La Bou is a place that I had written off in recent years. My experience was constantly that of dirty, disorganized cafes with tables and chairs in various states of disrepair. The food was always good but when Panera came along I just never felt the need to go back. Today I return, going to the location on Olson Drive. I headed in at about 11AM behind another customer and we were the only ones there for a while.
The staff was all lined up behind the counter waiting for action. I had no clue what the options were as I haven’t been here in so long, so I hung back and studied the menu for a while. Eventually the cashier asked me if I was ready to order so I stepped up to the register. I asked if I could do a soup/salad combo, then proceded to order the Spinach Salad (fresh spinach, crumbled bacon, chopped eggs, cucumbers and tomato) and the Butternut Squash soup. The pair came to $8.25 and I added a small soda for $1.65 to finish the order.
The front area has a small amount of seating, but around the corner down a hallway is another good sized dining room with more. I sat in the front near the big windows, but only had to wait a few minutes. They put my salad together lightning quick and I heard my number called within a few minutes. I collected my tray from the counter and picked up some napkins and silverware before returning to my table. The salad looked fantastic. It was a big, lush pile of spinach topped with thick and crunchy-looking bacon pieces. There were only a couple thin slices of cucumber and just one slice of tomato, but that didn’t really bother me. I had a kind of awkwardly cling-wrapped baggy of croutons which went all over even though I tried to be careful unraveling them. They were super crunchy and I would guess they make them in-house since they also make bread. The dressing was dill-based which was cool, creamy and delicious. If I hadn’t taken time going back and forth between the salad and soup then I would have inhaled this salad without taking much time to breathe between bites. It was really, really good. The soup was very nice as well, and came with a couple pieces of soft bread which was nice to dip in it. It was hot, creamy and had rich butternut flavor to it.
As for my previous issues with La Bou, this dispelled those. The place felt clean and everything in order (perhaps because they had no customers when I arrived) and the staff was very nice. This visit may have me reconsidering my soft ban on La Bou.