When you bite into the turkey and bacon jam sandwich at the Organic Sandwich Company on Pearl Street, you are also getting a taste of the dream of two local sisters.
Marcy Miller and Bonnie Paisley first dreamed up the concept for an organic, ultra-healthy, quick sandwich shop nearly 16 years ago. Back then, Paisley was freshly out of culinary school and Miller had graduated from business school. The idea was a natural fusion of their two dreams, combined with their upbringing with a mother who loved to cook.
But back then, the cost of organic ingredients was too steep to make the idea a viable business, Miller says.
Fast forward years later, when Miller became a mom herself. The desire to feed her children healthy (but fast) food reawakened that old dream. So much that she quit her job in the private wealth management world and buckled down on crafting a business plan to bring the vision to life. The cost of organic ingredients had gone down, due to increased demand, Miller says. Plus, she was able to craft partnerships with local farms, greenhouses and other businesses to make the menu as local as possible.
“This is a big part of how and why this company has been able to succeed,” Miller says.
They debuted at the Boulder Farmers Market in 2014. And the community bit. Organic Sandwich Company was an instant hit, leading them to open doors at the corner of Pearl and 16th streets less than a year later. By 2017, the sisters launched their second location in Louisville, at 459 S. McCaslin Blvd.
The Boulder location recently celebrated its five-year anniversary.
Today, the women-owned Organic Sandwich Company makes its sandwiches, soups and salads with local produce whenever possible, as well as local meats, eggs, snacks (chips, pretzels, even seasoned crickets — yes, crickets), bread, jam, baked good and beverages (98 percent of the cooler is local, such as coffee, tea, water kefir and kombucha).
“If it’s local and organic, we will try it,” Miller says. “We kind of have it all.”
Per the name, sandwiches are the heart of the restaurant. The kitchen also makes fresh soup daily using in-season ingredients. They eventually began offering salads to meet demands. In true Boulder style, the Organic Sandwich Company can accommodate just about any dietary restriction, from vegan to gluten-free (plus, any sandwich can be made as a lettuce wrap). If you are vegan and want a meat-free cutting board, no problem. Just ask, Miller says.
Also per the name, more than 95 percent of everyone in the store is organic. Where organic ingredients are not available, you will find hormone-free, antibiotic-free, rBST-free, non-GMO alternatives.
“Part of my mission and goal is to have good, clean, healthy food that you would find at a fine-dining restaurant,” Miller says. “I love farm-to-table, but why does it have to be white linen and in a sit-down environment?”
The same farmers that deliver to Boulder’s finest restaurants for fancy entrees also deliver to this casual sandwich shop, she says. Families especially appreciate the option to eat high-quality food in a fast, relaxed environment, Miller says.
Almost everything is made in-house, including the vegan almond feta, spicy giardiniera and the popular bacon jam. The latter is the key ingredient in the top-seller, the turkey and bacon jam sandwich, made with bacon jam, turkey, romaine, tomato and avocado aioli, best served on pretzel bread. The Organic Sandwich Company freely provides the recipe for its time-intensive, special jam, made with bacon and onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, coconut sugar and brewed coffee (to balance out the flavor). It’s a slow-cooking process, then made into a spreadable consistency.
The bacon jam is so popular it has its own T-shirt available in the store.
Other popular menu items include the turkey and brie sandwich, grass-fed roast beef and the spicy veggie. The Spicy Vegan features house-made spicy giardiniera, avocado, tomato, house-made vegan almond “feta” and arugula with caramelized onions on a pretzel loaf.
Other sandwiches new to the menu this season: turkey smoked gouda (roasted turkey, smoked gouda, tomato, romaine and avocado aioli on a sourdough baguette) and the grilled cheese with cured ham and pickles (locally-raised cured ham, aged white cheddar, dill pickle slices and house-made stone-ground mustard on French country bread).
Local tip: Sign up for the Organic Sandwich Company newsletter, which always includes a coupon. Also, participate in Tuesday Trivia for a chance to win a free sandwich.
In celebration of the five-year anniversary, you can find new menu items (based off all-time customer favorite specials and staff faves) for $2 off throughout February. Also stay tuned for social media contests, including one to design your own sandwich of the week for the menu.