Big Front Door – North Park
Like any good, red-blooded American, after Thanksgiving is celebrated I crave a big, hearty turkey sandwich. A sandwich that celebrates all the great ingredients that made the dinner what it was. My hunt lead me to Big Front Door, a specialty sandwich shop in North Park known for their gourmet creations on bread.
BFD is the creation of Steve “Sheep” and Laura Riley, opening in June of 2012. Sheep’s culinary experience has led him to serve a wide variety of cuisines, from fine dining to specialty breakfast all over the American Southwest. His experience is displayed in his menu; classic soups, salads, sandwiches and sides, ingredient-focused with an elegant twist.
First off, the interior of this place is amazing. Open, welcoming, the big front door at Big Front Door is actually the entire front face of the building. On walking in you are immediately surrounded by quality food and drinks. The deli counter holds fresh baked goods, house salads and a couple big slabs of meat that just make you want to try everything. In the center of the room is one, long, shared-seating table that creates a classy, picnic table vibe, which matches the food perfectly. Sheep and Laura were successful in their vision, to take an old-fashioned, New York style deli and give it a contemporary California twist.
I got my Thanksgiving sandwich fix in the form of the Turkey Day (thin-sliced turkey breast, cranberry relish, candied bacon stuffing and gravy on a torpedo roll.) The decision was between that and the hot O.F.T. (turkey, gravy mashed potatoes served warm on a sourdough roll) but when I saw the candied bacon stuffing in the Turkey Day my mind went blank. It was a perfect blend of flavors, sweetness from the stuffing, salt and moisture from the turkey and savory from the gravy wrapped up tight with fresh, tart homemade cranberry sauce. The variety of textures was also great. Every few bites you got a crunch of celery in the stuffing or a pop of flavor from the cranberry.
Jenna ordered the Sandwich of the Season (currently a blackened chicken breast, brie cheese, roasted Brussels sprouts and shallots, honey Dijon mustard, garlic aioli on a ciabatta bun.) We requested the Brussels on the side but ended up adding them anyway. This S.O.S. was gooey, warm, flavorful and satisfying. The chicken carried some spice which blended amazingly with the mustard and aioli.
We also shared a French onion soup, layered with flavor from a slow-cooked, peppery broth. It was topped with thick, delicious croutons and just the right amount of cheese.
THAT’S what we’re looking for.
Servers checked regularly and were quick to chat you up on whatever sparked your interest. This would be my go-to lunch spot on this side of town. While we were dining, I noticed a steady stream of takeout orders. The open air environment may be less inviting during the colder months but the food is undeniable. Whether you’re grabbing a quick lunch or staying for a beer, BFD has got you covered. For me, next time it’ll be the Smoked Gouda and Provolone Mac and Cheese and a Cali Cubano. Can’t wait.
Big Front Door
4135 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA