Brown baggin’ it just got cool: new sandwich shop opens on Church
By Meri Perra
The pork belly sandwich with house-made chips (Image: Meri Perra)
Brown bagging it means something entirely different at the corner of Church and Granby these days. Brown Bag Sandwiches, a new sandwich joint by Matt Lai and Peter Lee, (both from, among other places, Pure Spirits Oyster House and Grill) opened up two weeks ago in the old Sandwiched spot.
It seems that brown bags are just what people in the neighbourhood needed. The place is already hopping, with Ryerson students, local construction workers and just about everyone else coming in for a brown bag lunch.
Popular choices are the fried chicken sandwich ($7.50) and sides such as house-made potato chips ($3 for a small), with just the right amount of crisp and salt.
Lai and Lee make everything, except the bread and the pickles, in house. That means the meats are smoked and cured in house, and, just like those deliciously salty chips, the French fries (sweet potato and Yukon) are hand-cut. And don’t look for any Heinz or French’s. Lai and Lee make their condiments in-house too. Just don’t ask for the secrets behind the mustard.
“It’s magic,” Lai says. “We make it in a cauldron with a broom.”
Co-owner Matt Lai
The meat is a less mysterious process.
The brisket sandwich ($7.50) is hot smoked for 12 hours, and comes with coleslaw and chipotle sauce. The pork belly sandwich ($7.50) is cured for two days, braised and sliced, and then seared to order. It comes with charred tomato salsa, and is tender and flavourful. The roast beef sandwich ($7.50) comes from sirloin tip; it’s roasted, sliced thin and finished on the griddle.
House-made pickles could become a staple by next summer, when the cucumbers come.
“We missed the season,” Lee says.
Buns, which are a choice of fresh-baked whole wheat Kaiser, white Kaiser, soft bun and egg bun are from the Toronto Bread Company. Meat comes from The Butcher Shoppe.
The décor, Lee says, is as simple as possible. But check out the retro jukebox and glass pop bottles. Lee swears that pop never tastes as good as it does in a bottle, but drinks are the one other thing the guys don’t make themselves. Yet.
Brown Bag Sandwiches, 377 Church St., 416-640-1324