Restaurant Spotlight: Taylor Gourmet

July 23, 2014 11:37 AM0 comments

422taylorEarly last year, Taylor Gourmet opened its first Northern Virginia sandwich shop in Merrifield’s bustling Mosaic District. Now, the D.C.-area hoagie chain with a Philly focus has opened another NoVa location.

Ballston became the ninth Taylor Gourmet location when the new shop opened at the start of this month. Since its founding in 2008 by two Philadelphia natives yearning for the hoagies they enjoyed growing up, Taylor Gourmet has brought its Philly-style sandwiches down the coast to the D.C. region.

Its new Ballston location has the hallmarks of other Taylor Gourmet outposts – a garage-door-style wall of windows and abundant wood planks for an industrial look. But more importantly, it has the menu of sandwiches that’s earned the chain notoriety throughout the region.

A range of Italian cured deli meats; turkey, roast beef, and pork roasted in-house daily; cheeses; white and wheat vegan hoagie rolls; gluten-free wraps; seasoned chicken cutlets; and fresh vegetables are combined with gourmet attention to create many delicious menu items.

More than 30 sandwich options in all are offered, and nearly all are named for streets and neighborhoods in Philadelphia. Sandwich prices are set by the size of the hoagie roll: A Regular (six-inch) costs $6.90 and a large (12-inch) is $9.90. Five are listed as Taylor Specialties, including the Philly Landfill. Here, Genoa salami blankets pull-apart strands of roast pork and peppered ham, with a layer of sharp provolone and some roasted red peppers. The sandwich gets the LTO treatment, with thin strands of onion, wisps of lettuce, and tomato slices to add a fresh crunch to the densely meaty sandwich.

While meats, in true deli fashion, are plenty here, this shop still offers three vegetarian sandwiches. The Christian Street among them uses thick pieces of portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers, but the tangy goat cheese and peppery arugula make the biggest impression.
Most hoagies on the menu feature chilled ingredients, but the roasted pork hoagies – three in all – serve the juicy, savory stuff warm. In the Packer Avenue, a hefty stack of pork meets garlic-seasoned sautéed spinach, with a layer of sweet provolone cheese; a mere three toppings pack a big punch of flavor on a hoagie roll.

Clubs, and hoagies with cured meats (the “Italians”), turkey, roast beef, or chicken cutlets round out the menu. Chicken cutlets, whether breaded or grilled, can be added on to any of the half-dozen $8 salad options for $2 more. The Love Park – with arugula, sweet cherry tomatoes, pesto, and marbles of fresh mozzarella dotted with tiny pastina pasta – has become a popular selection at the Ballston location.
A “Taylor Your Meal” option lets diners add a drink – bottled water or an all-natural Puck’s fountain soda – and a side – chips, vegetarian chickpea salad or pasta salad, potato salad with bacon in the mix, or a kale side salad – to their order for $2.70. Other sides include Risotto Balls ($4.90), with a crispy Italian herb-seasoned shell filled with rice and molten cheese, and Italian White Bean Hummus ($3.90), a spicy vegan dip served with herb and olive-oil sprinkled crostini.

Taylor Gourmet uses quality ingredients and uses them well, creating an affordable menu with items to satisfy a wide range of diners in the convenient fast-casual format. The chain has expanded throughout the region in the past six years, and the hoagies at the Ballston shop demonstrate why this chain has become so popular.

Taylor Gourmet is located at 4000 Wilson Blvd., Arlington. For more information, call 703-940-3690 or visit taylorgourmet.com.

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