Editor’s Note: Students who attended the Telling Room’s sixth annual Week in Review summer camp learned to sharpen their writing skills and critique art, music and food. For a final project, several students reviewed the Royale Lunch Bar. We especially liked 11-year-old Charlotte McDonald’s review, which we’ve reproduced in its entirety here. The Telling Room is a Portland-based nonprofit that encourages student writing and creativity. For more Telling Room work, see the student critique of an art show in this week’s Audience/Arts and Entertainment section.

Rounding the corner on this hot summer day, I see Royale Lunch Bar’s fancy sign and the restaurant tucked into the street. Upon entry, I was blasted with cool air and a whiff of seasoned bacon. The cool air felt relieving, but as a vegetarian I didn’t love the bacon smell.

Owner Joe Farr opened the restaurant four months ago on Union Street in Portland. They make everything from scratch except for the bread and soda, and all of the takeout containers are compostable. I ordered the tomato soup and grilled cheese with a mocha milkshake.

The first thing I tasted was the milkshake, which was a beautiful concoction of flavors. The ground-up coffee beans added a gritty but tasty texture. I loved this, but it seemed like more of a dessert than a typical drink.

The grilled cheese was simple, which is how I like my grilled cheeses. Although, if it were a touch crispier I would have appreciated it more. The soup was also simple and a little bland, but I enjoyed the taste of real tomatoes that they incorporated. Then, I discovered the luxury of dipping the sandwich into the soup. I have no regrets there.

I also got to try the mac and cheese special, and as soon as it touched my tongue, my taste buds threw a party! The creamy pasta with just enough cheesiness, felt surprisingly light, so it didn’t weigh me down.

I enjoyed the modern, but at the same time vintage, vibe of Royale, with the various plants around the room and the stone walls. The music, on the other hand, didn’t fit in with the atmosphere. They played heavy metal and rock, which wasn’t consistent with the homey feel.

Despite its few flaws, Royale Lunch Bar is one-of-a kind-and somewhere I’d definitely return.

Charlotte McDonald, 11, lives in Portland.


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