We went there last night by accident almost. We had intended to go to Graze, a long standing favorite, but with a 45 minute wait, we were too hungry to put off our own grazing. So, we wondered over to The Merchant and snagged a table outside- PERFECT. It was a good omen of things to come.
The menu is ideal- local ingredients, seasonal options, etc. Their website describes their cooking as regional American fare that is simple and comforting. I think it's super accurate. Here's why- between the two of us we ordered: watermelon and cucumber salad with ricotta, a grilled cheese and lavender honey sandwich, two bowls of creamy roasted corn soup, and a bbq beef brisket sandwich. I thought the grilled cheese was just a little on the simple side (though, it was only $8) but the honey really elevated it. Everything else was good (the roasted corn soup in particular) and washed it all down with a lovely glass of beaujolais.
Ok, it's on the pricey side, but it IS right off the square, surrounded by plenty of pricey. Hipsters will probably like it, but we think probably will most people. Plus, did you hear about all this confusion over whether or not Scott Walker was "kicked out" of this place? Lots of rumors- but we find them amusing. Solidarity Merchant!