Downtown Boise has experienced an influx of artisan sandwich shops in recent times.
Tasso, Even Stevens and Bleubird come to mind when discussing sandwiches that go beyond the pale of typical deli conventions.
Of course, the owners of Bleubird closed up shop earlier this year to focus on their new venture, Petite 4, on Latah Street in Boise. But it didn’t take long for the Bluebird spot, an attractive corner location at 10th and Bannock streets, to get filled with another sandwich concept.
Lemon Tree Co., which uses the apt motto “sandwiches with a twist,” has garnered rave reviews since debuting there earlier this year.
Make no mistake, the brightly colored eatery is distinctly different than its predecessor. Sure, owners Jasson Parra and Mayra Ruiz serve inventive artisan sandwiches, but they are not trying to fill Bleubird’s shoes.
Parra, who has more than 20 years of restaurant experience, and his staff have come up with a menu of globally inspired sandwiches and salads that delight carnivores and the meatless crowd alike. He’s a friendly, knowledgeable guy who can be found working the counter on any given day.
It will come as no surprise that the décor boasts a clean white paint job accented with lemon-yellow touches. In terms of service, diners place their orders at the counter and the sandwiches get delivered in around five minutes — except during the lunch rush, when it sometimes takes a little longer.
Sandwiches (some served hot, others cold) are built on fresh Acme Bakeshop ciabatta and focaccia bread. Some might say the quality of the bread makes the sandwich, and that’s partly true. But what goes inside is a huge factor to the success as well. Lemon Tree keeps things interesting with freshly made aioli, fruity preserves and other house-produced sauces. You won’t find any Best Foods mayonnaise smeared on bread here.
All sandwiches come with a choice of kettle chips, savory oats or Mexican-style fruit salad (chopped melon dusted with pulverized chili pepper).
The PB & JJB ($9.25) is about as whimsical as a sandwich can get. Crusty focaccia encases a bizarre but likable combination of scratch-made peanut butter, crispy smoked bacon, bright cherry preserves and slices of roasted jalapeno. The interplay of bold flavors makes this sandwich a tasty choice for those looking for something out of the ordinary.
Carnivores should definitely try the Peruvian ($10), a hot and meaty sandwich built on chewy-good ciabatta. It’s loaded with applewood-smoked bacon, ham, marbled salami, fennel seed-forward Italian sausage, gooey Jack cheese, Fritos and pungent Peruvian sauce (made with jalapeno, garlic, cilantro and lime). Once again, it’s all about pronounced flavors between the bread at this place.
The Turkey Boursin ($9.75) is a pretty straightforward sandwich, built on ciabatta with shaved turkey breast, roasted garlic, cherry preserves, mixed greens, good olive oil and velvety boursin cheese spread that’s made by the kitchen staff.
Vegheads won’t starve to death at Lemon Tree, either. Meatless sandwiches can be ordered vegetarian of vegan. A solid pick is the Yam & Cheese sandwich ($9.25). Fluffy focaccia surrounds oven-blistered yams and crimson beets, creamy goat cheese, red onion confit and salad greens — lubed with tangy blood-orange vinaigrette. Vegans can get the sandwich with nondairy cheese.
Besides sandwiches, the small menu also lists creamy tomato-basil soup and various entrée-size salads, not to mention a lineup of freshly squeezed lemonades. For those who would like something stronger, Lemon Tree offers craft brews, ciders and wines, served in cans and bottles.
Lemon Tree Co.
Address: 224 N. 10th St., Boise
Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday.
Menu price range: soups and salads $6-$9.25; sandwiches $9-$10.
Opened: March 2018