Chicken Portabello Caprese Tower

Only at Central Park Family Restaurant you’ll get to enjoy an authentic “New York Diner” experience with down-home pricing and comfort, while surrounded by happy chatter and laughter from a satisfied crowd of loyal, local customers.

Conveniently located on S.R. 54 between Old C.R. 54 and Rowan Rd., family owned and operated by the Michael family, Central Park Family Restaurant has been proudly serving delicious New York City style cooking to New Port Richey residents and visitors for nearly 12 years! In that time, it has managed to gain an outstanding reputation for great tasting, freshly prepared food at affordable prices. They’ve also managed to acquire quite a following of regulars, mainly because the consistency and quality of the food is second to none. But is the personal touch of the owners and staff, what truly keeps them coming back for more.

“I have been coming to Central Park Family Restaurant about two or three times a week for the past 8 years,” says regular Sam, AKA “Butch,” whom I had the pleasure of meeting during my first visit to Central Park.

Butch was a joy to chat with; he knew the owners, the staff, almost how everything in the menu tasted and the entire history behind the place. “I honestly love the food here, the quality is undeniable and the selection is pretty incredible! I can try something new every time I come in and never get bored. The staff is always kind and friendly and they always treat every customer like family,” says Butch. “If I don’t come in for 4 or 5 days, Chris Michael, the owner of Central Park himself, calls me to check up on me and make sure I am doing ok. That is how incredible this place is.” Butch’s continuous support and patronage managed to get a Breakfast Sandwich on the menu named after him: “The Jersey Butch,” made with Taylor Pork Roll, Eggs and Cheese. “Make sure you try it sometime, and let me know what you think!” Butch smiled before continuing to passionately talk about Central Park. “I truly cannot say enough good things about Chris, his brother Charlie or the entire Michael family,” Butch added. “They are all extraordinary people serving extraordinary food, and I am happy to support them.”

Butch is more than just a regular; at Central Park he is family. But don’t worry; you don’t have to be Butch to be treated like a member of the Family! Every customer at Central Park is greeted with a smile and treated with the utmost respect by the staff and the various members of the Michael family, who work and run the day-to-day operations at the cozy family restaurant. You’ll often see Chris, his brother Charlie or their father Andy, checking on tables, saying hello to diners, and making sure everyone is enjoying their meals.

“Great food and service. You cannot ask for a better place to go for a dining experience!” says Ron S. about his recent experience at Central Park Family Restaurant. “These folks truly aim to please a customer from start to finish. They personally check up on you throughout your entire meal to ensure everything is exactly the way you wanted it. You leave feeling like someone really cared how your meal was.”

At Central Park Family Restaurant, there is a sign that reads; “May all who enter as guests leave as friends.” This is the motto for the restaurant that really inspires owner Chris Michael on a daily basis. Chris says, “Over the years we’ve acquired customers that have walked in as a first time customer and they’ve become part of our lives, just like Butch has.” Chris added, “We couldn’t be more thankful for the continuous support we’ve received throughout the years and we hope to be able to serve the entire community for another 12 years.”

The Michael family has been in the restaurant business for over 40 years! And they have no intention of slowing down. “We’re going to be opening a new restaurant on state road 54, right in front of the Ballantrae subdivision within the next month or so,” says Chris. “It will be called ‘Fish Bowl Kitchen,’ and it will be more of an Asian-Fusion style of restaurant. We will be serving fresh seafood dishes, poke bowls and acai bowls.”

Pronounced “POH-Keh” bowls, consist of chunks of raw, marinated fish –usually tuna or salmon—that is then tossed over rice and topped with fresh veggies, seaweed, sesame seeds and umami sauces. They are basically the new generation of sushi, but instead of rolls, its served on bowls.

“We are currently allowing our clientele to sample some of the poke bowls here at Central Park family restaurant, so they get a taste of what’s coming soon to the area,” says Chris. “We’re hoping to receive the same kind of support that we’ve received here at Central Park Family Restaurant, so stay tuned!” These poke bowls are not currently listed on their menu, but make sure to ask the staff or Chris himself about them so you get to try them before everyone else does!

Altogether, the Central Park Family Restaurant menu offers costumers 10 pages of magnificent options to choose from, including all day breakfast items, mouth-watering entrees, specialty salads, skyscraper club sandwiches, half-pound Black Angus beef burgers, hot open-faced sandwiches, and so much more! The menu definitely has something for everyone; Chris likes to call it “American-Fusion” and there are literally so many affordable and delicious daily specials that he had to install a large flat-screen TV to continually scroll down all the options.

There are northern favorites such as scrapple (a traditional mush of pork combined with cornmeal and wheat flour with spices) and grilled sandwiches such as the Central Park Deluxe, made with fresh layers of pastrami and corned beef piled high on grilled, authentic N.Y. Jewish rye, swiss cheese, spicy mustard and grilled onions.

Down-home southern favorites include delicious fried chicken and the newly added fried green tomatoes, which are a unique Mediterranean and southern fusion. Greek Dinner specialties include a traditional Gyro platter, chicken souvlaki, spanakopita and the Pork Chops Athena amongst others. If you love mouthwatering, gourmet burgers, then you must try “The Skyscraper,” weighing in at over two pounds, it is made with three half-pound Black Angus patties cooked to juicy perfection and topped with bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato and onion – wow!

If you’re like me and love breakfast food, you can enjoy fluffy, delectable pancakes, savory french toast, yummy waffles, breakfast sandwiches and omelets at any time of the day. There are actually over 60 types of omelets featured on the menu! Featuring a section called “omelets from around the world,” that include options such as the “Royal Hawaiian Omelet” made with pineapple, ham and cream cheese, and the “New Yorker Omelet” prepared with corned beef, pastrami, onions and swiss cheese. With so many dishes to choose from, you are going to have to come as often as Butch does, to make sure you don’t miss out on any of their delicious creations.

Honestly, you’ve got to check out all that this place has to offer for yourself. I promise you will not regret it. The hardest part of your day may just be deciding which menu item to try.

During my visit, I could not make up my mind and told Chris to surprise me. He brought out one of the most recent customer favorite dishes; the “Portabello Chicken Caprese Tower,” juicy, tender, lightly breaded and perfectly seasoned chicken breasts were topped with a gigantic, perfectly grilled portabello mushroom cap, and finished off with a caprese tower of fresh mozzarella cheese and tomatoes with fresh basil and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Make sure you leave room for dessert! Central Park’s pies are from J. J. Gandy, including the key lime pie that made J. J. Gandy’s locally famous. And Chris says you’ve got to try their cheesecakes!

Central Park Family Restaurant is located at 7657 SR 54 in New Port Richey in the plaza near Dunkin Donuts and Wendy’s.  They are open daily from 6:30 a.m. with last seating at 8 p.m.  For information about Central Park Family Restaurant, including catering, call (727) 376-7402; log on to www.centralparkfamilyrestaurant.com, or like them on Facebook.