Innovation Blog

Reinventing the Sandwich — How to Get Free R&D

By Shlomo Maital

  Visit the  Parish Café  in downtown Boston, on Boylston St. [1]  You’ll have the best sandwich you’ve ever tasted.       And to boot, you’ll learn a small lesson in innovation — the process, not the product.

   The owners of the  Parish Café  came up with a simple innovation.

  They asked the leading chefs of Boston’s top restaurants each to ‘design’ a sandwich.  The sandwich was named after the chef.

    The Paris Café menu is comprised of those ‘designer’ sandwiches.

    When a new star chef arrives,  he or she too gets their own designer sandwich.

    This is free R&D.  It employs the combined knowledge and experience of top chefs, gratis.  And it is win-win.  It gives each chef some publicity, builds business for their restaurant (“if you liked the sandwich, go eat at the authentic source”), and tickles some ego.  

     The idea cannot be patented or copyrighted.  Anyone can do the same. Tomorrow someone could open the London Café next door and do the same. 

     The only way to protect this idea is to implement or executive it flawlessly, and to broadcast “authenticity” — we are the source, the original, the authentic.

    Can this model be applied to products other than food?  I’m pretty sure it can.   Name a model of your product after a top designer — after he/she designs it for free…. 


* The Zuni Roll / $11.50   Created by: Cottonwood Café, Boston

Smoked turkey breast, crisp bacon, chopped scallions, dill havarti cheese, and cranberry-chipotle sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla and served warm with a side of homemade potato salad or cole slaw.

* Rowdy’s Famous Chicken Sandwich / $11.50  Created by: Rowdy Bessey, Chef-Flash’s, Boston

A baked, breaded chicken cutlet served on a deluxe roll with melted Swiss and cheddar cheeses, applewood smoked bacon,romaine lettuce and tomato. Sided with a homemade chipotle aioli and your choice of homemade potato salad or cole slaw.

* The Regal Regis / $12.50 Created by: Susan Regis, Chef-Upstairs on the Square, Cambridge

Sliced flank steak and portobello mushrooms in a soy, scallion and balsamic marinade. Served on Romano cheese crusted French bread with a side of homemade potato salad or coleslaw.

*  Elephant Walking on Eggs “Sandwich from the Mountain” / $11.25  Created by: Gerard Lopez, Chef/Owner-The Elephant Walk, Cambridge

An assortment of julienned vegetables sautéed with fresh goat cheese and New England eggs. Served omelette style on a French baguette. Sided with mixed greens, tomatoes and cucumbers with an herb vinaigrette.

* Sean’s Meatloaf Club / $12.75  Created by: Sean Simmons, Chef/Owner-Parish Cafe, Boston

Homemade chipotle meatloaf on Texas toast with romaine lettuce, tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon and chipotle-mayo. Served with garlic mashed potatoes and gravy.

* Veggie Wrap / $9.00  Created by: Jorge Ramos, Sous Chef- Parish Cafe, Boston

White bean hummus, tomatoes, romaine lettuce, alfalfa sprouts and crumbled feta cheese wrapped in a flour tortilla.  Served with a side of dill-yogurt spread and your choice of homemade potato salad or cole slaw.

* The Nebo / $11.25   Created by: The Pallotta Sisters, Executive Chefs-Nebo, Boston

Italian tuna on a crunchy baguette with an olive tapenade, Mediterranean aioli, lettuce, tomato, sliced hard boiled eggs, fresh basiland red onions. Served with a string bean-tomato salad.

* Mexican Meatball Sub / $13.00  Created by: Brian Poe, Executive Chef – Rattlesnake Bar and Grill, Boston

Cilantro infused Mexican meatball sandwich with a chipotle and jalepeno au jus, pepperjack cheese,red onions,lettuce and tomatoes on a toasted baquette. Served with an aguas fresca salad.

* The dbar / $13.50  Created by: Chris Coombs, Executive Chef- dbar, Dorchester

A pan-fried veal cutlet sandwich on a toasted baguette, topped with applewood smoked bacon, gruyere cheese, tomato-caper relish and tarragon-mustard aioli. Served with your choice of homemade potato salad or cole slaw.

* Egg Sandwich Lyonnaise/ $9.75   Created by: Tony Maws,Executive Chef/ Owner- Craigie on Main, Cambridge

Two eggs fried over easy and served on toasted white bread with applewood smoked bacon, sliced tomatoes, sliced red onions, frisee and dijon mustard aioli. Served with homemade potato salad.

* Steak and Blue / $15.75  Created by: Lydia Shire, Chef/ Owner- Locke-Ober, Boston

A sumptuous RARE tenderloin sandwich on blue cheese bread with roquefort butter and topped with marinated red onions. Served with mixed greens, pickled ginger cabbage and marinated red onions.

* Spicy Tuna Burger** / Market Price   Created by: Tim Cushman, Chef/Owner- o ya, Boston

Sashimi grade yellowfin tuna, finely chopped and formed into a patty and grilled to medium-rare. Served on a classic seeded burger bun with homemade spicey mayo, thinly sliced pickled ginger, scallions, mixed greens, roma tomatoes, toasted sesame seeds and a drizzle of kabayaki sauce. Sided with potato chips.


* Roasted Chicken Salad / $11.50 Created by: Mark Sapienza,Executive Chef- The Langham Hotel, Boston

Roasted chicken breast mixed with sweet garlic aioli, red onions, scallions, thyme and tarragon served on an Italian sub roll with sliced tomatoes and romaine and topped with crisp fried onions. Served with homemade potato salad.


[1] 361 Boylston St., downtown Boston.