Thursday, April 12, 2012


What a perfect little neighborhood sandwich shop. Everyone should live around the corner from a place like this. It's almost worth moving to the Art Museum area and dealing with the parking. Ok, maybe it's not THAT good. But you get the point.

RyBread, on the 2300 block or Fairmount Ave, puts out some pretty solid creations between two slices of bread. Based on a cross-country trip by the owner Ryan (get it? Rybread?) and his girlfriend across the U.S., the sandwich names are stops along their journey. Santa Monica, Denver, Napa, Sante Fe, Tuscon & Alexandria are a sampling of the menu. Some evoke the spirit of their namesakes - the "Hollywood" consists of hummus, cucumber, red onion and shredded carrot, or the "Buffalo" panini with buffalo style chicken and gorgonzola cheese. Mostly though, they are just fun memories attached to a sandwich - not sure what roast beef, cheddar & horseradish mayo have to do with San Antonio, still tasty though.  

No frilly cappuccino or lattes here. They have coffee. With cream and sugar if you're a fancy pants. And it's very good. They also have iced tea, Sally. I think my favorite thing about this place is their chips. No, they're not handmade in-house. They are in a bag, from Route 11 in Virginia, kettle cooked, and come in awesome flavors like Dill Pickle, Chesapeake Crab and Mama Zuma's revenge. Good luck with the Mama Zuma's - they're flavored with habanero & bar-b-q and are stupid hot, and will leave your lips tingling. 

Seating can be a bit of a problem in the winter months. With only space for 8 or 10 people inside, it can get very tight. There are tables out front on the sidewalk for people watching with your lunch & coffee, and a little area out the back that doesn't offer much in the way of ambiance, but it is peaceful. 

Savannah - turkey breast, brie, whole cranberry sauce, mayo on multi-grain bread 
Rybread also has the advantage of being right next door to the BeeHive salon, where the wifey gets her hair cut. This must provide a steady stream of husbands looking to kill time with coffee and the Saturday paper. It's become my go-to spot during hair appointments.  

I have yet to make my way through the entire sandwich menu, but I'm working on it. Of the ones I can speak to, the Savannah was the best. Roasted turkey breast, hand sliced and layered with a sizable hunk of brie and smothered with cranberry sauce on multi-grain bread. The brie & turkey go so well together. Bring in the cranberry and all of a sudden it's like thanksgiving dinner in France. Très bien. 

Lake Tahoe panini - tuna fish, cheddar, on multi-grain bread, + tomato & bacon 

The Lake Tahoe panini, was ok, but definitely not my favorite. Tuna fish with cheddar and some optional tomato & bacon. It was substantial to say the least - probably weighed about a deuce, deuce and a half. There just wasn't much flavor to be had. It left me wanting something more, but I was too full to try. 

San Fran panini - prosciutto, mozzarella, roasted roma tomatoes, pesto on sourdough

Much better was the San Fran. Another panini, this one on sourdough (nice little nod to the bay area) with melty mozzarella over prosciutto, roasted tomatoes and a schmear of pesto. This thing sings California and hits all the notes. There's nothing especially inventive on the menu, and that's more than ok in my book. Rybread is not pushing the culinary frontier, but the simple elements and quality ingredients deliver the goods. 

Food Baby Rating: Twins! 

RyBread Cafe
2319 Fairmount Ave
Philadelphia, PA

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