The secret is out.
I finally visited Secret Sandwich Society, a Fayetteville restaurant I've been coveting a visit to for months now - ever since I first heard about it. Just the name of it incites some sort desire. Secret Sandwich Society - it sounds like a collection of elite individuals who are part of the secret. Like a speakeasy. They're in the know.
That "know" in this case is some damn good sandwiches.
Secret Sandwich Society is located in Fayetteville, a super cool, super hip little town that I've kind of fallen in love with. I have driven through Fayetteville countless times on my trips to southern West Virginia, but I've only stopped here two or three times. Once was to try the original Pies & Pints. This visit was much more deliberate - I drove from Morgantown to meet my friend Carl here, and we spent a few hours exploring the town, too.
The restaurant is located on Keller Avenue, next to the park at the corner of Keller Avenue and Court Street. The restaurant is on the bottom floor of the building, so it was a little hidden from view.
After taking the stairs down the bottom level, it's clear this small restaurant can get packed judging by the number of stools outside on the deck that folks could use for a waiting area. On this particular day, we were immediately seated. Only a handful of tables inside and a few outside, too.
Like any good foodie - if I dare call myself that, and I know I'll catch hell for it since I don't cook - I studied the menu and read tons of reviews before going. The menu features some appetizers (like fries), some soups (like their soup of the moment), salads (which are all women's names - more specifically, first lady names - Lucy, Martha, Eleanor), burgers and sandwiches - the shining star.
Most of the sandwiches are named after presidents. And they're not your deli store sandwiches. Take that and turn the sophistication way up with delicious combinations. The Ulysses has roasted pork loin, peach jam, swiss and greens. The Polk has roasted chicken breast, their signature bacon jam, aioli, lettuce, tomato and onion on a toasted hamburger bun. The Quincy has seasoned and seared roast beef, balsamic onions, roasted garlic aioli and pepperjack cheese. The Lincoln is a create-your-own, and the Truman has turkey, peach jam, blue cheese spread and crispy onions. Mouth watering yet?
I ordered the McKinley - homemade meatloaf, their signature bacon jam, aioli and crispy onions. All sandwiches are toasted on a hoagie roll (unless otherwise stated) and come with Society chips and a homemade pickle.
They have local beer on draft - Bridge Brew Works! - as well some cool import bottles. And other beverages include natural soda, sweet leaf organic iced tea and coffee.
Interior was simple, but fun. They actually have a design and stick to it. You can see that in their website design - beautifully done. Unique, but comfortable environment here.
Our server was super cool and attentive. He was laidback and took the time to rattle off some of his favorite sandwiches when I inquired - instead of the canned "I love everything!" which doesn't help the customer at all. It's clear they put some consideration into the individuals they hire. Because he nailed it.
This sandwich: Comfort food with a fancy twist. Meatloaf was moist with a hint of heat. It had a bit of a different flavor to it in the best way possible. It was like my mother's homemade meatloaf with an extra dash of spices. The bacon jam acted as a nice sweet and smokey layer, and the aioli added that hint of garlic. Crispy onions perfect for the texture. Bread had a nice crunch to the top but soft inside. Delish.
Their homemade chips are a liiiittle thicker than store-bought, which I love. Thicker chips are the way to go. Decent flavor. Wish I had some extra sauce to use with them, though.
The pickle is homemade and has a different sort of sour. Very crisp and interesting. Unlike anything you'd buy in the store.
Carl got the Polk sandwich and thought it was really good. He was also a fan of the natural root beer pop. Root beer isn't my thing, but if it's yours, go for it. He seemed pretty pumped.
Can't remember how much the total bill came to, but both of our sandwiches were around $10, so it's not bad for the delicious dinner and cool atmosphere.
I've heard they do a fancy macaroni and cheese theme on Mondays, which would be amazing. And I've been dying to go to one of their Supper Clubs. If I knew exactly how this worked, I'd probably have a better shot at it.
Apparently it's a sort of special dinner that brings together a group of 12 people for a multi-course meal at a flat rate. I think it's held once a month, and they allow the first 12 people who email the restaurant or respond via Facebook to attend. After 12, you're put on the waiting list. How fun does this sound? The last time I saw them post it was in July, and I emailed but didn't hear back. So not sure the current status on it, but I want it. So. Bad.
I've been told it might be a little weird at first, but everyone bonds over the food and wine, and I waaaant it.
Secret Sandwich Society is open Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. (CLOSED TUESDAY) and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Check them out on Facebook, Urbanspoon, and Yelp.
There are a number of other restaurants here I want to try, including Diogi's, Cathedral Cafe, Dirty Ernie's Rib Pit, Gumbo's Cajun Restaurant, Swirl ... and more. I'll definitely be back.