819 Vine St.
Across Vine Street from the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, LeBoxx Café is a safe bet for a quick lunch during the work week. The restaurant fills up fast, so arrive early or be prepared to wait during the noontime rush.
LeBoxx serves up quick, no fuss meals: burgers, wraps and salads, with the odd taco and pizza selection thrown in for variety. The food isn't anything special, but I don't think anyone expects it to be. It's basic food service fare (think GFS or Sysco) served quickly by friendly staff at prices that won't break the bank.
There isn't much for the vegetarian diner - options are limited to a choice of salad, a cheese pizza or the ever-present veggie burger, which is what I opted for.
It was nice as far as veggie burgers go - whole black beans, corn kernels, and red bell pepper were visible inside the patty, which was topped with cheese and sauteed onion. Red onion, leaf lettuce and tomato arrive on the side, along with packets of mustard and mayo. The crispy-coated fries I opted for as a side instead of potato chips were a cut above the norm with nice crunch and flavor.
I thought the only thing that let the meal down was the coleslaw, which had a slightly fishy taste that put me off. At an extra $1.75, I wish I hadn't bothered.
Steve is particular about the plating of food - specifically he doesn't want his food served in a basket, which he finds insulting and puerile. Lucky for him LeBoxx served his BBQ Chicken Wrap on a regular plate. He thought the wrap was ok but didn't care for the BBQ sauce that came with it, saying it was too thick and overpowering, but since it's served on the side it's easy enough to adjust to your own taste.
The one area where LeBoxx could use some improvement is their check-out. Diners pay at the counter after the meal, and queues regularly stretch deep into the dining room. It's difficult to tell who is waiting for a table, and who is waiting to pay and leave. Adding to the confusion, there are only two cash registers, one of which seems to be purely for take-out orders. Be sure to factor in an additional 10-15 minutes for this if you visit during the height of the lunch rush.