On Sunday, October 9, 2016, my daughter and I had lunch at the Bright Box Bistro at 15 North Loudoun Street, on Winchester’s Old Town Mall. Hours are Wednesday-Sunday, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. The phone number is (540) 707-0609. Dine-in and carryout services are available. For the menu, go to www.brightboxwinchester.com/menus.
The building has two entrances; take the one on your right for the Bistro. The entry area has a door to a corridor leading back to the dining area. The room has a dark ceiling; seating is at six round tables with blue fabric tablecloths and modernistic chairs.
On the front wall are posters of bygone musical acts. The right wall has glass shelves displaying small vintage plastic case radios and TV sets, and an old rotary dial telephone handset, with space for more items. There is background music, but I didn’t see any TV screens.
The back right-hand corner has a counter for placing your order with the attendant. The trendy menu is on a large blackboard overhead, and there is also a paper version. A psychedelic poster of a band decorates the back wall, and a beverage dispenser is here too.
The paper menu is a single yellow sheet; the front includes Soup of the Day, Paninis & Sandwiches (6), which are served with a choice of Sides (4). You can pair half a Sandwich/Panini/Burger with a cup of soup for $8. The menu’s flip side lists Salads or Wraps(5), some with quinoa or kale; also Drinks, and the only Dessert, Chocolate Peanut Butter Cheesecake.
My daughter and I each ordered the half sandwich and soup deal. The Pork Sandwich was Smoked Pork Shoulder and Pickled Red Cabbage topped with Chimichurri Sauce and served on half of a Cuban Roll. My daughter also had Route 11 Chips as a side. The Soup of the Day was Butternut Squash.
The sandwich was disappointing; it was mostly bread because of the thick Cuban Roll, and didn’t have much pork. The South American Chimichurri Sauce wasn’t too spicy for me, but it was for my daughter. The soup was served barely warm, especially disappointing because the weather had turned cold.
In addition, it was definitely cool in the dining area, and we kept our outer wraps on during the meal. I don’t drink coffee or tea, and would have ordered hot chocolate if it had been on the menu. The Bright Box Bistro may be appreciated by the trendy set, but we won’t be back.
The Bright Box Bistro opened on September 8 for lunch. It is an adjunct to the Bright Box Theater that has been operating for some time in the rear of the building and claims to be one of the Top 50 small music venues in America. In addition to music shows, it also features comedy programs. The monthly program schedule is at www.brightboxwinchester.com.
When my wife and I moved to Winchester in July 1982, the Bright Box's location was Leggett’s Department Store, which had the city’s only escalator. Leggett’s soon moved into Apple Blossom Mall, which was opening in late 1982, and eventually was taken over by Belk in 1996.