Hidden Gems: Sandwiches
Sandie or sando, hoagie or grinder…it doesn’t matter what you call your sandwiches, as long as they are delicious! (I personally call them sammies, but this is a never ending battle with my husband.)
There are so many hidden gems in northwest Connecticut, but I did my best to narrow it down to eight places in the eight towns to get the best sammies:
- Village Market – Goshen
I know what you’re thinking, she’s suggested a gas station deli? No, I’m not crazy. And no, I’m not kidding either. The sandwiches here are NO JOKE. Stop by early in the day and pick up a breakfast sandwich. They don’t mess around, every sandwich gets 2 eggs and they offer up some creative options like the “Big Papi” (2 fried eggs, roast beef, sauteed onions, provolone, and chipotle mayo) and my personal favorite, the “5K” (2 fried eggs, tomato, spinach and provolone). If you’re going to wait for lunch, you can get traditional stand-bys with a twist like “Mark’s Reuben”, the “Muddy Chicken”, or the “Louie Delugan”. The price is fair, the people are super nice, and the wait is short. If you decide to grab a table outside, you can even catch a glimpse of the mini horses and fun farm animals across the street. This isn’t your average gas station!
(My husband’s take on an Italian combo)
- Mountainside Cafe – Falls Village
Mountainside Cafe is not only perfectly picturesque looking both inside and out, it is also the epitome of farm-to-table. I love everything about this place, from the artisanal bottled sodas, to the seriously delicious coffee drinks. The decor is quaint and people are great. Soup specials are always tempting but the portions are hearty and so I always have to stop myself from ordering with my eyes instead of my stomach (one of my serious flaws). The “Cuban” has roast pork, ham, cheddar cheese, pickles, and preserved red onion on grilled ciabatta. My husband gets it every single time we go, and on the one occasion that he didn’t get it…he immediately regretted it. It’s perfectly cooked and unbelievably filling. Another favorite is the not so classic, “Grilled Cheese”, with candied bacon, pecans, Brie and fig jam. It’s like a portable cheese plate! Trust me when I say that you can’t go wrong visiting Mountainside. They are open for breakfast and lunch, plus brunch on Sunday.
- JAM Food Shop – Sharon
JAM is found in the back of Sharon Market, a small, local grocery store in Sharon. The food shop offers deli specials, salads, veggies, prepared foods, and made to order sandwiches. Everything has a bit of a healthy flair with pumped up flavor and serious originality. Walk up to the counter to place your order and you’ll find a blackboard on the wall with all of your options, plus specials, plus a case of prepared food, plus so much more. I’ve been a million times, and I still get overwhelmed by the options. The “Jam’s Original Tuna Salad” includes capers, carrots, red, onion, celery, and lemon and can be put on the bread of your choice. The “Salsalito” is a personal favorite, with Salsalito Turkey, Chipotle Gouda, avocado, spinach, roasted red peppers, onion, tomatoes, sprouts, and cilantro lime mayo. (My mouth is watering right now.) As you wait for your food to be prepared, you can stand underneath the JAM shop cartoon blackboard and get a laugh. Do yourself a favor, and walk away while waiting or you’ll find yourself ordering a little bit of everything else. I always get caught up in the Tofu Salad and store made baked goods, but I’ll save that for another day.
- Cornwall Country Market – Cornwall
The Country Market was first built in 1835 and now serves as a historical landmark for the town. James and Idella Shepard took over in 2013 and made it into the deli, bakery, grocery, and local watering hole that it is known as today! Boar’s Head deli items are sold regularly, plus homemade soups, rotisserie chicken, and some of the best baked goods in town are offered every single day. No matter what the day and no matter my craving, I always order the special of the day, as is, and I’ve never been disappointed! The “French Dip”, “Pulled Pork”, and the “Fire Cracker” with Cracked Pepper Turkey, Pepper Jack Cheese, avocado, lettuce and chipotle mayo are just a few of the sandwiches that I eagerly await to make it back on the chalkboard in front of the store. Specials are creative and always changing and include a soup of the day – all of which are updated daily on their Facebook page. I can never decide so I end up getting a side of macaroni salad, cup of soup, and a bag of chips and I leave with a million leftovers. Seating is outside on the porch or inside where you will be emerged in locally made and sourced products such as maple syrup, handspun wool, and acrylic paintings from artists just down the street.
- J.P. Gifford – Kent
Before I die, I want to be given a breakfast sammie from J.P. Gifford. Seriously. There was a time when I was eating breakfast there twice a week, every week. This market has an eclectic mix of grocery items sourced from near and far. Baked goods are made on site every day and give off the most amazing smells. The Chicken Apple Sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich is an experience. It’s made perfect every single time with gooey cheese, evenly cooked eggs, and local sausage on a hard roll. They don’t toast the roll unless you ask…which sealed the deal for me, as I consider myself a bit of a breakfast sammie snob and prefer my hard roll untouched. Every once in awhile, I’ll go for the Catsmo Smokehouse Smoked Salmon with caper cream cheese, avocado, sliced tomato, and sprouts on a toasted Everything Bagel. No matter what time I arrive, I always get a side of housemade french fries which is served up as a huge portion, lightly tossed with just the right amount of salt. Make sure you get there by noon before they cut off the breakfast menu!
- Blackberry River Baking Co. – Canaan
I’m going to try to only talk about sandwiches but between the mouth watering omelette specials, red flannel hash, and beautifully made pastries and cakes, I might have to deviate. Specials are updated weekly at the Blackberry River Baking Co. and include breakfast and lunch items, plus housemade soups. A Brooklyn native, co-owner, and head baker Audrey Leary teams up with Chef Johan to make sure that creative items are always offered like slow-braised oxtail tacos, Korean pancakes, and a moroccan chicken sandwich. But honestly, the house made English muffins, French macarons, and picture perfect pies are my favorite part! Everything that comes out of the kitchen is almost too pretty to eat…..almost.
(Tempting display of baked goods)
- The White Hart – Salisbury
The White Hart Inn is a historical landmark for the town of Salisbury and also home to the town green. The combination of the well groomed white exterior, and classic design of the fireplace lit interior makes you feel like you’ve completely escaped Connecticut. Entering the Tap Room is like walking back in time to a traditional tavern. Catch lunch between noon and 2:00 PM. The bar is always open or you can grab a table with cozy hidden booths around corners, free standing tables with high-back armchairs, and seating on the wrap around porch. Soup and sandwich specials change daily but the always popular classics include an open-faced smoked salmon and egg salad sandwich and the house made hamburger with cheddar. Fries and potato chips are hand cut and fried up daily. If you’re not going back to work, make sure to get a Bloody Mary with vodka from Berkshire Mountain Distillery right across the border in Massachusetts.
(Do tacos count as sandwiches?)
- Wood Creek Bar & Grill – Norfolk
Try your best to catch some nice weather when you visit Wood Creek, because the outdoor patio dining sits on Station Place and offers a great view of the interesting architecture that makes up the town of Norfolk. The lunch menu is classic and no-frill, plus it’s perfect for the family. Get a grilled chicken sandwich, burger, or the Turkey Rachel with a side of fries and enjoy the spring sun. If you’re having lunch with some friends and left the kids at home, ask for the Martini menu and give the super refreshing Cucumber Martini a try.