Smile Politely

The Clybourne, rebranded

In May, the Clybourne (check out the excellently misspelled URL) reopened with promises of an improved décor, tasty coffees and yummy eats, in addition to the booze. Now, I never set foot in the old Clybourne, so I can’t really tell you how the new décor compares to the old, but the ambiance is nice. Following Firehaus’s lead of having the front of the restaurant open, Clybourne offers that indoor/outdoor feel that is great for those of us who need fresh air circulation after being cooped up in our offices all day, plus you get the added bonus of Sixth Street people-watching. For a quieter experience, try sitting upstairs. The upstairs has a classier feel than most campus bars. The walls are painted a dark, blotchy maroon color, complimented by wrought iron trim around the booths. Seems like a nice place to be a tipsy undergrad on a Friday night. Ah, I remember those days…

But enough of my waxing nostalgic and interior design-ic! Let’s talk about the food, in particular the vegetarian options, because as you know, that is all I really care about. On my first trip to Clybourne, I ordered the hummus appetizer to share with my friend. The hummus was light and deliciously garlicky. The pita chips that were served with the hummus weren’t too great – I would have just preferred warm pita, and the chips were covered in green herbs that got stuck in my teeth. Luckily, the hummus was also served with celery and cucumbers.

Next I ordered the Goat Cheese and Marinara pizza (left). The pizzas are small — the perfect size for a meal following an appetizer shared with a friend. I really enjoyed my pizza. It was light and the marinara was subtly sweet. My friend got a Buffalo Shrimp Pizza. Yes, fried shrimp on a pizza. It sounds scary, but he liked it. You have the option to build your own pizza, and Clybourne offers many of the same gourmet pizza toppings you might find at Jupiter’s.

The next time I returned to Clybourne I tried the Grilled Veggie Elite sandwich (right). This truly was an elite veggie sandwich. The yellow squash, red peppers, zucchini, and portabella mushrooms, cooked to perfection, were housed in warm ciabatta bread. The sandwich was topped with a mild sun-dried tomato puree and sprinkled with goat cheese. I am sure this would make an excellent vegan sandwich without the goat cheese (and check to make sure the puree is vegan). I ordered my sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries — yum! My friend tried the Illini Margherita Pizza (right). Sadly, I had never met a margherita pizza that I did not like, until now. We couldn’t decide if it was the cheese or the tomato slices that made the pizza watery, but the pizza was watery. Ick.

Clybourne probably offers more veggie options than the average campus bar/restaurant. I’m interested in trying their black and tan onion rings, and spinach artichoke dip. Also, they have a variety of hot breakfast sandwiches that they offer until 9 p.m. Prices are very reasonable.

My bottom line: Clybourne isn’t amazing, but it does have a decent selection for us veggies. It’s not overpriced, and the service is decent. And for they offer 99 cent bagels in the morning with FREE cream cheese. That’s pretty exciting.

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