Short Order 

Credo's Park Avenue stands up to recession, and more praise for Positive Vibe Cafe.


Road to Avenue

It's tough enough fronting a band, but moving from that to running a restaurant is a real sign of masochism. Neither venture is daunting to Mitchel Creasy, though, a guitar-playing singer and formerly traveling rocker who toured for years with the band Wedgee and watched his father do the same as a jazz musician.

These days, Creasy surrounds himself with instruments mounted on walls, and he's the guy behind the bar instead of on the stage. His new venture, Credo's Park Avenue CafAc, is open where Table 9 used to be, and Creasy is reaching out to the struggling artist in everyone with his price-conscious menu and easygoing attitude.

He's serving Credo's green-egg-and-ham sandwich with a side of apples for $4.95, pancakes and hot dogs for $2.95, and $2 PBRs and sangria. House-made soups, paninis, quiches and the Park Avenue Belgian waffle with banana and apple give some comfort-food flair to the tiny spot, which seats 28 and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily from 8 a.m.

Creasy may adjust the hours once he's gauged demand, but he seems optimistic: “I've always dreamed of opening a cafAc where you can sit with a beer and a sandwich, and come in a couple-three times a week because you can afford to.”

He'll book acoustic music acts, small ones, on the weekends for the front-window stage. Maybe he'll tell them about the years he spent opening for Hootie and Third Eye Blind before finding a place to settle in Richmond. 2001 Park Ave. 658-4379.

Dear Short Order,

From the outside, Max's Positive Vibe CafAc looks like a typical lunch spot. In a strip mall off Forest Hill Avenue, it has an unassuming exterior that opens into a vibrant dining area complete with mod style luncheon counter and, for the spy in you, seating in a vault. (It expanded into a former bank.)

I recently had the pleasure of dining at Positive Vibe. It had a great selection of hearty, yet healthy staples and splashier fare. (I went with the avocado salsa, crab cakes and Italian wedding cake. Mmm.) The staff was friendly, knowledgeable and attentive. The host happened to be in a wheelchair. The bus girl — quiet, tentative, full of smiles — happened to walk with a limp.

Many people view Positive Vibe as a training facility for mentally and physically disabled people that happens to be a restaurant. But it struck me as a restaurant that happens to be a training facility. And quite a good restaurant at that. Dining at Positive Vibe is more than a meal. There's a magic there. It's a good restaurant that does good. And being there just makes you feel good.

Max's Positive Vibe CafAc just celebrated its fourth anniversary. Here's to many more! — Julie Fiedler, NYC


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