Four months after closing his first restaurant, the Republic of Sandwich, Thomas Gardner has resurrected his business in the form of Capitol Sandwich food truck.
“This neighborhood we were in was really supportive of the old sandwich shop and I hated leaving it because I got to know a lot of people around here,” Gardner said. “I would even get personal messages from my old customers asking when we were going to bring our food back.”
The idea of running a sandwich shop was born out of Gardner’s lifelong fascination with preparing meat.
“A natural outlet for that is to either open a butcher shop or a sandwich shop,” Gardner said. “I figured Austin was lacking in good sandwiches.”
Gardner said although Austin‘s sandwich scene doesn’t seem to be on par yet with other cities in that regard, especially East Coast cities.
Capitol Sandwich takes the time to hand cure and smoke all of its meat in house, unlike other shops around town. Gardner also makes it a point of giving customers enough meat in their sandwiches to put their hunger to rest.
“I want to give people a quality product at a good price and also make sure people leave very full after eating their sandwich,” Gardner said. “A lot of these places that bill themselves as artisan or craft sandwiches, you pay a high price for it and you get your sandwich and there just isn’t that much meat in it, which isn’t fair to the customers.”
Capitol of Sandwich more than meets its two goals of providing quality sandwiches that will have people walking away with a big ole’ gut. The sandwiches are generously stuffed with copious amounts of meats, cheeses and veggies. Each ingredient listed on the menu shines clearly on its respective sandwich.
One of the most commonly ordered sandwiches, the Big Bad Wolf, combines a formidable trio of pulled pork, bacon and ham with some melted provolone and a satisfyingly creamy topping of coleslaw. It’s like a barbecue sandwich on steroids.
While this sandwich will undoubtedly be too heavy for some patrons, the quality of the meat is still worth praising. The smoked ham in particular goes far beyond the basic saltiness of country ham with a delicious mixture of sugar, spices and herbs crusting its outer ring. It’s a daunting sandwich, but meat lovers will be exceptionally satisfied by its execution.
A good foil to the heaviness of the Big Bad Wolf is the Jive Turkey — a cold sandwich option with turkey, pesto, cherry peppers, tomato and pepper jack cheese. While still stuffed with an abundance of its respective ingredients, it’s still a much lighter sandwich that won’t leave customers wheezing as they walk to their cars.
Being a light sandwich doesn’t detract from the amount of flavor it delivers, though. The pesto, cherry peppers and tomato come together to yield a wonderfully tangy taste with the perfect hint of spice to
satisfy a Texas palate.
Most of the sides offered at Capitol Sandwich are chips like at any other sandwich shop, but with one exception: kimchi sprouts. This side is a basic combination of sauteed brussel sprouts smothered in housemade kimchi, but the result of the mixture makes for a truly memorable side. With a substantial amount of chili flakes mixed in, the kimchi on this dish delivers an impressive amount of spice that blends perfectly well with the slight bitterness of the brussel sprouts. It’s definitely worth ordering over the chips.
Capitol of Sandwich does a great job of offering exciting takes on traditional sandwiches, and although the $9-$10 price range isn’t cheap, the quality of the ingredients is well worth the extra money.