A sinfully good sandwich shop has opened on Main Street, right next to Lake Effect Diner. The eatery is called Sandwich-Envy for a good reason. Owner Jon Marantz tells the tale right on his menu, for all to read. He says that he came across the definition of “Sandwich-envy” in an urban dictionary and was this inspired to open a sandwich shop selling the best sandwiches in the land. He wanted to create menu items that would make others envy the sandwiches served at his shop. And I think that he’s done it. Earlier today I ordered the grilled strip steak sandwich on a rustic Costanzo hoagie roll. I order the sandwich with the works – sautéed sweet and hot peppers, melted provolone cheese, mushrooms and onions.
I could see Jon cooking up the steak in the kitchen. A few minutes later he came out and delivered my meal. I was excited to see that the roll was toasted nicely – there should always be just a bit of char for taste. The strip steak was served thick and juicy, without a single bit of gristle or fat. It was perfectly pink in the middle and seasoned extremely well. This is not one of those steak-um type subs, rather this is something that you might expect to find at an upscale burger joint or pub. The sandwich was served with an A-1 type of sauce (on the side). I was extremely pleased with the culinary creation – the simplicity, the size, the way that it was cooked, and the overall care that went into the preparation The only thing that I would have preferred was a plate, over the environmentally unfriendly Styrofoam container that it was served in.
After I finished my meal, Jon came over and asked how everything was. It old him that I was super happy with everything, even though I didn’t mention my issue with the container. It turns out that Jon moved to Buffalo, from Toronto, 20 years ago for a job. Although he is now “retired”, he’s not just sitting back and relaxing. Talking to him, it was hard to tell what he loved more – his sandwiches or Buffalo. For not being from here, I found it cool that he bleeds Buffalo. The prints on the wall are all of Buffalo. He’s devoted to this city. “I could have gone anywhere after I left my job,” he told me. “I have dual citizenship, and zero family in Buffalo. I just love this city and wanted to stay.”
After a spell, Jon offered up a suggestion. “Why don’t you try the vanilla ice cream waffle sandwich?” he suggested. “Normally if two people come in and order a couple of sandwiches, I give them one to share for free. When I was young, living in Toronto, this dessert was very popular at a place that I frequented. I knew that I wanted to recreate this treat at this restaurant. I offer a choice of four dipping sauces – caramel, strawberry, chocolate and maple (for dunking). The most popular is the combo of strawberry and chocolate. The ice cream is cold enough to last a while without melting, even though it’s between two warm waffles – you eat it like a sandwich. The sauces are for dunking, so that it’s not so messy. The kids in the neighborhood love it – they keep coming back with their families.”
I still can’t believe that I wolfed down the ice cream waffle sandwich… it was a purely courteous endeavor. So much for my diet. But I could not resist something that sounded so unusual and delicious. Plus, I felt good about the entire meal, not only because it was so yummy, but because Jon’s passion for his food is so contagious. I can see why he thinks that his menu items are so envious.
Apparently Jon also serves up a mean house-made meatball sub with a side of marinara for dunking. Then there’s the house-made, slow cooked bacon-wrapped meatloaf (oh my!), with sautéed onions and a side of beef gravy for dunking (Joe likes to dunk). There’s also a grilled veggie sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich (American or Italian style), a breaded eggplant sub, breaded pork cutlet (American or Italian Style), house-made soup, garden salad and tater tots. It’s not an expansive menu, which is fine because there’s still plenty to choose from.
Sandwich-Envy is clean, inviting, and there is plenty of seating. There’s also a patio. I enjoyed sitting on a stool in the window and watching all of the University at Buffalo students walking around. There was plenty of activity, even though I still can’t believe that The City dropped the ball by putting in center road medians instead of bike lanes. Ugh. Fortunately a solid sandwich with a properly toasted bun, and a crazy ice cream concoction was enough for me to almost forget about such a massive City blunder. But that won’t stop me from coming back again (not by bike) to check try another one of Jon’s envious sandwiches sometime in the near future.