Lunchtime With Tillie: Square Root Cafe

Hello once again, neighborhood. It's Van and his constant dining companion Tillie with another tale of our dining escapades. This time, we decided (Well, I guess, I technically decided seeing as how she’s 9 months old and all!) to go to Square Root Café on the corner or Myrtle and Classon. It’s close by the house, and since I’ve been home with Tillie, we’ve become semi-regulars there. The staff’s always nice to us, and it’s also where I like to go for some “Van Time.” Don’t worry, Tillie is with her mom then; I’m not leaving her to fend for herself!

It was on one those recent VT furloughs when I saw a mom and her kid sitting at the corner table by the couches. The kid was pulling himself up holding onto the table, and I thought to myself, “That’s Tillie’s favorite pastime! I’ll bring her here, she’ll pull herself up and ‘cruise’ around the table, I’ll eat my lunch and we’ll have a good story to tell. Now enough of that: Back to Van Time!”


So one day this week as I was thinking of a place to go, I figured our old stomping grounds would be a good place to go. I loaded up some pureed squash and a bottle for Tillie and off we went. Actually, we weren’t that speedy getting out of the house because here’s a little revelatory fact about me: I’m officially the worst person in the world when it comes to getting out of the house and going somewhere. Back in my working days, I’d have to give myself at least an hour and a half to leave. And that’s with my clothes ironed and a lunch packed from the night before! I don’t know what it is: I missed many a bus back in middle school from walking out the door late.

Anyway, I mention that because by the time we finally made it out it was almost time for Tillie’s second nap. Good thing we were hitting Square Root; anyplace else would’ve been disastrous.

When we got there, people were already sitting in the spot I staked out in my mind for us. No worries, though, we found a seat fine enough. The owner of the place greeted Tillie with enthusiasm, and I was given a menu and a bottle of water. The menu’s pretty full of some appetizing choices and I was about to do a coin toss between a burger or a sandwich, but the burger won out before it got to that point! And what’s a burger without bacon and cheddar, I always ask myself, so I went that route.

The people that were sitting on the couches left soon after we got there, but I already had us set up at this table. I wanted to entertain Tillie somehow, and I remembered that there was a box of toys right next to the phone booth there. (You’d think I would’ve gone for the toys first before counting on her standing up close to a table, but the conventional route rarely seems to work for the Tillster!)

I hope this doesn’t get me pilloried by any parent unions, but I set Tillie on the floor of the place by the toys and gave her a couple of the trains to play with. I know floors are made for walking, but I watched her carefully and washed her hands. Promise!


This actually kept her entertained for a while! I say it kind of shockingly because there’s a whole stack of toys at home that she loses interest in after two minutes or less. She was rolling those train cars around like a conductor born!

My food soon arrived, a big, juicy bacon cheeseburger, cooked exactly how I wanted it, and potato chips. I put Tillie in a high chair and proceeded to feed both of us. I’m telling you, being in this dad game, you really start to pull off some things you never think you’d be able to: like feeding yourself and a baby nearly simultaneously! We washed down our food with a coke and a bottle, and then packed it up. I paid the pretty inexpensive bill of eight bucks, fought off the urge to grab a cookie or two (or three for $1.75!) and we left until next time.

When Tillie and I got home, I read her that book “Freight Train,” which looking back on her time with the trains at Square Root must have helped spark some recognition with the toys, and that was kind of neat to see. All in all, I’d say the lunch trip was a success and maybe I shouldn’t rule out her enjoyment of toys. Standing up holding on to tables can be fun, but there’s nothing like rolling a train around!