Discerning Diner: Square Bean offers more than coffee in Carlisle | The Sentinel – Local scene


Tammie Gitt for Sentinel

Back in “Before Times” – before things like masks, social distancing and lockdowns – there was a running joke that came up when I was scheduling appointments or meetings for interviews.

Real office or downtown office?

The “downtown office” was Square Bean Carlisle, located at 25 W. High St.

Most days I would grab a cup of their brewed coffee from one of the carafes lined up against the wall and head to the table, ignoring the variety of add-ins ranging from sugar and honey to creamers and half and half to head to one of the comfy tables for two towards the back wall.

On a few occasions when the interview involved a few people, we were allowed to use the back room which could easily be used for larger private meetings or gatherings, but I would occasionally be distracted by one of the artworks. local art on the walls.

I had seen their menus on the board every time, of course, but I had never really wanted or needed anything to eat. It’s a cafe so the menus are pretty basic as you would expect. Coffee is their thing, and it takes up two of the four menu boards.

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A few weeks ago I stopped in for a breakfast sandwich – bacon, egg and cheese on Italian panini bread. This was arguably the most basic of the breakfast menu options. There were two variations of a breakfast quesadilla, a few options using eggs including huevos rancheros and a breakfast wrap, among other options.

Those wanting a more continental breakfast can choose bagels, muffins or scones from the treats menu, which also includes cookies, brownies, crumb cake and affogato if you’re a dessert for the breakfast.

More recently I decided to stop for lunch. There are three basic categories on the lunch menu: wraps and paninis, quesadillas, and salads. Some offers are similar in each. For example, you can get a Buffalo Chicken Wrap, Panini, Quesadilla, or Salad. Most of the options are self-explanatory with descriptive names like the cran-turkey wrap or the simple veggie quesadilla. Others might need a bit of explanation from the barista, who was more than happy to describe menu items.

I opted for the chipotle chicken quesadilla with the accompanying salsa and sour cream and a Vermont Maple Nut Nitro Brew. After placing my order I sat down at a table which is actually on a stage outside the window so I could watch the activity on the High Street while I enjoyed my lunch.

Coffee came first. Nitro brew, for those unfamiliar, is cold brew coffee infused with nitrogen gas to give it a smooth, creamy texture. When served, it could easily be mistaken for a stout from a craft brewery. The added nitrogen makes the coffee perfect as is with a hint of sweetness and a light aroma of the Vermont Maple Nut coffee from which it was made.

I sipped the coffee and looked out the window for a short while before the quesadilla was served. The thin tortilla was grilled to perfection and filled with cheese, onions, bite-sized pieces of chicken, and a chipotle sauce that packed a slightly spicy punch without being overwhelming. I barely touched the sour cream and salsa as the quesadilla filling went all the way to the edges of the tortilla and it seemed a shame to cover the taste with the condiments.

The bottom line: don’t sleep in this cafe as an option for a quick quality lunch. The best part? Top it all off with a coffee to go to stave off the afternoon doldrums.


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