Restaurant Review: REDBAR Espresso & Market

REDBAR Espresso & Market serves favorites with a healthy twist.

Owner of REDBAR, Dr. Michael Bucknell in his restaurant
Dr. Michael Bucknell. Photos by Elizabeth Gelineau

Organic. Grass-finished. Non-GMO. For Dr. Michael Bucknell, these are a few signals of healthy food. They are also the principles that act as the backbone of his restaurant, REDBAR Espresso & Market. “REDBAR stands for ‘Responsible, Experience, Deliberate,’” he says. “As a chiropractic and wellness doctor, I see how lifestyle choices affect people’s lives and longevity. We build on that for an exceptional experience.” 

The REDBAR of today is not the same as it was 11 years ago. Founded in 2012 as a humble, health-focused coffee shop in a Tanner Williams Road strip mall, the business and menu expanded over the years to something much more. Last year, REDBAR moved to a stand-alone building on Old Shell Road. 

The menu is expansive, boasting all-day breakfast (including the fan-favorite stuffed French toast) to build-your-own smash burgers. In the evenings, they offer tantalizing cocktails, and a rotating selection of wine, beer and seltzers at the bar. Quality ingredients give the fare a clean-eating edge. Everything is organic whenever possible. The meat is grass-finished and antibiotic and hormone-free. They only use organic coconut oil. The water (yes, even the ice) is filtered. “We feel a deep responsibility to our customers and community to source and cook with the best-quality ingredients instead of cutting corners for profits,” says Bucknell. For an added twist, REDBAR serves a weekend pop-up menu on Friday nights and all day on Saturdays. They also host the monthly WeMo Market, featuring local vendors and activities. 

REDBAR’s new space was designed with health and sustainability in mind. Tabletops and the bar are made of repurposed materials. Lights operate on a Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) system, adjusting throughout the day to customers’ circadian rhythm. Tableware is recyclable. Outside, digitally controlled sprinklers conserve water. “Many things were done to make it likely the greenest building in our area,” says Bucknell. 

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A drive-thru, which only serves coffee, allows for convenience, but Bucknell ultimately encourages customers to stay a while. Outside, ping-pong tables, a fire pit and red chairs invite patrons to socialize as they enjoy a good meal, day or night. The vibe continues inside with ample tables and chairs, red couches in the corner and plenty of stools at the bar. “Our primary audience is groups and families looking for a great restaurant with a fun environment, and who aren’t looking to be rushed in and out,” he says.

On the Menu

Smoked Old Fashioned, Stuffed French Toast and Smash Burger

Smash Burger
A grass-finished beef patty sits atop a sourdough bun filled with grilled onions, Dubliner cheese, shredded lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise and ketchup make a giant, hard-to-beat burger.

Stuffed French Toast
Sourdough French toast is stuffed with cream cheese and topped with organic sauteed blueberries. A drizzle of homemade maple-butterscotch syrup adds a delicate sweetness.
You’ll place a second order before you know it. 

Philly Cheesesteak 
This pop-up menu item tastes right out of Philly. Grilled steak, peppers and onions mix with melted provolone cheese on a bun that you might not be able to put down.

Smoked Old Fashioned
This cocktail is equal parts classic and impressive. Four Roses small-batch bourbon mixes with rye, molasses, Regan’s bitters and orange peel. The cocktail is then expertly smoked for an ultramodern take on an old favorite.

REDBAR Espresso & Market 7681 Old Shell Road • 285-2300 • Sun – Thu 7 a.m. – 7 p.m., Fri – Sat 8 a.m. – 11 p.m.

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