I have something in common with Chef Josh Clark. The owner of the Goodwich makes sandwiches the same way I write articles: through rigorous self-editing. “[You need] the right amount of sauce, to the right amount of meat, to the right amount of cheese, to the right amount of bread and so on,” he says. “My whole philosophy for any restaurant is you shouldn’t leave hungry, but ideally, you should never have to take a to-go box.”
That makes sense. But what I can’t figure is how Clark—along with his business partner Theo van Soest and chef de cuisine Paul Mares—instinctively knows how to build such utterly delicious ‘stacked-right’ sandwiches around such unlikely sandwich-fillers as cauliflower. But the spirit of invention—constantly redefining what can go between two slices of bread—is fully half of what the Goodwich is all about.
“You can give me any dish, and we can figure out a way to create a sandwich out of it,” Clark says. “Pretty much every sandwich has some sort of story, whether it’s something I grew up with or a dish I once had in a nice restaurant. … Cauliflower goes with curry; cauliflower goes with caramelized onions. To me it seems easy: Those components go good together on everything we grew up with. Why wouldn’t they go together in a sandwich?”
Those instincts serve him well even when an idea doesn’t immediately appeal to him—like, say, an egg salad sandwich. “I’m thinking, ‘Does anybody even eat egg salad?’ ” Clark says. Nevertheless, the kitchen experimented: first with a touch of curry in the egg salad, then with some crispy chorizo and potato chip bits added for flavor and texture. “As we all tasted it, we realized it needed something kind of sweet and acidic, so we put the pickled onions on there.” It’s now one of their best sellers.
The other half of the Goodwich’s success: never-ending work. “We’re constantly prepping throughout the day,” he says—brining meats, grinding up green pea flour for falafel, mixing up chickpea puree. New flavors are always within reach, and ready to become your new favorite sandwich ever. “The foodies want something different,” Clark says. “We didn’t even know what to expect when we opened. We didn’t even know if people were going to show up. Luckily, they did.”