Located around the corner and down the stairs from Huntington Bank, this locally-owned café is a popular haunt for the bargain-hunting lunch crowd. Get there early or be prepared to wait for a table.
Due to its underground location, the restaurant lacks natural light and can seem a little dark, but the quick service and bustling atmosphere brighten the bunker-like surroundings.
The Red Squirrel is famous for their triple-decker sandwiches, which come piled high with ham and roast beef and a choice of cheese, egg or turkey. Their double-deckers are also meat-based, so I steered clear.
There are a few veggie options available – there’s egg salad, which can be made as a sandwich (my girlfriend says their egg salad is one of the best in the city because they make it “without a lot of unnecessary ingredients like pickle relish”), two different cold cheese sandwiches topped with mayo, lettuce and tomato, a grilled cheese sandwich, and a small tossed salad. The Red Squirrel has 12 different salads, but only the egg salad and the tossed salad are vegetarian, with the latter being the sole vegan offering. On the plus side, they offer Newman’s Own dressings, which is a nice change from the standard Marzetti dressings one usually finds.
While the vegetarian offerings aren’t exactly inspiring, the prices at Red Squirrel are noteworthy. Most vegetarian sandwiches are $3.95 and come with a good-sized plate of potato chips and a pickle spear. The egg salad sandwich platter and the egg salad plate run slightly more but still clock in at under a fiver, and the tossed salad is under three bucks. Not bad.
Unlike the downtown location, which is only open for lunch, the Red Squirrel’s suburban locations in Sharonville, Tri-County, Fairfield and Colerain are open for breakfast and dinner, and kids eat free with each paying adult. The suburban dinner menu lists one additional vegetarian item: a veggie burger.