For this dive we wandered into the old port town Gloucester City, NJ. The network of one way streets and a smattering of late night dive spots gives the area a real neighborhood feel, which doesn’t stop at the doors of Cap’s Café.
Cap’s Café is an old house-turned-dive on a mostly residential street. You get the neighborhood feel as soon as you enter what used to be a residential kitchen. If my intuition is correct, the old dining room serves the same purpose, the living room is the pool hall, and the first floor bedroom has been upgraded to the bar. Nobody can doubt the divey charm built into Cap’s foundation.
We heard great things about the roast pork, so we decided to try it out for a late weeknight dinner. The lingering happy hour crowd was giving way to the pool league, but everybody there was ripping Fireball shots and watching World News Tonight – a strange but respectable combination.
We took a seat at the bar, ordered a few brews, and asked for a food menu. The menu is very small (look at the picture, that’s the whole thing!), but it has all the bar food essentials. We ordered a roast pork sandwich and 10 wings to split, and then things took a turn towards the absurd…
There is a single men’s room attached to the master bedroom/bar. It’s a single-use facility that really takes space efficiency to the next level. There’s no way to sugarcoat it – the trough IS the sink. “This is impossible,” I thought. “I must be missing something…” But after a solid minute of bewilderment, I came to the harrowing conclusion that you are supposed to wash down your piss with the same water that just washed the grease off your hands. There is no separate porcelain basin for hand washing. At the end of the day, I wasn’t mad about it – in fact I was cracking up laughing. And of course I took a picture!
So after that experience, we finished our beers and watched Jeopardy while waiting for food – another diver really impressed us with her knowledge of Broadway shows. The kitchen was releasing some amazing aromas, so I looked over to discover that the bartender was also the cook. When she came back, she said “the wings are small today” so she made us 18 instead of 10! The wings did not disappoint – the perfect amount of sauce on lightly fried wings, not too spicy, and not too greasy. We definitely got our money’s worth.
The roast pork came out second – oh man did it live up to the hype. Served with jars of old horseradish and hot peppers, these sloppy babies on Kaiser may be one of the best damn roast porks around. I was pleasantly surprised by the overall food experience since we were the only ones eating and the kitchen appeared to be basically shut down when we got there. But in a show of true dive hospitality, our bartender/cook fired up the kitchen and took care of us.
We asked for the bill and I went over to the ATM – it’s cash only, and I saw it on the way in, so I figured I was in good shape. But that plan quickly crumbled. After entering my pin and asking for cash, I got a spinning hourglass icon for a solid 5 minutes. I didn’t know what the hell to do. I looked around for discarded receipts and saw a few rejected transactions from the day before… But I wasn’t even getting a rejection receipt. Just this fucking hourglass. I was wondering what I was going to have to leave as collateral as I went to Wawa for cash, when the bartender told me to “just unplug it and try again.” Ok – bartender/cook/ATM mechanic – a woman of many talents.
So I did as I was told, she put in some reset code, and after it connected to the 56K Internet (not even kidding – I heard the dial tone), it finally worked and I got my cash. Of course now I was wondering how much time I’d have to spend on the phone with the bank, but at least I could pay the bill.
It’s cheap and it’s deep! Cash only, good food, no frills. Plain and simple.
Daily $1 Lunch Specials (11 am – 2pm):
Monday – Roast Pork Sandwich
Tuesday – Sausage and Peppers
Wednesday – Hot Roast Beef Sandwich
Thursday – Meatball Sandwich
Friday – Pasta and Garlic Bread
Shot specials, drink specials, and other food specials seem to always be rotating in-and-out!