Lunch in the Deep End of the Pool

Cafe Alcazar has fifteen tables and a piano, situated what used to be the deep end of the indoor swimming pool of the Alcazar Hotel, Henry Flagler’s lavish “entertainment” hotel in St. Augustine. St. Augustine claims that the pool was the largest indoor pool in the country.  I have no way to evaluate that statement except to note that St. Augustine has a lot of “biggests,” and “firsts.”

By the way, there is no water in the pool.

For a cafe in the once-biggest swimming pool, it has a small but varied menu. My server told me they use fresh, locally sourced ingredients to the extent they can, and to be sure things are fresh and inventory moves, the use certain ingredients in more that one dish. I had a hummus sandwich, for instance; I could have had a hummus and pita appetizer, or a hummus salad. The sandwich is basically a salad between two slices of nine grain bread. That does not begin to do their fresh-made hummus, the juicy tomatoes and the crisp cucumbers justice.

The pool may or may not have been the biggest but it was certainly opulent. The bathrooms are still set up like the old changing rooms, with penny-tiles on the floor. The coquina stairs out of the pool lead the second floor of what is now the Lightner Museum, and they have left part of the turkish baths intact for historical interest.

By local standards, lunch at the cafe is a bit pricey… by my tourist standards no big deal.

Pictures will follow, I hope.


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