of the drink provided enough buzz to hand-saw one of those reclaimed wood slabs and build a miniature log cabin. Or maybe it was just Pardo’s infectious energy as he flitted about, offering notes on the daytime patrons of the bar across the street, chattering with customers in Spanish, and telling stories of his first year in business.
The rest of the menu offers few break-out dishes, but Pardo has definitely shown that he can make favorites like an egg-and-sausage scramble, flatbreads and paninis shine. Most breakfast or lunch items are $10 or less, and gluten free options are available. Lemon Poppy Cake French Toast could be a winner; afternoon snack-eaters might check out the Perk Plate with a selection of hummus, things to dip into hummus, cheese, and fresh fruit.
Heading to Table Rocks for a wildflower hike before the summer heat hits? Definitely check out Central Point Perk for that Disneyland effect, fuel up for your day, and grab a baked good for the road. Just remember to ask for room for cream if you need it.
Central Point Perk
7 am – 3 pm, Tuesday through Sunday
Corner of E Pain and N First Street, Central Point