Lunch Out @ Lucky John Slow Market

Lucky John Slow Market opened in Walnut Hills within the past year or so, and serves a lunch/early dinner menu along with its offerings as a local market with everything from produce to household items.  We went in on a quiet Thursday for a late lunch recently, and found the food to be quite good.  With minimal foot traffic in their area, it will be interesting to see how LJSM does, and how well they are embraced by the surrounding neighbors.  Their commitment to local, sustainable food is definitely to be applauded!

The Food:  Even though I was a vegetarian for a few years, when I see a menu that is all veggie, I do get a bit worried.  I've been to enough places in town with a vegetarian where the options are super weak, that I'm a bit gun shy I suppose.  But, with the "haute vegetarian movement" on the rise, where vegetables are being discussed as the next pork belly, it's about time there are more solid options in town.  And from what we can tell, these are indeed those solid options.

I ordered the BLT with "bacon," which the server described as being one of the most flavorful dishes on the menu.  It had fresh heirloom tomatoes that were great, as well as a garlic mayo and black pepper jam that gave it some interesting kick.  In fact, I would have liked more of those condiments.  The fake bacon wasn't an offense to the real thing, and while it was a bit tough, it did add a nice texture of crispness to go with the soft oat nut bread.  I wouldn't rave about it, but this is a nice lunch option, especially for a vegetarian.

Sarah chose the chick pea and spinach wrap, which came with paneer, roasted peppers, and seasonal herbs inside.  This was the big winner of our lunch - it was very flavorful, full of fresh ingredients, and was filling without being heavy.  Also, I'd never had paneer (a cheese probably most famously a part of saag paneer at your local Indian restaurant) used in that way, and thought it was done quite well.

Lunches come with side options as well, and we chose the kale.  It was lightly dressed with a vinaigrette and the vegetable was bright green and extremely fresh.  We got a bit burnt out on greens from our CSA last year, so it was refreshing to have them be so tasty.  There were also a handful of green grapes on each of our plates.

The Ingredients:  Many of the ingredients are sourced locally, and are available for purchase in the store that the cafe sits in.  The menu doesn't explicitly state where everything is from, but they seemed to happy to answer any of our questions.  We were glad to see another local option for buying local produce and other sustainable products.

The Story, Setting, & Service:  As I mentioned above, we went on a Thursday at about 1pm, and Walnut Hills was very quiet at that time.  There was one other pair of diners at LJSM when we were there, and they were in a lively conversation with the chef/owner's son.  I was on the lookout for the owner's son, because one of LJSM's vendors' (Trades Point Creamery) sales folks I've exchanged some emails with had been talking up both the place and the idea behind it, and in the process had mentioned that the owner's son was likely soon coming back from New York City, where he went after going to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.

The interior of LJSM is simple and eclectic at the same time, and with just a couple of booths, it is cozy as well.  The service was very nice, and while we'd heard concerns that they lived up to their name a bit too much and that food was very slow to arrive, we didn't have that problem.

The Last Bite:  Lucky John Slow Market is worth a stop, especially if local food is a priority for you, and even more so if you are a vegetarian or love vegetarian food.  We'll likely return to LJSM, but it's hard to imagine it being a frequent stop because its not super convenient for us Northsiders.  The spinach and chickpea wrap is great go to ordering option, one we happily endorse.

Lucky John's Slow Market on Urbanspoon

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