"Sandwich Craft" - Memphis Flyer

Hannah Sayle, food writer at the Memphis Flyer, crafted an article on our weekly signature sandwich specials in the March 8 issue. Read the full article on the Memphis Flyer's website by clicking here.

Below is an excerpt from the article about eighty3: (photos by Memphis Flyer)

If you're less inclined to build your own sandwich and prefer to leave your meal in the hands of a trained professional, Chef Connor O'Neill at eighty3 is your man. For a little over a month, he has been emailing out a list of weekly signature sandwich specials, using the lunch hour as a canvas for his vision of the perfect mid-day meal. 

Chef Connor O'Neill"People in downtown Memphis, it takes them 10 or 15 minutes to get down an elevator and then they've got to walk somewhere and get their food and get back out — they really only have about 20 minutes of time," O'Neill says. "The most efficient way to give them the same quality of food that we give to our nighttime diners was to figure out how to get the products into a format that's easy to cook, and sandwiches have always been the answer." 

O'Neill has been dedicated to the art of the sandwich since his days in the Army. 

"I love a good sandwich. When I was in boot camp, anything that fit between two pieces of bread was about as much time as you had to eat," he says. "It got me started there."

Now ask him about any of his menu items, and you'll see how far he's come from the days when whatever-fits-between-two-slices-of-bread was the standard. He eagerly explains, at length, how each component contributes to a complete flavor and texture profile.

"I like layers of texture and flavor," O'Neill says. "If I have a sharp meat like salami, with a lot of meaty, fatty flavor, I'll want a vinegar to contrast that, something like a slaw. Then I'm going to be looking for a good bread, something that's going to stand up to the flavors and soak up some of that saltiness but be firm enough not to get soggy. Next, I'm looking for something creamy, like a Provolone cheese, and then finally I need a smoky or grilled flavor, so I'm going to grill my bread."

O'Neill can wax poetic about any of his sandwiches, from his pulled-pork wrap to his steak sandwich, to his grilled cheese with Gruyère, leek fondue, mushrooms, and a Parmesan-encrusted bread. No wonder he gets excited enough to plan his sandwich offerings two weeks in advance.

Any of the sandwiches can also be ordered as a salad or wrap and will run you about $10. In a hurry? O'Neill encourages patrons to order in advance and swing by to pick up a quick bite on the way to Court Square or back to the office.

eighty3, 83 Madison (333-1224)