Words & Images by Eli Wallace
Boulder has been widely recognized as a foodie capital, the bread-basket of the gluten-free movement and a leading force in farm-to-table dining. While that’s all well and good, Marcy Miller realized after having two sons that most of Boulder’s organic eateries are, well, fancy.
“I started to be really concerned about what was in our food, but I couldn’t take my two boys to some of Boulder’s farm-to-table restaurants,” she said during a cooking demonstration. “I wouldn’t do that to myself or to the other diners.”
Having grown up in Michigan with a super-mom, who cooked daily, multi-course dinners for her family of six, Miller and her sister, Bonnie Paisley dreamed up the first draft of what is now the Organic Sandwich Company nearly a decade ago. But it was having kids that made Miller dust off the old business plan and turn it into a reality. The Organic Sandwich Company debuted at the Boulder Farmer’s Market in April 2014, and opened its doors at Pearl St. and 16th in January 2015.
The incredible thing about the shop—which isn’t that over 90% of the store is organic, nearly everything comes from local farms, or even that everything non-organic is all-natural, hormone-free, antibiotic-free and non-GMO as much as possible; it’s the prices. When most stores say things like, “We’re committed to ZERO WASTE,” or “We can work around nearly all dietary restrictions, including vegan, vegetarian, paleo and gluten-free diets,” (both of which are true for Organic Sandwich Company) my wallet preemptively shrivels up in pain, expecting $15 sandwiches and $5 lemonades.
That’s not the case; sandwiches at the store run around $9-11 each, and are served in hearty proportions. And heck if it isn’t actually worth it; the lettuce has that crunch; the baguette is both soft and hard at the same time, but not too much of either; and there’s just something about those sauces. Bacon Jam, the spread on the company’s most popular sandwich (Turkey and Bacon Jam; second place goes to Turkey and Brie) mixes sweet and smoke with a kind of oily savoriness that blends well with the salt of the pretzel bun and turkey. One of the vegan sandwiches, “The Beetnik” actually makes being vegan really tasty—with thinly-sliced, roasted red and gold beets, pea shoots, and house-made almond feta that doesn’t sacrifice flavor, served on a pretzel bun.
I’d be remiss in reviewing the shop if I didn’t mention the Strawberry Jalapeño Lemonade. While the timid and careful among us might plod blindly towards other menu offerings like the Lemon-Limeade or Gingerade, the brave and trailblazing will forge boldly towards this sweet and spicy blend that quite literally will make you sweat. But that’s the reward of finishing a glass; it’s not so much the speedy spice of biting into a fresh jalapeño, but a slow-burn heat that builds off the strawberry-tartness and peppery finish.
There’s something to be said for doing something classic and popular (sandwiches, farm-to-table, organic) in ways that are surprising. The Organic Sandwich Company is doing just that—and they’re doing it well.
Organic Sandwich Company is located at 1500 Pearl Street, Suite F, at the corner of Pearl and 16th, and is open daily from 11am-6pm.