No doubt John Montagu — Great Britain’s fourth Earl of Sandwich commonly considered the inventor of one of America’s favorite fast foods — would be proud of his legacy as interpreted by South Whitehall Township’s Old School Sandwich Co.
This eat-in/take-out eatery, which opened mid-November, takes Montagu’s idea of stuffing meat between two slices of bread and turns it into a movable feast. Here, though, there’s not only meat between bread slices, but also cheese and a smorgasbord of vegetables and other toppings.
Old School Sandwich Company has taken up residence in the Tilghman Square spot formerly home to Relish. Large tins of canned tomatoes and baked beans in the storefront windows signal that the food has taken a more casual direction. Flat screen TVs fill two corners and rock album covers decorate a wall.
Sandwiches, of course, are the focus. There’s the option to build your own by choosing from meats roasted in-house, cheeses and breads, then “walking through the garden” to add vegetable toppings such as roasted tomatoes, black olives or cucumbers. A number of condiments and seasonings can also be added.
But why expend mental energy making all those choices when the list of about a dozen specialty sandwiches offers combinations such as “Steuben” (corned beef, Swiss, kraut, slaw and spicy brown mustard on rye) and “Super Cooper” (grilled cheese with Cooper American cheese on sourdough)?
Of the sandwiches sampled, “Big bird” ($8.75) was a favorite. This overstuffed double-decker beauty featured turkey with grilled sausage and cranberry on toasted sourdough — all the flavors of Thanksgiving dinner in portable form. The counterpoint sweet, tart cranberry sauce was so good, I was sorry there wasn’t more of it.
“Big Daddy” ($8) was another two-hander, for sure. One of the most popular selections, according to the cashier, this sandwich had so much going on — meatloaf, macaroni and cheese, barbecue sauce, and caramelized onion on toasted sourdough — I sensed an identity crisis.
With fried salami and fresh mozzarella (made onsite), the “salami bomber” ($6.50) — with added caramelized onion and garlic aioli — on a toasted Portuguese roll was a winner.
Jersey salt potatoes ($2.25) featured small Yukon golds fried crispy and touched with sea salt — a flavorful alternative to French fries. A side of macaroni and cheese (“crack mac,” $2.50) was an addictive study in gooey carbohydrates, and the bourbon beans ($2) with serious pieces of bacon screamed flavor.
With creamy, light peanut butter frosting, a big, beautiful black chocolate cupcake ($3), homemade, was a simple, sweet joy.
For a food fix fast, when homemade fare trumps the prescribed mass production of chain eateries, Old School Sandwich Company fills the bill.
A take-out dinner for one, sandwich, side and cupcake, totaled $14.58, including tax.
OLD SCHOOL SANDWICH COMPANY
4686 Broadway (Tilghman Square Shopping Center), South Whitehall Township
Hours: 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; closed Sunday
Prices: Sandwiches: $4-$8.75; salads and sides: $1.50-$7
Credit cards: Major cards accepted.
Bar: No alcoholic beverages permitted
Accessibility: Premises and restrooms wheelchair accessible.
Location: Last storefront on the northwest end of suburban Tilghman Square strip mall across service road from Wendy’s; free parking in lot.