The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

February 19, 2014

Layers of flavor: Sandwich shop offers unique taste combinations

JOPLIN, Mo. — Occasionally, Jason Wallace will get surprised. As he assembles customers' orders at Stacked Gourmet Grilled Sandwiches, someone might ask for a combination of ingredients that he never thought of before.

"It's always fun for me to see what comes across," Wallace said. "And that was the idea behind the concept. Everyone goes into a restaurant and in some way, shape or form doesn't take just what's on the menu. They think that it would be great to have something from this on that."

Stacked, located at 3030 S. Main St., in Joplin, offers a menu full of unique flavor combinations, from a steak sandwich with pesto and mozzarella to a vegetarian portabella mushroom sandwich with balsamic and Korean barbecue sauce. But to give customers a way to adjust sandwiches to their tastes, the restaurant offers several "stackers," from coleslaw to fried macaroni and cheese.

Some of the sandwiches already come with a stacker, such as the Mac'd Pulled Pork, which features the fried mac and cheese.

Combining tastes

Entrees were developed by co-owners Wallace and Dan Higdon, Wallace's father-in-law. The two and others spent more than 10 months developing the restaurant's entrees. Wallace said Higdon, who has never owned his own restaurant before, is a self-taught kitchen genius.

"He's one of those artsy people who loves to create, and everyone always raves over his food," Wallace said. "He is so in tune with flavor palettes"

They designed sandwiches with deviations from recipes found at other sandwich shops. A steak sandwich, for instance: Wallace said they wanted to use teres major cuts, also known as petite tender medallions.

The steak is the star ingredient in one of the restaurant's most popular sandwiches, the Steak Caprese. It is combined with pesto mayonnaise, tomatoes and three kinds of cheeses, including mozzarella.

"We had thought of a caprese salad, which is so fresh with the mozzarella and tomato," Wallace said. "We thought, 'Why can't we put that on a sandwich?' The steak melds with that."

Other offerings include the Not So Ordinary Turkey Sandwich, which combines Gruyere and avocado with sriracha aioli, and a chicken salad sandwich that combines the sweetness of grapes and cranberries with the coolness of dill and cucumber. The restaurant has vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, too.

Many of the ingredients are prepared fresh in the restaurant. Produce and meat are bought from local growers and processors, and breads come from local bakers, when possible, Wallace said.

The prices may run higher than other sandwich shops, but Wallace said the restaurant gives more value. Sandwiches come with close to twice the meat -- at least six ounces are on each sandwich, and the Mac'd Pulled Pork has eight -- and a freshness that can't be found in many other places, he said.

"People are more in tune with what they are spending money on," Wallace said. "They want value, and they look for quality that the big chains aren't providing."

In addition, the restaurant offers soups, salads, kids' items and a selection of craft beers from local breweries.

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