Meet Your Merchant: A taste of the Steel City in Truckee/Tahoe
Special to the Sun
TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; For a taste of the East Coast, and a very filling sandwich, stop by Abeand#8217;s Big Mouth Sandwiches, the pop-up sandwich shop that can be found throughout the summer at various events and fundraisers.
Founder and owner Aaron Abraham, originally from Pittsburgh, Pa., knows what it takes to make a good sandwich. Growing up on the East Coast, Abraham worked in the Primanti Brothers sandwich shop, famous for its Primanti Bros sandwich.
Abraham explained that the sandwich has its roots in the Steel City, dating back to the 1930s, when workers in the mills didnand#8217;t have enough time to stop for a lunch, and needed an all-in-one sandwich.
and#8220;(The workers) needed a sandwich they could eat and work at the same time. They needed everything to be on the sandwich,and#8221; Abraham said. and#8220;The concept (today) is pretty much the same, in that itand#8217;s a hearty sandwich, a working manand#8217;s sandwich. For what you pay, you get a lot of food.and#8221;
A lot of food is an understatement. The sandwich, at $8 or $9, has fresh Italian bread, a choice of meats (such as turkey and pastrami), melted provolone cheese, french fries and an Italian-style cole slaw with tomatoes and onions on top.
Abraham introduced the four-inch-tall sandwiches to Truckee/Tahoe two years ago, when he founded Big Mouth Sandwiches.
and#8220;Itand#8217;s a lot of work but definitely rewarding. People are stoked on the sandwiches,and#8221; Abraham said.
While working construction full time, Abraham sets up his sandwich shop at events, such as Truckee Thursdays, then packs it all back up at the end of the night into his trailer.
About two years ago, the event coordinators for Truckee Thursdays approached Abraham, inviting him and his sandwiches to be a part of the event. Abraham explained that the coordinators wanted to bring in different food from around the country, and thought the Primanti sandwich would be a good addition. Abraham checked with the Primanti Brotherand#8217;s shop in Pennsylvania, got the OK, and opened up shop.
Abraham encountered some problems trying to recreate the Pittsburgh favorite on this side of the country, mainly because there wasnand#8217;t any Italian bread with which to make the sandwich.
and#8220;It was wild,and#8221; Abraham said. and#8220;Trying to find the bread alone was a process.and#8221;
He explained that he worked with a local bakery, Treat Box, trying to create the perfect Italian bread for the sandwiches.
and#8220;We went through 5 to 7 recipes trying to find on that worked,and#8221; he recalled.
Once the bread was locked down, Abraham introduced the Primanti sandwich to Truckee/Tahoe, and was thrilled with the response.
and#8220;The reception has been really good. I get the same people week after week. Itand#8217;s been really fun to see the reception,and#8221; Abraham said.
He added that the event coordinators for Truckee Thursdays are a big part of his success, as they did a tremendous job organizing the event week after week, bringing in a variety of different foods.
Abraham added that the sandwiches do have a vegetarian option, with no meat, as well as a vegan option. He also offers other toppings for the sandwiches, including eggs and bacon. For kids, he has corn dogs and hand-cut french fries.
While Big Mouth Sandwichand#8217;s season is coming to an end, look out for them at various events and at next yearand#8217;s Truckee Thursdays. Abraham added that heand#8217;s excited for next season, as this summer was a tremendous success.
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