I entered Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe with some low expectations. Back when I was a North Parker, I used to pass this place on a weekly basis. It’s in a strange location–on a dead block of North Park Way next to Lucky’s, a breakfast joint/front for a drug cartel. While Lucky’s is only open three hours a day but constantly has its lights on and door ajar with the metal screen door bolted to better obscure whatever funny business is occurring within, Classic Rock Sandwich Shoppe is open all day, but remains dark and lifeless. Lo and behold, it is still in business and had some pretty solid Yelps, so I decided to give it a go. Honestly, with a goal of 52 sandwich shops by the end of the year, I have lowered any possible standard I may have had: if the place sells something edible in between two pieces of bread, I will eat there (let’s be real though, that isn’t too far from my everyday requirements).
When I entered the shop, it was empty as predicted, save the music of Led Zeppelin and a middle-aged man and woman, both employees. They both greeted me with genuine smiles and the woman swiftly grabbed a binder and asked if I had been there before. I responded that it was my first time, but that I had looked at their menu online.
“Did you see the one with pictures, or without them?” she asked.
“With the pictures? I guess?”
“Okay,” she said, opening the binder. “There are two menus online–one with pictures and one without. The one you saw doesn’t have all of the sandwiches. We have fifty to choose from,” she says casually, turning page after page, “turkey, beef, ham, veggie, spicy ones,” she looks up, with a warm smile, head slightly tilted, “and we have 15 more coming soon.”
Alright. So they have variety.
I wanted a spicy one since that seemed to be their thang, and was grateful that she warned me of their heat scale–the first one listed is a one, the last one listed is a 10-20, depending on the sandwich artist. Just kidding, only Subway is douchy enough to call a deli worker a sandwich artist. For real though, they get that hot, not that I should be surprised considering it contains spicy chicken, habanero mayonnaise, and habanero/jalapeno/cayenne cheddar cheese. Yeah. That exists. I went with the Sultry Stevie, which still packs a punch, but a less abusive one, like an angry girl done wrong as opposed to a drunk Marine in PB. When she asked what bread I wanted, I asked for the roll.
“Yeeeeaah, that’s one that I wouldn’t recommend with this sandwich.”
“Oh?” I was slightly taken aback.
“It’s a little too much bread. The sandwich is better on these,” she pointed to the first few breads listed.
I was thankful for her input. It’s not every day someone will tell you in what ways their sandwich isn’t good.
Seeing as how I was the only customer, Middle-Aged Man began my order as soon as I decided on it, and rather than just stand there awkwardly sneaking pictures of their shop (though I did that too), I had a little time to chat with the woman, Cheryl, who turned out to be the owner. She asked me what made me try the place and when I mentioned my noble sandwich quest, she told me she really didn’t like sandwiches for most of her life. I didn’t realize that was a thing. She said she had just gotten to a point where she was sick of roast beef and ham (again, I didn’t really understand what she was saying here), and didn’t think there were many other exciting options available. That’s why she made her shop, complete with a bunch of vegetarian and white meat sandwiches for those in the world who felt as she did. Simply put, she wants something for everyone and wants every customer to leave happy. Her bright smile, passion, and genuine interest were enough to do that for me. Oh, and look at all them posters.
Yes, I did take these while pretending to watch a video on my phone. Yes, I fake-smiled and laughed to appear convincing.
And yes, I am the most awkward girl in America. Now, on to my Stevie.
This bad boy (or more appropriately, little lady) is comprised of rotisserie chicken, avocado, provolone cheese, pineapple-habanero sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, sprouts, and habanero mayonnaise. I got the sandwich to go and in the fifteen minutes it took to get from the shop to my home, the bread had already become a little mushy. I blame the sauce, which could have benefited from being thicker and not so runny. Despite this, the flavors were pretty good. The chicken was nicely seasoned with a bit of a cajun vibe, and the habanero mayonnaise had a nice bite. The first few bites were pretty solid. A little hot, but manageable. It was with the fourth that I began regretting my decision to drink a cream soda rather than a milk. I’ve never really had a sandwich that clears my sinuses and makes me wish I were genetically better predisposed to tolerating heat. That made me like it though. It was a little fun, a bit more adventurous than your typical deli sandwich. While eating it however, I kept thinking of slight tweaks that would improve the sandwich. Maybe nix the pineapple habanero sauce and make a pineapple habanero mayo? Add a slice of pineapple even. I would have liked another few (seven to ten) slices of chicken to bulk up the sandwich and make it good on any bread choice, rather than just the plain wheat. And maybe throw some arugula in there for a peppery touch? Overall, it was good, but there is a better sandwich within this Stevie. I think what we see here is too strong a focus on the quantity and, in turn, the quality suffers. The menu is a little confusing honestly, with their long, obscure names for toppings (it’s technically called the “spicy wouldn’t you love to love her pineapple habanero” sauce) and there are just too many sandwiches that are too similar. If not for Cheryl to walk me through the menu, I may have been a little too overwhelmed to choose.
I REALLY HOPE YOU READ EVERYTHING I JUST WROTE AND DIDN’T SKIP IT ALL:
Price: $9.25 for a sandwich the size of which I can easily make at home. Definitely needs more meat to warrant this price.
Menu: Massive, with 65 unique sandwiches and the ability to create your own.
Ambiance: Very warm and hospitable. You can tell these people care. A bit vacant inside though–enjoy a nice chat with Cheryl, then take your sandwich to go.
Sides: I didn’t see any chips, though there were individually wrapped cookies and cracker packs randomly on a plate for sale.
Second Trip Worthy? There are 64 more sandwiches to try and they offer a club card that gives you your 10th sandwich for free. So obviously.
Overall rating: 6 out of 10 sandwiches!