Hoboken Farms Sandwich shop has only been open about a month and it already has a loyal following. Maybe it's because they've been a fixture at the Summit Farmer's Market for many years. Known for their homemade fresh mozzarella, or "mutz," and fabulous assorted bread, they've taken all this goodness and opened up a takeout sandwich shop just outside of town.
Owner Brad Finkel created his inventive menu first and foremost with his family in mind. His son, William, is severely allergic to wheat and gluten, which means food that we take for granted like Hoboken Farms crusty bread would send him into anaphylactic shock. So, Hoboken Farms' entire menu is gluten free (GF) with two options of bread — conventional and GF. "Gluten free and decadent" is their motto, which is great news for those who have allergies, but even better for the rest of us because nothing is compromised in flavor.
"We designed the menu to serve my family," Brad said. "I like a decadent, sloppy and beautiful sandwich and so does my son. My wife, a yoga instructor, likes lots of veggies. So, there's my favorite, Pop Paul's original Hoboken Plunge, and then there's The Yogalicious Jillian."
You could get a cramp in your neck staring up at the menu with the wildly creative sandwich names that compliment the equally creative combinations. With three categories, cool, warm and superfoods & crispy greens, all of the sandwich names have meaning and Brad will tell you the story of each and every one of you ask. In fact, many are steeped in Hoboken history.
I knew I had to try Brad's idea of a "sloppy and beautiful" sandwich — Pop Paul's Original Hoboken Plunge.
"It's brisket braised for seven hours, then shredded and tossed with the braising jus," Brad said. "The Jackson St. onions are caramelized in butter and then there's our homemade mozzarella that finishes off the sandwich. It's named after my father-in-law who passed away just before the store opened, so it's sentimental when people order the sandwich. "
Brad insisted on making me two sandwiches, one the conventional way and one on gluten free bread which they get from Gluten Free Gloriously in Sterling. While I watched head chef Greg Quoko make both versions, I was offered a sample of their deeply flavored capicola ham followed by some paper thin proscuitto and a big nugget of mutz. While you may be thinking they were bribing the food writer with good Italian charcuterie, that was not the case at all. Every single customer was treated as grandly as me.
Brad was right.
Pop Paul's sandwich was a beautiful mess and heavenly to bite into. The brisket took me back to my childhood at my Nanny and Popops house for Sunday night dinner. Lean, tender beef brisket falling apart yet barely held together by the Au jus it was cooked in. Au jus is a natural way to enhance the flavor of the meat and it soaked into the bread, giving the sandwich flavor from top to bottom. The Jackson St. onions (named for a street in Hoboken that Brad played on as a kid) were sweet and soft and melted right into the brisket. Big, hunky pieces of fresh mozzarella on top gave the sandwich an updated twist. The mild flavor of the cheese struck a harmonious balance with the meat and onions. As for the sandwich on the gluten free bread, it was a lot better than I expected with the same chewy texture of wheat based bread. It's nice for those who can't eat gluten to enjoy the goodness of Hoboken Farms like the rest of us.
I couldn't leave without trying The Yogalicious Jillian wrap. While I like a sandwich piled high with meat and cheese, I'm a one or two bite gal, then I want my veggies. This wrap with slow roasted caramelized sweet potato, avocado, sprouts, arugula, tomato, and a light balsamic reduction was spot on and something I could see eating every day for lunch.
So, Jillian, thanks for marrying Brad. Brad, thanks for making mutz and most importantly, thanks for bringing your creative energy to Summit. We welcome you with open arms and hungry bellies.