It was an arepa stand, then it was a taco stand. Back before the tiny kiosk on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Wyoming Avenue even existed, there was a hot dog cart serving up snacks to revelers who just finished their karaoke set at the infamous Dino’s Lounge.
Now, it’s all about the sandwich. But don’t underestimate this street food. Prepare yourself for a $3 fried egg sandwich with butter and sea salt, or a toasted marshmallow and Nutella treat for the same price. There’s pepper jelly on the PB&J, and somehow, in this little box, these guys are brining and braising their own corned beef for the Reuben.
“These guys” are Strip restaurant veterans Joshua Clark and Jake Leslie, and “this little box” is now called the Goodwich. It’s currently in a soft-opening state and expects to be open for regular hours on February 5, so you might have to wait until then to experience the foie gras mousse and crispy chicken skin sandwich ($9).
Minus a few brief escapes to Seattle, Aspen and Iowa—where he helped his parents start an organic vegetable farm—Clark has been working in the kitchens and dining rooms of fancy Vegas restaurants for 12 years. Bradley Ogden, Bouchon, Craftsteak and RM Seafood are on his resume, and he joined forces with Leslie, most recently bar manager at Aureole, when they both worked at Nobhill at MGM Grand.
It seems like a lot of experience for a sandwich shop, but that’s kinda the point.
“Part of it was the location and the equipment available there, working with what we have,” Clark said. “Part of it is having a concept that will work out of a kiosk. But you can take great ingredients and flavors that you’d find in any fine dining restaurant and make a sandwich out of them. If I’m doing quality food from scratch and I feel good about where I’m getting my ingredients, there’s a lot of pride in that.”
The Goodwich—which takes its design inspiration from ‘50s-era greasy spoon lunch counters, “the kind of place you’d get a great ham and cheese,” Leslie said—offers classic sandwiches and new creations with high quality ingredients and an eye on craftsmanship. There’s a patty melt with freshly ground beef, jalapeño and pepper jack cheese, and an incredibly juicy chicken sandwich with gooey melted provolone, house-cured bacon, wilted greens and tomatoes.
“There are not enough great sandwich shops here,” Clark said. “It’s a matter of finding the right ingredient and doing things the right way, not just buying everything.”
The partners are both Downtown residents and are excited to contribute to the neighborhood food boom. Leslie attended high school at the nearby Las Vegas Academy. “I saw the potential of Downtown as far back as my high school days, but then I thought it’d be on Main Street,” he said. “Fremont East has taken me by surprise, but Main Street is coming up, too.
“At the end of the day, we wanted to do something fun and interesting in our own neighborhood, something close. There are a lot of people here from San Francisco or other cities who are used to their neighborhoods having a stronger identity. That’s what a restaurant city needs, little corner stuff like this, and we don’t have enough of those right now.”