City Juice: Harry’s Hoagies – GREENVILLE JOURNAL
“Andrew, what should I order today?” »
“Chef, you gotta get the meatball sub. We make these meatballs with pork, veal, beef and we grind all our leftover meat from the Italian sandwich. Salami, sopresetta, proscuitto. There also has fresh herbs in there, put these meatballs on some slices of provolone and we top it all with tomato sauce and parmesan cheese.
I turned to Michelle Pavlakos, Andrew Fallis’ wife.
“Michelle! Andrew talks badly to me.
Michelle smiled and didn’t tell anyone in particular, “Well, today is your lucky day.”
Harry Hoagies is as old school as school can get, but it’s only a few months old. Many years ago, before the industrialization of our food system, small sandwich shops like by Harry stood side by side in cities large and small. The pickles arrived in wooden barrels, the meats were roasted in their own ovens, the bread came from the neighborhood bakery, and the cheese was French, Italian or originally from New York. If you wanted to open a sandwich shop today, why bother sourcing individual ingredients when you could get everything from one big supplier? It is much easier to call the Sysco representative.
Andrew and Michelle did it the hard way. They order bread from a bakery in New Jersey, they make their own pickled vegetables, shave their own lettuce, grind their own pesto, make a salad of fresh potatoes and, of course, they mix their own salad dressings, meatballs and tomato sauce.
“We wouldn’t have any other way.”
Much of what happens at Harry’s belies their fine dining past. Watching the crew work is a thing of beauty as they dance back and forth from stove to slicer to cutting board.
Andrew and Michelle spent time at Charleston’s Peninsula Grill. There was a time, some 25 years ago, when The Peninsula Grill created breathtaking culinary magic and splendid hospitality. Its chef, Robert Carter, has trained many of the South’s best chefs and restaurateurs today.
Although Harry’s is as small as a restaurant can be, its food is mighty. Most importantly, everything is served with something often missing in many modern restaurants today: hospitality. There are smiles, good afternoons, greetings, is this your first time, how can I help you, pleasures and thanks in abundance. At Harry’s Hoagies, longtime residents of Greenville may see the ghost of the much-loved Little Pigs BBQ, the original that for years sang its smoky siren song to barbecue-goers at the Lake Forest Mall. They are comparable in size, offering the same level of dedication, charm and hospitality.
Harry’s is much more than a sandwich shop. It’s a model of what a handful of dedicated cooks can achieve with the humblest class of food, the sandwich.
John Malik is a restaurant coach and chef consultant in Greenville. He can be reached at [email protected]