Fear not, denizens of 12South. Barlow is confident in his model and has been refining and testing the sandwiches and service for quite a while now. His ultimate intent is to demonstrate that there is no reason why a shop can't provide organic, local, inventive sandwiches at affordable prices with service quick enough to get customers through the line, paid out and eating within a few minutes. To that end, he has laid out Sloco in a very similar fashion to the chain sandwich and sub shops that you encounter in strip malls all over town.
Patrons line up along the counter to order from a list of 12 sandwiches specially created by the Sloco staff. There aren't any wraps or salads or flatbreads or anything wacky. These sandwiches use fresh ingredients from local sources to run the gamut of options from a vegan meatball sub to a delicious pesto chicken to a sorghum-cured ham and cheese. All breads are baked in house except for the gluten-free option. The multigrain was so good that I was tempted to order six plain sandwiches to go so that I could have a half loaf for my breadbox at home.
Barlow recently tried his menu out on a local group of food bloggers, and I was impressed by the speed of Sloco's service. The sandwich I tried was the Loafless Meatloaf (which was a whole lot better that an Meatless Meatloaf would have been). Sloco's crispy sub roll held up well under the stack of braised beef, potato puree and thick gravy. Personally, I thought the flavor could still have been kicked up a little bit more, but Jeremy was still experimenting at that point. It was nothing a little salt and pepper wouldn't cure.
The Redneck Reuben was ingenious with its use of corned pork shoulder instead of the expected corned beef. Rather than overwhelming the flavor with rye bread (which I don't particularly like), the reuben was served on the sub roll, and the traditional reubenesque flavor was imparted through the use of a caraway slaw. Brilliant!
Other bloggers also raved about the Cordon Bleu which is made from the meat of a smoked chicken leg and dressed with bacon and blue cheese. Kids can enjoy a peanut butter sandwich or a traditional ham and cheese at half the regular menu price.
Sandwiches range from $6 to $8, with the intent that a meal including a drink, organic chips, tax and tip should be less than $10. Considering what you can end up paying for mystery burgers or chickens at many fast food joints, the small premium for sustainable locavorism will hopefully be worth it for many diners. If the venture takes off, Barlow would like to expand into more neighborhoods to prove that the concept is repeatable.
Online ordering is expected to go live soon at slocolocal.com. Customers will be able to order and pay online and then simply walk in and pick up their order from a table right inside the front door. A parking spot for pickup only is available right in front of the building, and there is also parking on side streets within a block of Sloco.
Sloco's Declaration of Food Independence is painted right on the wall for all to see and to measure everything they do against: 1) Make rockin' sammies quickly and affordably; 2) Love the community; 3) Operate with a small footprint; 4) Cook responsibly; 5) If it's not in season, we don't have it.
Knowing what I know about Jeremy and his similar philosophy at tayst, I really believe the third time might be the charm at this location.
2905 12th Ave. S., 499-4793
Hours: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-Saturday