During a unique time in downtown Louisville’s history, the new Against The Grain Sandwich Emporium is offering a unique lunch special: a sandwich, chips and beer combo.
The Sandwich Emporium opens in the former Another Place Sandwich Shop space above The Flamingo Lounge this Friday, Oct. 1 at 8 a.m.. Co-owner Sam Cruz describes the Emporium’s sandwich selection as a cross between a New York deli and a Penn Station. Essentially, you’ll have your traditional deli sandwich selection (ranging from $10-$12) but with a lot more toasting involved. And, because it’s an Emporium, you’ll also be able to find salads, sides and cookies.
The beer, though, that is an idea that is all ATG. The brewery brand will sell its packaged beers on site, including your favorites, A Beer, Citra Ass Down, The Brown Note and the 35K stout.
Another Place Sandwich Shop closed after 50 years in business in February. It had been experiencing a slump in sales after workers fled downtown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The challenges that the former sandwich shop faced still remain, said Cruz.
“We’re missing the workers,” he said. “Humana is not back for, I guess the rest of the year from what I understand; They won’t be back until January. And that would also include any of the other offices or businesses that are affected by that… Until we start to see a return to normalcy in that realm, I think we’re still treading water.”
But, Cruz said, his business will have online ordering, and, if the opportunity presents itself, will offer corporate catering.
“I think ultimately, if whatever we offer benefits the community, we will be just fine,” he said. “And I see the sandwich shop and the speakeasy there, those are great, I don’t want to say great additions because they existed before, but they are, I think, necessary things in the downtown environment so that the people that are working and playing and living down there, have that to improve the quality of their life.”
The speakeasy Cruz is talking about is The Flamingo Lounge, which ATG opened as a replacement for Jimmy Can’t Dance — also owned by Another Place’s proprietor and closed during the pandemic.
In Against the Grain’s takeover of the former Another Place spot, little of the famous shop remains.
In addition to the all-new lunch menu —which features 12 signature sandwiches, including a vegetarian reuben made with portobello mushroom, by the way — the Emporium will open at 8 a.m. to sell breakfast sandwiches and drip coffee. This, said Cruz, is in direct response to the downtown area’s lack of grocery store access.
The Sandwich Emporium also boasts new decor, including a diner-style bar-top crafted from a 17-foot bowling alley lane. The loft of the shop has been turned into a lounge area with soft seating for working and TV-watching. There will also be high-top tables to dine in on. And, to give the space an ATG flair, Louisville artist Matthew McDole has created a wall-sized mural.
“My hope is that people will come in and snap a photo and share it on social media and maybe check out Matt’s work online,” said Cruz.
Unlike The Flamingo Lounge, the Sandwich Emporium does not have a strict vaccination policy, although it encourages vaccinated customers via signage. If patrons aren’t vaccinated, the shop asks for them to keep their masks on.
For the Sandwich Emporium’s grand opening, there will be a ribbon cutting with Mayor Greg Fischer on noon at Friday. The restaurant will be open until 3 p.m. every day, when it will shut down to prepare for The Flamingo Lounge’s nighttime activities.
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