BILOXI -- Oh, the many possibilities you can have for lunch at Lunch.
Lunch has been open since May 21 in the Vieux Marche in Biloxi, at the corner of Vieux Marche and Reynoir Street, across from the Saenger Theater. Beyond the name, the concept is clever: Choose from one of four bases -- panini, wrap, pasta or salad -- add the protein of choice and your preferred enhancements, top it with a sauce or dressing, add a side and voila. Lunch.
I went on a very warm Friday and parked behind the Saenger, which has plenty of public parking. There's not a lot of inside seating (there are some outside tables and chairs in addition to the inside options), but the nature of Lunch leans more toward the downtown Biloxi business or office employee who wants something tasty and close by to take back to work.
Proteins to choose from are chicken salad, meatballs, shrimp, chicken, turkey and grilled eggplant (not truly a protein, but offered as the "main event" for vegetarians). Add-ons include cheese, lettuce, tomato, spinach, red onions, avocado, red bell peppers and bacon. For pasta sauces, there are marinara, Alfredo, pesto and rosa, and salads, paninis and wraps can get dressings such as cucumber, four-cheese vinaigrette, Gorgonzola and tomato vinaigrette.
Sides are pasta salad, potato salad, garden salad, soup or chips. Soups vary, including tomato basil, chicken artichoke and pesto potato.
See what I mean? This could be a mathematician's delight, but I'm no mathematician. I just know you could go to Lunch a lot and not have the same meal twice.
Everything is one price, $10, with $1 extra for your drink. If you want two proteins on your meal, add $2.
I got chicken salad on a spinach panini, with lettuce, avocado and tomato as my add-ons, and Gorgonzola dressing.
I went with the soup of the day, pesto potato, as my side. Your order is written on the paper bag in which it will be packed.
I was smitten with the soup container, better known as a to-go coffee cup and lid, but even better than that was the soup itself. Generous chunks of potatoes meant you couldn't sip it, but that was just fine.
It was a fine combination of pesto, potato and moderately creamy soup.
The wrap was generously sized, meaning the meal is just the right size for a man; most women likely will be able to handle half and the side, with the other half just right for dinner.
The chicken salad had a good ratio of shredded chicken and sun-dried tomatoes, their tangy, chewy sweetness pairing well with the creamy Gorgonzola sauce. I enjoyed the view of the Vieux Marche's blooming crape myrtles outside as I munched contentedly.
Chef Danie Rodriguez is the owner of Lunch.
"The concept is fresh food that's fast," she said. Lunch doesn't have a drive-through window, but there is a small pull-in drive between Reynoir and the side of the building where those who phone in orders can pick up their food and pay for it there, too.
All the sides, salads, sauces, soups and dressings are homemade as well as the pasta, which Chef Danie makes at her other restaurant, Capone's, just up Interstate 110 in D'Iberville. "Everything's fresh. We make everything," she said.
"The chicken salad is really popular, and so is putting the shrimp and eggplant together," she said.
Fresh fruit is offered as something sweet, although customers have urged Chef Danie to add brownies and cookies. She's working on that.