Carnival Cafe offers midway treats year-round

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com Mitul “Matt” Purohit stands inside Carnival Cafe on Tuesday in the Shawnee Park Shopping Center. The new restaurant specializes in carnival food.

Now that the Thanksgiving feast is over, it's time to get back to your normal eating habits.

And that includes treats.

The Carnival Cafe in Shawnee Park Plaza, 1741 Scherm Road, isn't exactly normal eating for most people.

It's more like a visit to a carnival midway, filled with all the best of the carnival treats.

Mitul "Matt" Purohit opened the restaurant Sunday in the former location of Cecilia's Pizza.

Purohit, who's lived in Owensboro for 13 years, said he worked a concession booth selling lemonade and ice tea at Owensboro's International Bar-B-Q Festival and noticed how much people like carnival food -- funnel cakes, deep fried Twinkies, Philly cheese steaks and the like.

So, he decided to open a restaurant that specializes in carnival food.

"I've been working on it for about six months," he said.

The walls are covered with circus posters and the decor is all multi-colored stripes like a circus tent.

The shopping center is in a residential area, meaning that a lot of houses are within walking distance, and there's plenty of parking.

Purohit also has a drive-through window and GrubHub will deliver orders for those who don't want to get out, he said.

His menu is primarily snacks, but meals include hot dogs, chili cheese dogs, Italian sausage, Polish sausage, Philly cheese steaks, fish, chicken tenders, fish sandwiches, hamburgers and cheeseburgers.

Snacks include blooming onions, fried pickle chips, fries, chili cheese fries, nacho cheese, pork rinds, soft pretzels, Cheetos-and-cheese and boneless wings.

The dessert menu includes fried Oreos, fried Ding Dongs and churros.

Purohit offers more soft serve ice cream and float flavors than just about any place.

He said he has nine flavors, but they can be combined to make more than 60 combos.

The Carnival Cafe also has 16 types of fountain drinks, five cappuccino flavors and Jolly Rancher slushies.

"I was thinking about adding those big fried turkey legs this week," Purohit said. "But I got started too late."

He's expecting funnel cakes to be a favorite with his customers.

Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, klawrence@messenger-inquirer.com

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