A little sandwich shop with some big flavors, Vessel Sandwich Co. is part of the small seaside community of Flagler Beach. Head right up to the register and order off the chalkboard, or pull a menu from the stack and take a step back.
You’ll find options ranging from seafood to comfort food. The neighbors just a block away at Swillerbees Craft Donuts & Coffee Bar told us the “Hot Fried” Chicken Feathers ($6) is a must. It’s kind of a strange dish—tasty, of course, but strange. Spicy, mesquite barbecue sauce is ladled over a nice portion of chicken and served on a giant piece of ciabatta toasted to buttery perfection. House pickles are nice and crunchy, an agreeable companion to the chicken’s peppery sauce.
We ordered the shrimp roll ($9) because the afternoon had a real beachy vibe. It was served on a crisp buttery roll overflowing with juicy, plump shrimp dressed lightly in a mayonnaise-based sauce. The shrimp were large enough to be treated to a nice rough chop. The chunky chop enabled us to get a perfect bite each time—instead of eating through one of five whole shrimp on the roll in a single bite.
The Ham ’n’ Peppers ($9) caught my eye, then my taste buds. This Italian-style sandwich is a riot of flavors pressed between two halves of a crispy sliced baguette. Its prosciutto and salami are the perfect complement to the high quality spicy mustard. It’ll burn through your nose hairs—and I mean that in the very best way. This little gem includes a side of giardiniera, pickled Italian veggies. The little cup was an ideal side for the sandwich. The cauliflower, carrots and celery mixture were exquisitely pickled, just a tad crunchy with a nice level of spice in the marinade.
If your palate clamors for comfort food with a little bit of twist (hey, you pay your own bills) try the Grown-Up Grilled Cheese ($7). Chow down on aged cheddar and fontina with an apple apricot mostarda on ciabatta. I’ll admit, I had to look up mostarda but I’m in love. It’s a mustard, of course, but it’s combined with the sweetness of candied fruits—the result is something unique. The sweet and spicy flavor profile adds a nice kick to this cheesy sandwich. Add an extra twist—thin slices of salty prosciutto ($1)—for those extra grownup taste buds.
Vessel offers a few drinks besides soda; you can bet that Lavender Sweet Tea ($2) went into my cup. It was an ultra version: Think Southern sweet tea with a nice punch of lavender!
A big bonus for Vessel is that they use bread from the holy grail of all Jacksonville bread producers, The French Pantry. With the exception of the shrimp roll bun, all the sandwiches are made with lovely TFP dough.
We chose to sit outside, but this is a great spot to get your sandwiches to go and head right on down to the beach. Hellooo, perfect beach picnic!