Lunch is back at Entwined Wine & Cocktail Bar (303 Main St.). Hearty soups, crisp salads, and savory sandwiches are returning the Downtown lunch crowd to the restaurant’s shaded patio for the first time since the height of COVID-19 pandemic.
On Sept. 2, 2021, Entwined announced its lunch service and hours would start again on Sept. 7 after social distancing restrictions, labor shortages, and lack of demand forced it to scale back business several months ago, managing partner Morgan Lemond says.
“A lot of those workers Downtown, especially the professionals, were not working in the office,” he says. “Now, we’re in a place where we’ve been able to hire on some phenomenal team members, and we’re back open for lunch. It’s an amazing thing.”
About a week since its comeback began, Entwined’s lunch has gained an increasing crowd of the Downtown workforce each day, including the Evansville Living staff. We made the short trek up Main Street from our offices on Riverside Drive last Friday, snagging the last available high-top patio table.
Fellow Staff Writer Riley Guerzini, Managing Editor Jodi Keen, Senior Graphic Designer Casey Scarbrough, and I scanned the menu hungrily, on a mission to each try a unique dish. The offerings were diverse, enough to satisfy our distinctly individual palates without overwhelming us with choices.
“We tried to keep (the menu) high quality and simple,” says Lemond. “We created the lunch menu in a way that people in businesses around Main Street would be able to get in and leave quickly if they are on a timed lunch break.”
I selected the Hot Ham & Cheese Panini ($13) with a cup of the Roasted Red Pepper soup ($4), while Guerzini opted for Lemond’s personal favorite, the Kickin’ Chicken sandwich ($12). Scarbrough ordered the Cuban Smash ($11), and Keen ventured off the beaten sandwich path for us with the Truffled Mushroom flatbread ($15).
As we handed in our menus, our drinks arrived. Lunch is not complete without a perfectly paired wine, beer, or specialty cocktail, from which Entwined has an abundance of quality choices to choose.
“I asked for a glass of house merlot on a whim, thinking it might compliment the flatbread, but it tasted so oaky and smooth that it nearly stole the flatbread’s thunder,” says Keen. “And this was just a house red!”
“The Jim Dandy might be my new favorite cocktail,” adds Scarbrough. “It had a subtle sweetness that really complimented the bourbon. A nice day sitting outside with a great drink is an experience that’s hard to beat, and I’m looking forward to doing it again soon.”
The wait for our food was short and sweet with Entwined’s patio providing the perfect view of Main Street’s bustle but separated by its short, attractive fence. The space was complimented by the refreshing breeze traveling up the road from the Ohio River and the dull murmur from nearby tables. It was a small, but exhilarating sense of pre-COVID dining — and then the main attraction arrived.
“I don’t usually care for mushrooms, but I was feeling adventurous,” says Keen. “I was served the perfect blend of parmesan, mozzarella, and Pecorino Truffle cheeses. It was every bit as savory as I’d hoped, and more.”
My hot ham and cheese was a mouthwatering take on the classic sandwich. Prosciutto, triple cream brie, lettuce, sliced apples, and honey were stacked together on a fresh baguette and served with chips. Each bite was a savory blend of its flavorful contents. The delicately sweet and salty balance of the prosciutto was only enhanced by the syrupy honey and satisfying crunch of the apples.
The star of my meal, however, was the Roasted Red Pepper Soup. A thick, creamy concoction, the soup was appetizing in many forms — standing alone by the spoonful or soaking up the baguette after I dipped my sandwich into the bowl. Maybe next time, I’ll try it through a straw?
According to Lemond, other patrons have had similar dining epiphanies since lunch’s return.
“It’s only been a week, (and) the response has been great so far,” he says. “We’ve seen some repeat customers come in already for lunch, and also we’re getting those customers who’ve never been in Entwined at all. Please come check us out; I promise you won’t be disappointed. We have great food, great service, and some of the best team members you’ll find in Evansville.”
Entwined is open for lunch Monday-Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Lunch catering is also available upon request. Its dinner hours begin at 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and close at 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday.