Being born and raised in the Warren area, I tend to have a certain affinity for the Courthouse Square. It’s a place that is quaint yet stately. That being said, Spade and I ventured to the Lime Tree Sandwich Gallery located in downtown Warren. We desire certain qualities in a local restaurant; a unique environment, distinctive menu, and support of the local art and music community. I believe the Lime Tree embodies all of these characteristics in a diverse way. From the moment you walk in, you can tell you’re not in any old mundane, run-of-the mill eatery. The first thing that stands out is the hand-crafted mural that spans the length of the dining room. I can’t help but love this avant-garde portrayal of Alice in Wonderland. It has a type of Tim Burton vibe and appeal to it (who I’m a huge fan of by the way.) In the background you hear a faint whisper of Sublime or other bands that, for me, are reminiscent of my youth. While all of this is aesthetically pleasing, it also successfully sets the stage for a food encounter that is sure to be like nothing you’ve experienced in Warren, Ohio before.As far as the menu goes, it seems very streamlined for the creative environment. As you can tell by the title of the restaurant, sandwiches dominate. They have a few tasty looking salads, a build-your-own-burger option, and a generous selection of milkshakes (I must say I am a little disappointed we didn’t try one though.) The Lime Tree also carries an assorted craft beer selection that is ever changing but sticks to a solid variety of lagers, IPA’s, ciders, etc. While they do have some staple items, the menu changes seasonally. The cilantro chicken sandwich and gyro are fan favorites along with the brussels sprouts which are said to have a cult following as well. Our endeavor of nourishment began with an off-menu item that Chef Travis generously offered to us. This off-menu option happened to be lobster enchiladas which were incredibly delightful and incredibly delicious.
They had a hearty seafood center of crab, lobster and scallops enveloped in a flaky tortilla crust and topped with a lobster bisque sauce as opposed to the traditional white sauce. Hand-shredded sharp cheddar and diced tomatoes adorned this Mexican twist. We were already off to a good start. Having been to the Lime Tree on previous occasions, I had to order my favorite, go-to menu item. I absolutely adore the meatloaf sandwich. Now this is not your momma’s meatloaf. This meatloaf is crafted with pork, bison and veal and then stuffed with short ribs and wrapped in bacon. The sandwich is dressed with sautéed mushrooms, onions, swiss cheese, and a homemade spicy mustard all capped with a toasted brioche bun. The mixture of meats creates a delectable texture while the mushrooms and onions furthermore compliment the sultry, savory flavor of this show-stopper sandwich. However, the highlighted flavor for me was the spicy mustard with whole mustard seeds within which gave it a slightly pickled flavor. My counterpart ordered the kimchi grilled cheese which she of course added the Korean pulled pork to. This robust creation included caramelized apples and pears with an aged cheddar to top it off (and kimchi, of course.) Spade was a little weary of the choice of multigrain bread on a grilled cheese but it served to be a great pairing. It was everything you’d want in a savory, sweet selection. The array of flavors and texture made for an exciting and delicious bite each time. As a side she opted for the sweet potato fries. They had a well-rounded crisp to them that you don’t usually encounter with sweet potato fries due to the higher sugar content. I believe this is due to the waffle cut which allows a spacious area for the hot oil to crisp the fry. These particular fries were paired with cranberry ketchup. This was a unique innovation but in our opinion, slightly mis-executed. Having a jelly-like consistency, the ketchup was a little too sweet and overpowering for us. We decided to mix it with regular ketchup to mellow out the sweetness a little bit. That said, I can’t say enough how truly delicious and perfectly crisp these sweet potato fries were—a must try on your visit!
Overall the food and presentation was excellent with hearty, healthy portions. Something else noteworthy of the Lime Tree is the art adorning the walls by local artisans. Currently they are featuring New Jersey native Greg Zukowski. While I don’t claim to be an art expert, I thoroughly enjoyed Greg’s use of various materials and finishes on found objects which gave a very industrial vibe. No matter what your preference of art is, Spade and I find it encouraging that the space is used to showcase local artists.
The Lime Tree seems to buzz with numerous other events. As you can tell from some of my other writings, I am a huge fan of live music. The owners of the Lime Tree share my sentiments. The top choices from what we are told are, in no particular order, Black Wolf Thief, Swapmeet, and Lava Brothers. All the bands featured seem to have differing genres and vibes so whatever you are looking for you are bound to find it here. Other events are more of a savory selection. Upcoming they have a special brunch scheduled for this Saturday (Jan. 14th) and a Valentine’s Day small plate event on February 11th. These food events allow Chef Travis to show off his culinary creativity while encouraging patrons to step outside of the box. I implore all of you reading this to check out the restaurant’s website at limetreesandwich.com so you can study over the menu for yourself. Don’t stop there though, also check out their Instagram page which left me drooling and like their Facebook page so you can stay up to date on all of the upcoming events.All in all, the Lime Tree Sandwich Gallery is an optimal, sensory overload in all respects. From the extreme friendliness and passion of owners Chef Travis and Kristin, both this place and the food have some seriously awesome charisma. They endeavor to create culinary uniqueness while helping to create a sense of community. This is a hidden gem that we highly recommend. Trust us, you won’t be disappointed!