Diners can likely name various places that serve sandwiches with a bag of chips or fruit, but how many have you heard ask, "Would you like a cocktail with that?"
That's the shtick behind the new Dallas restaurant Knuckle Sandwich Co., which opened in early May. The business gives new life to the storied building at 3619 Greenville Ave., formerly Vagabond, J. Pepe's, and Greenville Avenue Country Club, depending on the decade.
And if the concept sounds zany, consider that it comes courtesy of Eddie "Lucky" Campbell, a local bar maven known for his out of the box ideas and creative cocktails. (At his cocktail lounge Parliament, guests can order the $250 House of MacGregor, a gin drink served with a gift certificate for a custom-made hat.)
According to Campbell, opening a gourmet sandwich shop has long been an aspiration. Ever since his uncle served up between-breads as a young tyke, his family has talked about owning an establishment of its own, and this location seemed like the perfect fit. As a longtime resident of the M Streets, Campbell frequented J. Pepe's Tex-Mex joint, and when the place changed ownership, he helped Vagabond's John Kenyon develop the drink menu.
"It just felt like a fun space and it always attracted these great regulars. All different types of people would eat there and hung out with each other even though they were from different walks of life," he says.
"It was like a true watering hole, you know?"
Shortly after Vagabond closed in 2015, Campbell and his partners -- namely his aunt and uncle, and Parliament co-owner Andrew Brimecome -- signed a lease on the space. They dressed it in a fresh coat of paint, spiffed up the kitchen, and paved over the infamous pool-turned-bocce ball-court in the backyard.
What can you expect from a visit? Let's run through the menus.
Campbell describes the menu as an abundance of "large-scale foodie sandwiches," which utilize house-made toppings, such as IPA pickles and olive spreads. Most are served hot, and some even steamed, like the pastrami hoagie, which comes with cheddar and havarti cheeses, pepper relish and crispy fried onions.
"We steam them with a fast and very hot blast so it doesn't make it soggy at all -- it puffs the bread a little bit, melts the cheese perfectly and heats the meat perfectly," Campbell says.
Other offerings include the namesake Knuckle Sandwich, piled with pork belly, pimento cheese, herb-roasted tomatoes, arugula and a fried egg on Texas toast, and the Ahi Tuna Sandwich, one of the few that comes cold. There's also a Reuben, a three-cheese grilled cheese, and the Steak and Cheese, which tops a piece of rib-eye with mushroom ragout, fried onions and a cheddar "foam" -- "It's like gourmet Cheez Whiz, if you will," Campbell explains.
Sandwiches range $8-$14. Additionally, Knuckle Sandwich Co. serves various apps, including hummus and charcuterie boards, and soups made in-house by Parliament's liquid chef Mary Fields.
Campbell is a magician behind a bar and his expertise no doubt extends to Knuckle Sandwich Co. While most craft cocktail lounges in D-FW are influenced by the movement in New York, Campbell is going for more of a "northwestern, Portland, Seattle-style cocktail bar," which he describes as "a little bit less dress code and a little more foodie."
That means highlighting darker spirits in cocktails and infusions, and shaking up libations that pair well with dishes. Knowing Campbell, drinkers will have plenty of options. Knuckle Sandwich Co. is currently serving about 20 cocktails, but the full 77-drink menu, which includes shots and boilermakers, will be rolling out soon. The bar is also working on a house-made bitters program.
So whatdya say?
Knuckle Sandwich Co., located at 3619 Greenville Ave., is open seven days a week from 5 p.m to 2 a.m. Food service runs until 11 p.m.