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    Wednesday, March 29, 2023

    Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington is a gem

    The Robin’s Minstrel signature sandwich at Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington (Ann Baldelli)
    The house-roasted beef sandwich on a sub roll with provolone, lettuce, tomato and mayo at Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington (Ann Baldelli)
    The exterior of Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington (Ann Baldelli)
    The Bob Ross collection at Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington (Ann Baldelli)
    The rooster collection at Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington (Ann Baldelli)

    I’m late to the game on this one, but my recent discovery of Press On Sandwich Crafters in North Stonington was more than a pleasant surprise. The place is a gem.

    Owner Mike Davies had been in the culinary industry for decades when he opened Press On in 2014. As the sandwich shop website says, the place is a social hub and haven for locals and travelers alike. It continues, “Mike is a famous multitasker – somehow able to carry on five conversations at once with customers, all while crafting the most incredible sandwiches in the area. From scratch.”

    That’s exactly what he did with us – from a friendly greeting as we came through the door, to banter and advice as we perused the menu, to chit-chat about his collectibles and business, all as he labored at the sandwich-making board.

    It was my roast beef loving buddy and me who visited on a recent dreary weekday afternoon, and yes, of course, my pal opted for the house-roasted beef sandwich on a sub roll with provolone, lettuce, tomato and mayo, $11. Pretty much wherever we go, he gets beef when it’s on a menu, and this stuffed hoagie didn’t disappoint.

    The beef was thinly sliced and tender and heaped high along with the provolone, lettuce and tomato. You get to pick your own bread at Press On – they had cranberry walnut, rye, multigrain, sourdough, white, or the sub roll the day we visited – and the recommendation for the roast beef was to get it on the roll. They know what they’re talking about there.

    You get a side or chips with every sandwich, and we got the Thai peanut pasta and the ginger coleslaw and shared. They both were very good and, like most everything else, house-made. The coleslaw was crisp and tangy and the peanut pasta not overly sweet and sprinkled with roasted pepitas.

    The majority of business at Press On is takeout, and Mr. Roast Beef and I were the only ones eating in the small dining room the afternoon we were there. But one after another, folks came in to pick up their orders, and clearly, many of them were regulars.

    We shared a serving of the daily soup special, Mexicali Chicken, $5, and it tasted kind of like chicken nachos in a cup, minus the chips. It was loaded with chicken, potatoes, squash and other greens, and it had a little kick.

    I got the Robin’s Minstrel signature sandwich, $15, with roasted turkey, herb aioli, smoked gouda, apple-yam chutney, and romaine on grilled whole grain cranberry walnut bread. Goodness gracious, was that sandwich tasty. It was warm and flavorful, with tender moist turkey and gouda and the luscious chutney. Who knew a yam could be so good? And the bread, it could have been a meal in itself.

    As we ate, we talked with Davies, who was at work behind the counter, and asked how his shop weathered the COVID pandemic. His business grew, he explained, as customers favored takeout and the easy convenience of ordering ahead with a quick pick up.

    We also asked about his collectibles, including one shelf on a curio cabinet he described as “the decline of western civilization.” There, beside books and bobbleheads and Hot Wheels, were a few unimaginable food items – like Hostess Ding Dongs Iced Latte and Great Value Candy Corn artificially flavored syrup. They are not ingredients Davies would ever use. He makes his own dressings, roasts his own chicken and beef, makes his soups, buys bread from an artisan bakery, and even makes house-made chips.

    Next time we visit, I’m guessng my lunch buddy will try the Tim the Enchanter, $15, made with roast beef, bacon, cheddar roasted peppers, fresh pesto mayo, and fig jam on grilled rye. I’m thinking about the Trojan Rabbit, $12, which is described on the menu as herb-roasted vegetables, romaine, garlic confit, and hummus on a grilled whole wheat wrap.

    It took me a while, but I’m glad we found this place. Don’t dally – go visit.

    Press On Sandwich Crafters

    391 Norwich Westerly Road, North Stonington in the Holly Green plaza

    (860) 415-9906

    Find their website at pressonsandwichcrafters.com and search their name to find them on social media.

    Atmosphere: Kitschy, clean, inviting, and entertaining. It’s a sandwich shop, but the owner has his collectibles on display so while you’re waiting for your order check out the lineup of ceramic roosters, the Bob Ross assemblage, the Funko figures, and more.

    Alcohol: No

    Hours: Tuesday to Friday 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; closed Sunday and Monday.

    Service: Fast, efficient and super friendly

    Prices: Signature sandwiches are mostly $15, and custom sandwiches $10 or $11. They all come with a homemade side or chips.

    Reservations: It’s not that kind of place.

    Credit cards: Yes

    Handicapped accessible: The entry door is at street level.

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