Four Ames men open Sandwich Studio food truck featuring handcrafted sandwiches, sides
It’s a gourmet grilled cheese sandwich, crafted on Texas toast with bacon, mac and cheese and the added option of house-made pesto.
The Mac Melt is indicative of the great chemistry of the food truck owners, Tameron Paulson, Zachary Bates, Care Liew and Austin Steffa, all of Ames.
“It’s the most random thing we’ve made,” Steffa said of the Mac Melt.
“That thing works though. We’ve gotten a lot of compliments on it,” Bates said.
The four owners worked together in the kitchen of an Ames restaurant for several years, and their interactions and creations there made them think a food truck was in order.
“We’ve all been working in a kitchen so long together, and we have so much chemistry together,” Bates said. “It’s always been my goal to serve my own stuff and add our own little touch to it. I just love serving quality food.”
Bates and Paulson have been friends since elementary school. Liew and Steffa are also long-time Ames residents and the four have worked together for years.
July 26, they opened Sandwich Studio, the name of which is a nod to their shared love of music, Steffa said.
“It’s a lot of American classics, and we have a little spin on some of them,” Paulson said of the menu.
For example, the Spicy BLT has the normal bacon, lettuce and tomato, but they kick it up a couple notches with house-made Cajun mayo, provolone cheese and spicy giardiniera on toasted Texas toast.
“We cook all of our meat and hand-slice it,” Bates said. “And we make all of our sides, except the potato chips.”
The chips on the menu are Old Dutch, a quintessential Midwestern brand, he said.
The truck also sells snow cones, available in 10 flavors.
Bates’ favorite thing on the menu is the Reuben.
“We cook our own corned beef and hand-slice it,” Bates said. “It’s got Thousand Island, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on it, and it’s on marble rye. But the meat on it — that is the best corned beef I’ve ever had. It’s amazing.”
“My favorite is the Italian sub,” Liew said. “It’s pastrami, salami and capicola and it has oil and vinegar on it that’s just right.”
The Italian sub is one of the sandwiches that can be ordered either hot or cold.
Steffa is known as the “meat master” in the group so it makes sense that his favorite is the Italian Beef.
“It’s one of our staple menu items. I cook that roast, then we slice it and soak it in au jus. People can dunk it too if they want a traditional Italian style,” Steffa said. “It comes with hot or mild giardiniera on French bread.”
Paulson is usually the one to hand craft the meatballs for the Meatball sandwich.
“It’s a blend of half pork, half beef. We always make everything we can as fresh as possible,” Paulson said. “It has a whole bunch of Italian seasonings and we make the marinara sauce for it.”
Sides include Homemade Cheesy Potatoes, Homemade Mac and Cheese, and Homemade Coleslaw. There’s also a Pesto Mac and Cheese that has homemade pesto mixed in and cooked with it.
“One day Care made the pesto and put it with the mac and cheese,” Steffa said.
“I saw him try it and he was like, ‘Bro, we’ve gotta put this on the menu right now,’” Paulson said.
The food truck is usually located in the North Grand Mall parking lot, just north and east of the main entrance on Grand Avenue.
Advance orders can be placed online at sandwichstudioames.square.site. The truck is open for lunch hours and dinner hours most days except Monday. The food truck also goes to special events. Check @sandwichstudioames on Facebook for menu updates and open hours.
Ronna Faaborg covers business and the arts for the Ames Tribune. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.