- 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.
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.
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.
- PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.