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Restaurant Review: Stack’d

Miriam Bowers Abbott Miriam Bowers Abbott Restaurant Review: Stack’dPhotos by Walker Evans.
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There is a world of opportunity inside Stack’d. The spot looks like a standard quick-service downtown joint, but it might as well be a super-cafeteria when it comes to menu options. Name any build your own spot, and Stack’d can build more: sandwiches, lettuce wraps, pasta, pizza, salad and chips from a variety of cultural influences. It can build everything, all of it. Well, practically all of it. What else would you expect from the team who introduced SuperChefs? Super, over-the-top, extreme: that’s the house specialty.

Like any DIY joint, you pick a foundation, you pick a meat, you pick toppings. The freedom is enough to bring on an existential crisis. Or like me, you clutch a little house menu and you pick from the house-designed options there. You can always tweak the ingredients in those house-options, too. In fact, the counter team encourages you to do so.

In the sandwich department, you make the normal selection of bread, meat, cheese, sauce, and condiments (veggies). The house-designed Hamburger has a solid, old-fashioned appeal. It’s built on a firm, mildly sweet brioche bun that holds not one, but two average-sized patties, held in place with slightly melted cheese (we went with smoked gouda, but you can do everything from American to goat cheese). In the vegetable department, we opted for pickles and onions. It’s a decent combo, all-in-all.

Pepperoni Pizza ($6.99) is a classic way to test any joint’s pizza skills, and it’s another house option. The kitchen starts with a flatbread (like naan or a pita), then it ladles on a sweet marina, seasoning sprinkles, cheese, an edge-to-edge shield of thin pepperoni slices, and more seasoning sprinkles on top. There’s a surprising level of love that goes into the making of that pizza, and it turns out to be a winner. Sweet sauce, goopy cheese, and savory pepperoni are reliable like that.

Branching out into some less ubiquitous options, Cajun Shrimp ($9.99) is on the menu too. It’s a pasta dish, with a luxe supply of the house Cajun Alfredo Sauce. The seasoning gives the sauce a rosy hue and a nice brine, but it’s hard to detect anything particularly Cajun in the flavor. Lots of firm shrimp hide out in the folds of pasta with red and green peppers, onions and parmesan.

The only disappointment in the order was a chips option called the Load’d Stack’d ($8.99). It’s an excellent, truly likable idea. Thick cut slices of potatoes are coated in something akin to Lay’s BBQ Chips powder. Then then they’re topped with gorgeous slices of brisket (with a flavor reminiscent of bacon), cheese, onions, sour cream and jalapeños. Sounds awesome, right? It’s just that the potato wedges are really, really thick and potatoey. There’s a super-serious potato presence there, and it takes over everything else.

To go with all this food, there are fountain drinks, or an entirely different counter that makes house smoothies. Again, there are lots of choices: bases that range from whole milk to coconut water, greens, fruits, and “boosters” that include flax seed and protein. The Strawberry Cheesecake ($6.50) house blend is built on a blend of almond milk and enhanced with strawberries, bananas, cream cheese, and ice cream. Sprinkled with graham cracker crumbs, what’s not to like?

You can stack your own stuff at 88 E. Broad St. Downtown on weekdays from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.

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