L-R: Brick 29 and On the Fly owner and chef Dustan Bristol and manager Doug Stinson cranking out sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts for the lunch hour crowd. Photo by Jeanne Huff
I have a new favorite sandwich joint. It hasn’t been open long — officially, just a few weeks — but I have been there about 10 times already and have tried just about every sandwich and soup of the day. Everything is delicious. At least for this comfort food loving girl from Kansas, it is truly comfort food kicked up a notch. Well, actually, quite a few notches.
And that’s exactly what On the Fly’s chef and owner Dustan Bristol intended when he came up with the idea. It’s what he had in mind when he added bacon jam to his egg salad sandwich. When he decided to take on that mother of all comfort food sandwiches – bologna. He remembered his favorite bologna sandwich from his childhood. “My grandparents had that bologna with the olives in it,” he says. And, of course, they served it on Wonder bread with mayo. So, his take on the classic bologna sandwich includes green olive tapenade, aioli, organic arugula, sliced tomato and house-made bologna — “that way I know what’s in it,” he says — on white bread custom made for Bristol by Mathieu Choux of Gaston’s Bakery. “It’s like Wonder bread on crack,” he says with a smile.
I don’t doubt it for a minute. I am one of the addicts that start lining up around 11 a.m. hoping to grab one of the sandwiches at the ready — the egg salad and the bologna regularly sell out early. Or, if I’m feeling extravagant, I might sidle up to the counter and order a fresh, made-to-order hot sandwich. The regulars include grilled cheese Panini (sharp white cheddar, Monterey jack, shaved red onion and pear), a Reuben panini (with house Louie dressing and Swiss cheese fondue and roasted cabbage tossed in vinaigrette in lieu of sauerkraut) and a daily special.
My friend Jason says On the Fly’s roast beef sandwich (with Manchego cheese and house made Bearnaise aioli on a baguette) is the best he’s ever had.
All the usual suspects are there so whatever your go-to comfort sandwich is, you won’t be disappointed; rather, you and your taste buds will be delighted: turkey (house brined and rotisserie-cooked with roasted red and green peppers, smoked gouda cheese, aioli and dried chili pesto on baguette), chicken salad (again, house brined and rotisserie-cooked chicken tossed with vinaigrette, fennel, red onion, raisins, blue cheese crumbles, fresh basil, toasted walnuts with aioli, organic arugula and sliced tomato) and how about this: cashew butter and jelly (house-made cashew butter, boysenberry conserve and fresh banana on that better-than-Wonder-bread bread).
Now, I’m not saying there aren’t a lot of other sandwich places downtown, many of which are pretty good to great: there’s the Bleubird (my second fave), Subway and of course Jimmy John’s, to name a few. And there are restaurants aplenty where you can get sandwich specials of the day as well. You can get a sandwich that will satisfy your lunchtime hunger in any of those establishments (the Bleubird will tickle your taste buds with panache, but you have to wait on line, and some of the fare is a little more spendy). At On the Fly, most sandwiches are grab-and-go, and cost about five bucks, a few a bit more, some less. And that’s a pretty great price point for deliciousness. The place also has ramped-up soups, salads and desserts. I dare you to sink your teeth into the Rice Whiskey Treat (think of your childhood’s rice krispie treat on steroids — comes with salted caramel sauce for dipping) and not flutter your eyes in OMG ecstasy. And if you like breakfast sandwiches, I highly recommend the Croque Madame (fried egg, house ham and Swiss fondue). The only downside I could find on my trips there was that if you want one of the hot sandwiches that are made to order, you do have to wait a few minutes while they make it. But in my experience, the end result was worth the wait.
Bristol, also owner and chef of Brick 29 in Nampa, says he modeled the sustainable, local, whole food, real food, grab and go concept on the trendy and wildly popular Pret a Manger, that started in the U.K. and now has locations in Hong Kong and New York. And, he already has plans to take the entire On the Fly enterprise up a notch or two: he envisions online ordering and bike delivery service in the near future that will rival that of the competition’s. “I would love to have a concept I could standardize and duplicate. We want to be aggressive. I think we offer a better value than Jimmy John’s.”
He wants to be the sandwich king.
One bite is all it will take to know that if anybody can take on Jimmy John’s, Bristol can.
IF YOU GO:
On the Fly, 800 W. Main, Suite 200. 344-6833. http://ontheflydeli.com.
On Facebook: On the Fly Rotisserie Deli.
It is in the new Eighth and Main building in downtown Boise. Just hang a right at the top of the escalator.
Open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Sandwiches, soups, salads, desserts. Also grab and go entrees.