How the Grinder at Gwen Achieves Transcendent Sandwich Perfection

Every meaty secret revealed
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“Why can’t we make a sandwich like that?” wondered Amy Taylor, the pastry chef at Curtis Stone’s Hollywood restaurant and butcher shop, Gwen. Taylor had been watching an episode of the Food Network show Guilty Pleasures, in which Stone (her boss) waxed poetic about his favorite L.A. sandwich: “The Godmother” at Bay Cities in Santa Monica. The famed sub provided inspiration for Gwen’s “Grinder,” a lunchtime hoagie sold at the butcher counter Tuesday through Saturday. “We wanted to channel that classic Italian American deli tradition,” says Taylor, “but make it with the best charcuterie, the best bread, and the best produce.” At $12, Gwen’s take is a bit pricier than its inspiration, but considering that every component is crafted on-site, we think Stone’s new favorite might also be ours.

Meet the Meats

These aren’t your standard cold cuts. Gwen enlisted the help of decorated Pittsburgh chef and butcher Justin Severino to help perfect the sandwich’s quartet of house-cured Italian meats: classic mortadella, smoked ham, spicy Calabrese salami, and thinly sliced prosciutto.

On a Roll

A sandwich’s greatness hinges on bread. So the kitchen engineered a soft semolina hoagie roll sprinkled with sesame seeds, which add a nuttiness that makes it pop. The bread is baked fresh in the morning, then toasted to order.

Dressing Up

It takes more than meat and cheese to make this sub sing. Along with mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onions (both raw and pickled), you’ll find a hot pepper spread made of jalapeños, Fresnos, and Peppadews, plus a squirt of herbed red wine vinaigrette.

Say Cheese

For the classic Italian sub, only provolone will suffice. Gwen bumps it up a notch by using an extra-sharp, 12-month-aged variety that provides a tangy bite.

Gwen is located at 6600 West Sunset Boulevard, Hollywood. 

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