Where Dope Sandos and Hungry Randos Assemble to Feast: Lone Wolf Co.

Where Dope Sandos and Hungry Randos Assemble to Feast: Lone Wolf Co.

Words by Su Ertekin-Taner

I half expect a member of KISS or one of those Harley-Davidson bikers that travel in herds to enter behind me when I walk into punk-inspired sandwich shop Lone Wolf Co. The edgy decorations that adorn the walls of the venue suggest as much. The Punk’s Not Dead flag, wolf’s skull mural, coffin-shaped Little Red Riding Hood-esque mural, and three-eyed wolf logo are all artistic nods to the type of counterculture that KISS and Harley-Davidson represent. And as punk music reverberates throughout the restaurant, I know I’ve struck gold on the unconventional with Lone Wolf Co. 

 

Lone Wolf Co. first opened its doors seven months ago and quickly became a rendezvous point where dope sandos (sandwiches) and hungry randos (randoms) assemble to feast. Today, I am one of those randos and I am ready to partake in a eulogy to the conventional with Lone Wolf’s sandwiches.

 

I begin by perusing the eccentric menu. While a quick check of the Lone Wolf Co. Instagram indicates they are “NOT A DELI!!,” I still assume an Italian sub, Reuben or bologna sandwich will have made the menu cut. But my conjecture was soon proven wrong. Maybe, I should’ve listened to the all caps messaging. 

 

Instead, the menu — much like the venue’s decor — pays tribute to punk and rock. Blitzkrieg Bop is a chicken, pepperoni and bacon-based sando (and a song by the Ramones). Psycho Killer offers a rich combination of pork, mac and cheese, and provolone and a reminder of the Talking Heads’ hit. And while Against the Grain may be a vegan sando packed with roasted bbq tempeh, green beans, pickled ginger onions and lettuce, it’s also the title of Bad Religion’s 1990 album. Other notable rock-punk sandwich tributes include Mind Over Matter, Weight of the World, Seeing Red and Divine Intervention. 

 

In total, there are 15 tribute sandwiches that rotate regularly plus some non-sandwich dishes like breaded zucchini fries with Wolf sauce, panko-breaded chicken and jasmine rice with carrot and cucumber salad, and pork dumplings drenched in Wolf sauce. And for the rightfully overindulgent, curly fries, pasta salad, cajun collard greens and chips are all side options.

 

As I teeter between two or three options of sandwiches, I feel as if I’m attempting to pick a personality to inhabit while dining. Should I be slightly supernatural with a Bark at the Moon or greedy with a Gimmie, Gimmie, Gimmie or confident with a Walk the Walk? I’m feeling confident today … with a side of curly fries.

 

The Walk the Walk sandwich includes fried chicken, queso, everything-seasoned bacon, slaw and Hot Cheetos crumbles. I’m intrigued by this quirky, modern flavor combination. I begin to —pun intended — wolf the sandwich down. Immediately, the Southern flavors of the fried chicken and slaw dominate my palate, as expected. Unpredicted, however, is the balance in this sando. The background rock music reaches a dissonant passage, but this sandwich is nothing but harmony. The crunch of the bacon and fried chicken is undercut by the creaminess of the slaw now spilling out of the corners of the sando, and the French Pantry bread is a fitting canvas for this art. The fresh, warm curly fries dipped in the original spicy, ranch-based Wolf sauce add a playful element to the meal. 

 

While the sandwich’s size seems meager in comparison to the foot-long subs found in delis, I am full in a few bites, so I stop wolfing it down and, instead, pick at the sandwich with the occasional overconfident bite like a rabbit. Eventually, I decide to save the other half for another time when I am ready for a taste of punk again. I’m sure it will be soon. In fact, I’m sure I will crave these counterculture sandos after the ride home and again, the coming day. 

 

Lone Wolf Co. has revolutionized the sandwich. No longer is the sandwich a meal for those shirking a rich meal or the staple of a stereotypical work lunch. Simply by referring to sandwiches as “sandos,” the restaurant has broken down sandwich conventions and culture. The sandwich can be spunky, referencing music and brimming with contemporary ingredient blends as Lone Wolf’s sandos do.

 

By the end of this meal, I am a lone wolf — a self-proclaimed eponymous name I’ve given to Lone Wolf Co. supporters — but I sure as hell am not a hungry one.

About Su Ertekin-Taner

Jacksonville native Su Ertekin-Taner is a student at Columbia University with a passion for everything arts. While she writes creatively, satirically, journalistically, and enthusiastically (of course), she also loves to sing, dance, and do impressions; her favorites are Toddlers and Tiaras Mom and Shakira. Find Su critiquing the quality of reality TV that she willingly spends several hours a day watching, petting her cat even though she recently discovered her cat allergy, and probably watching paint dry because it's fun.
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