Square Rootz Deli, the latest eatery to open in Fountain Square, has been serving lunch and dinner for a few months, which means it's ripe for reviewing! Located directly across Prospect St. from the Fountain Square Theatre Building in the space formerly occupied by Pulse Magazine, the deli is easy to find. Just look for the yellow sign sandwiched between Maria's Pizza and The Hero House. See what I did there? "Sandwiched"? Because it's a sandwich shop? Yeah, moving on....
Stepping inside Square Rootz will probably make you feel like you've been invited to a backyard tiki party at one of your cooler friends' houses. The tables are covered with mismatched plastic tablecloths featuring flamingos and mai tais, and the ceiling is draped with strings of clear party bulbs. The walls are painted with retro-style diamonds, overlapping in a variety of bright colors, and vintage vinyl albums are for sale along one wall. The overall feel of the deli is vibrant and funky. Plus there's local art on display. What could be better than that?
But I'm not here (just) for the decor. What about the food, baby? If you were a fan of either of the previous restaurants with which owner Jeff Reuter was involved (Joe Reuzar’s Deli and J.S. Reutz Cafe), you'll see some similarities at Square Rootz - and that' a good thing. The deli serves a wide variety of sandwiches (with names like "Uncle Larry" and "Grahamwich") all made from high quality ingredients and served with your choice of a side dish or potato chips. You can create your own sandwiches any way you want them, too, of course. There are also hot lunches/dinners on order plus house-made desserts. And, of course, Jeff's famous meatloaf is always available. If you're waxing nostalgic for grade school, you can even get a "school meal" served on a lunchroom tray with white or chocolate milk.
I've been to Square Rootz twice for lunch now. The first time, I ordered "Dustin's BLT" wrap, which was stuffed to the gills with thick strips of bacon, fresh tomatoes, and crisp lettuce, and then held together by spinach dip. It was delicious. On my most recent trip, I couldn't resist ordering the "What a Friend We Have in Cheeses" sandwich (mozzarella cheese, provolone cheese, apple slices, and honey mustard dressing grilled on whole wheat bread), mainly because of the name. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a good play on words. I was an English major! As for the sandwich, I'm not usually a fan of combining apples with cheese, but it really worked for me here. The apples were sliced nice and thin, which made them almost taste like another kind of (sweet) cheese. I'm also not a big dressing-on-sandwiches guy, but I was okay with the tangy honey mustard; still, next time I order the cheese and apple sandwich, I'll probably ask them to hold the dressing. The highlight of my second visit was the slice of house-made almond cake that I scarfed down in about 10 seconds flat. The cake was super-moist with just the right amount of icing. It went well with the bottle of Boylans Black Cherry Soda I ordered, too.
I'll definitely be heading back to Square Rootz to eat my way through the lunch menu. Jeff says that he will hosting evenings of live music as well, so I guess I'm going to have to stop in for dinner, too. He also hints that he may be bringing back the infamous "Nancy Drew" sandwich, the ingredients of which change on a daily basis. I always love a good mystery.