Sunday, January 20, 2013


I’ve never been very good at keeping New Year’s resolutions. After several years of failed promises to myself (Blog more! Go to the gym every other day! Drink fewer piña coladas!) I just stopped making them. Because I love piña coladas more than keeping a resolution.

We’ve been meaning to try Burnell’s, which took over the old Mayberry space on Vine street, for quite a while. When thinking of sandwiches for an upcoming post on Serious Eats’ “Sandwich a Day Column” we contribute to, we’d always think of the challah Cuban, then it would slip our minds. This year, we resolved to accomplish what we didn’t in 2012--go to Burnell’s for lunch. That’s a resolution I can keep! And let me tell you, we won’t be forgetting about our lunch anytime soon.

We arrived around 1 PM. Nathan Jolley, the chef and owner, was busy both cooking and taking care of the dining room.

We chose, of course, the challah Cuban, as well as an appetizer of hummus and toasted cheesy flatbread. I also ordered the grits, which were tomato that day, and David ordered the B.E.A.T (Bacon, Egg, Arugula and Tomato) sandwich.

Challah is an excellent (if not traditional) choice for the cuban, and I really liked it. Roasted pork, ham, cheese and “monkey mustard”-- made with Whole Grain Country Dijon, Honey, Bananas, Pineapple and Banana Peppers -- and of course, pickles, all worked together to make one damn good sandwich. It was so good, in fact, that it’s unseated my long favorite Cuban sandwich from the Cricket lounge, put on the menu by Jose Salazar, who recently left the Palace to go head up the kitchen at Abigail Street in OTR.

Sorry Jose, you just got served.

And the grits! Creamy, with great tomato flavor, probably some of the best I’ve had.

David had skipped breakfast that morning, so very large, filling B.E.A.T was a perfect choice.

The hummus (below) was very good, with an excellent creamy texture and a strong garlic punch, and we really enjoyed the warm, cheesy flatbreads.

Burnell’s serves some special microbrewed sodas from Fountainhead, so David tried the regular and I got the diet version. I liked it--it was very dry and tasted a little like a cross between cola and a rootbeer.

We also got some shortbread cookies, which were hot right out of the oven. They were sesame olive oil, which was a nice twist. Definitely don’t skip the cookies.

That location seems to get overlooked a lot, which makes it a tough spot to have a restaurant. The restaurant was pretty quiet for lunch, and though business has picked up, Nathan hopes that it will continue to improve. They recently got a nice write up in Cincinnati magazine, which is great. I know that we’ll be back!

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