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Have it stacked

It's the only way to eat your favorite sandwich



YOUR WAY:  Caitlin Radtke (left), Ozzy McLaughlin, Lisa Evans, Brad Evans, Jacqueline Mercurio, Kristen Chanaiwa, Stephanie Muir make mouth-watering sandwiches. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • YOUR WAY: Caitlin Radtke (left), Ozzy McLaughlin, Lisa Evans, Brad Evans, Jacqueline Mercurio, Kristen Chanaiwa, Stephanie Muir make mouth-watering sandwiches.
I have never been a fan of pastrami; blame it on my West Coast attitude, I’m a California native. But I changed my mind once I tried the excellent hot pastrami sandwich, the Fugetaboutit, served at Stacked Sandwiches in Grover Beach. It turned my head away from my hot roast beef, the Philly Wonka with green peppers and onions, not that it was bad. The sandwiches are all made with Boar’s Head meats here, and I like the quality of this brand. Thank goodness, my mate Dan is willing to share food with me. Once I tasted his Fugetaboutit I was begging for more.

In fact, that was my second excellent experience at Stacked; two out of two. The first time I stopped in to order food to go, but stopped in my tracks upon seeing the large sign with multiple choices on the back wall. It set me back, but owner Brad Evan had such a welcoming attitude and willingness to provide details about the menu, he made me feel right at home. He had no idea who I was but he was quite friendly and helpful when he noticed I was a newcomer.

While I pondered the possibilities for satisfying my appetite, Evans mentioned that “Lisa’s stack,” named for his wife, was their best selling sandwich—I had to try it. Then I ordered the “Treehugger,” a vegetarian sandwich stacked high with avocado, sprouts, cucumber, provolone, havarti, and cream cheese. I asked for both sandwiches on whole wheat rolls, which are made exclusively by Edna’s Bakery in SLO, but asked them to hold the pepperoncini. Both specialty sandwiches were delicious, but I understood why Lisa’s stack is favored by regular customers. Piled high with turkey, bacon, avocado, and havarti cheese, the combination is delightful. Cold or hot sandwiches are available in four-inch ($5.50), six-inch ($6.50), eight-inch ($8.50), and ten-inch ($11.50) sizes. And the gluten intolerant can get their choice wrapped in romaine lettuce, instead of bread. 

On the third visit, I introduced myself to Evans. He shares my passion for good food and adult beverages, so we hit it off. “Locals call this place a ‘hole-in-the-wall,’” he said candidly. “I like the fact they’re calling us that. Sometimes a hole-in-the-wall is where you find the best food.” I couldn’t agree more. That’s why I have to laugh when people tell me they won’t go to a restaurant because it’s in a strip mall, or they don’t like the ambiance. As far as I’m concerned, atmosphere falls far behind the three most important aspects: the food, the beverages, and the service.

- FIND IT HERE:  Stacked Sandwiches - 191 S. Oak Park - Grover Beach, 489-9866 - -
  • FIND IT HERE: Stacked Sandwiches
    191 S. Oak Park
    Grover Beach, 489-9866
Evans shared my sentiments: “Stacked is a sandwich shop, but we try to be more than just a shop. We want to be an experience, meaning: You will have a quality meal, but we also want you to feel welcomed,” Evans declared. “I can’t emphasize this enough. We strive to not label people as customers as this is so impersonal. We treat everyone as people, and many of them we now call friends. I feel some people in the service industry have forgotten the power of a smile. A smile can break down barriers, ease tensions, and make people feel welcomed.” As it was for me, my first visit.

Originally from Tulare, California, the Evans moved to the coast 15 years ago. “I wanted to live where I vacationed,” he quipped, “and I quickly acclimated here.” Both of them worked in the medical field, and Lisa is currently a nursing administrator running two medical centers, according to her husband. He noted that they do as much as possible to contribute to the community by donating and/or participating in local fundraisers.

Evans thinks of his sandwich shop as much more than a deli for a quick lunch. He created the “beer up” tasting on Fridays, from 5 to 7 p.m. to introduce their patrons to great beers not typically found in every other deli or restaurant around the county. These tastings only happen on a Friday and feature a brand, like the recent Sam Adams beer-up. For $15 you got a 6-inch sandwich, a Sam Adams baseball cap, two of their beers, a souvenir bottle opener, and their perfect pour glass. Not a bad deal for a Friday night dinner, and the sponsored breweries change each time. Evans describes it as: “Beer snobbery at its finest.” Part of the proceeds for each beer up supports Hospice of SLO.

Not only that, they feature live music on Fridays, from 5 to 7 p.m., and Sundays beginning at noon. Occasionally he brings in young local musicians to play on Saturday afternoons. I also like the fact they offer Laetitia and Talley wines by the half bottle: Talley Chardonnay ($12) and the Laetitia or Talley Pinot Noir ($14). On tap they have Firestone Walker and Sam Adams drafts. Besides the fresh baked breads, Edna’s Bakery also makes their bodacious brownies, cookies, and whoopee pies ($1.75 to $2.50).

The place is small but friendly with a five-seat counter at the window, four tables inside and six large round tables in front of the café. There’s plenty of parking in the big lot out front. If you’re going to become a regular, you’ll have to memorize Evan’s stackisms, like: “stack it” which means add a fountain drink and chips (sized regular $2.75, or large $3); “kick it up” adds sliced jalapenos to your sandwich; and “show me your stack” is like asking which sandwich are you eating.

The menu isn’t all that big, and that’s a very good thing. Evans rightly believes in keeping it limited in selection but always offering consistently good quality, cleanliness, and good customer service. “We always lightly toast the bread on the inside and keep it fresh outside,” he pointed out. “We hand-fold each piece of meat, and make the sandwich so there’s a little of everything in each bite. People are always asking us to change things like the bread and add rye. You have to be flexible, but stay true to your concept.”

You can reach New Times’ Cuisine columnist at [email protected].


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