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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Get ‘Served’

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Although I am not much of a dancer (my moves have been known to frighten the ladies and small children), I have heard that “getting served” on the dance floor is a bad thing. However, at Served Café and Bistro, 4638 E. 10th St., getting served is definitely a good thing.

Opening just five weeks ago next to the Emerson Theatre, this new sandwich place is already a hit with locals.

“Everybody likes it,” said owner Justin Cowan. “Everyone that comes, comes back. Sometimes they are here before I open. I’ve already got a nice group of regulars.”

The business idea has been a long time coming for Cowan, who also is the head chef. He has 15 years of cooking experience, working at various jobs as a short order cook to supplement his income as a construction worker. A couple of years ago, he decided to get serious with his passion for food. He enrolled at The Chef’s Academy in Indianapolis to polish his culinary talents, and upon graduation decided to cook full time.

The new restaurant highlights several forms of artistic expression. “There is always someone in here playing music or showcasing art,” explained Cowan.

The culinary arts are highlighted by the food, paintings adorn the walls and Cowan has brought in his own turntables to play some vinyl when he feels inclined. The name Served is inspired by the chef being a member of a breakdance group for the past 10 years, and he even offers a free sandwich special for anyone that performs a head spin.

There also is a special for those who, like myself, might end up in the hospital if they attempted a head spin. It consists of a sandwich, a drink and either fresh fried chips, a salad or soup for $6.

The menu at Served is simple, and many ingredients are grown by Cowan himself. There are four sandwich options – meat loaf, honey-cured pork loin, balsamic marinated portobello mushrooms and roast beef. All chips are made fresh, as he fries thin potato slices whenever they are ordered. There also are soups, salads and desserts. An intriguing option is the cinnamon basil crème brulee, which regular customers swear by.

I tried the meat loaf sandwich along with French onion soup and some chips. The sandwich came with caramelized onion, tomato sauce mayo and mixed greens on fresh bread and was very tasty. The bread, provided by nearby Mexican grocery La Oaxequena Panaderra, is the same type that you find on a Mexican torta sandwich and really stood out, and Cowan’s version of meatloaf was stellar. The chips were still hot when I ate them, which was a refreshing difference from most restaurants, where chips are simply grabbed out of a bag. The French Onion soup also was tasty, with enough cheese to be authentic but not so much that it was gross (I think some places really go overboard on the cheese for French onion soup).

Overall, I found Served to be an enjoyable experience, and with the price range being so reasonable, I’m sure you will, too.

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