DC at Night

DC at Night

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dining in DC: Taylor Gourmet

Having spent 6 decades in South Jersey and 4 years as a student at Villanova University, I became quite fond of Philly's famous sandwiches, especially cheese steaks and Italian hoagies. When we moved to DC a year-and-a-half ago, I figured I'd have to give up those City of Brotherly Love specialties.

But that was before my 1st visit to Taylor Gourmet. The initial Taylor sandwich shop was founded in 2008 by 2 Philadelphia natives Casey Patten and David Madden. After moving to DC in 2002, the pair searched for the authentic Philly hoagies they had grown up with. Finally, they decided to create their own restaurant and Taylor Gourmet was born.

Their initial shop in the Atlas District featured a decor of exposed brick and wood shipping pallets. The restaurant was opened up to the street by the use of a roll up aluminum garage door, which became a signature element for Taylor Gourmet. There are now 4 locations in DC, with more coming.

In a tribute to their native Philadelphia, all the sandwiches are named after Philly locations. For example, you can have the Broad Street (chicken cutlet with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone), or the Schuylkill Expressway (cold cuts with prosciutto, roasted red peppers, and sharp provolone) or the Market Street (roasted pork with roasted red peepers, arugula, and fresh mozzarella). While sandwiches are the mainstay with more than 40 varieties offered, there are 5 salads on the menu also named after Philly locations such as the Fairmount Park or the Franklin Square. Among the few sides offered the most popular is the 5 risotto ball dish.

Of course, the big question is how does Taylor Gourmet stack up to the Philly items they are based on.  The answer - really well. The sandwiches are consistently named a top sandwich in DC contests with best of categories. A Taylor sandwich was one of 2 food type winners in a 10-food contest between New York City and DC.
President Obama picks up his Taylor Gourmet sandwich
Interest in  Taylor Gourmet exploded last May when President Barack Obama visited the eatery as part of his push for more support for small local businesses.

So what sandwich did Obama pick? The president ordered a 12-inch Spruce Street turkey hoagie, prepared with prosciutto, roasted red peppers and provolone. Additionally, Obama left with seven more sandwiches to bring back to his lunch meeting with congressional leaders.

The Obama endorsement meant a significant spike in Taylor Gourmet's reach on social media, plus a 25 percent initial increase in sales at the 14th Street location that the president visited. And the visit itself went from trending in DC on Twitter to trending nationally within 15 minutes.

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The Prices Do DC Rating
**** (4 rolls rolls out of 5)

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