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Art of the Sandwich: Meat & Co. Opens in New Haven

Chef Will Talamelli

Leave it to the New Haven craftsman of cocktails, John Ginnetti of 116 Crown, to make us demand more from a sandwich. His newest venture is Meat & Co., a sandwich shop located next door to his 9th Square bar and restaurant known for serving Connecticut’s most inventive cocktails. With Meat & Co., Ginnetti has turned this same discerning gaze onto the art of the sandwich.

The mission of Meat & Co. is to treat the sandwich, that familiar and humble lunchtime meal housed between two slabs of bread, with the same “contemplation and calculation” that goes into the carefully constructed 116 Crown cocktails. According to owner John Ginnetti and Chef Will Talamelli (also of 116 Crown), this means “a great deal of prepping, cooking, technique and spice” goes into each sandwich. Toss out the words "Boars Head" or $5-foot-long and they WILL be met with a grimace. In other words, leave your notion of the sad lunchtime deli sandwich at the door. The implicit part of Meat & Co.'s mission is a sense of style, perception, and culinary cool written all over its carefully constructed menu and the rehabbed red brick walls.

The "God Forbid" on the Press

The space is essentially the day time equivalent of its evening carousing neighbor, with sandwiches replacing cocktails, daylight traded for twilight, and chicness replaced with tasteful industrial touches. A long white marble bar lined with aluminum stools face a brick wall, welcoming dine-in guests. Opposite is a chalk board listing the sandwiches and their ingredients, a list of eight strong, worthy of their cheeky titles, such as the “Rick Reuben," "Equestrian," and “God Forbid.” The latter becoming the object of my affection when I visited on their first official day of business last Thursday.

The menu is certainly meat-centric as the restaurant's name implies, but a fish and a vegetable offering also compete for attention. For the meat contenders, you'll find the PLT, an elevated version of the BLT, with porchetta, arugula, tomato confit and paprika aoili. Ginnetti's favorite is the Rick Reuben, a sandwich filled with your choice of pastrami or tongue (or 50/50), "all day sauce," swiss cheese, cardamom, and braised cabbage slaw.  A bit lighter, but no less worthy of attention is the Garden Rustler, a vegetarian offering of barbeque squash, onion frizzle, and house-made bbq sauce.

Meat & Co's hand-written chalkboard menu

Recommended by Chef Talamelli, I opted for the “God Forbid,” an insanely decadent yet perfectly-balanced combination of roast beef, liverwurst, balsamic red onion jam, and Landaff cheese (a cheddar-like cheese from Jasper Hill Farms) on a Whole G pretzel roll. 

I know no appropriate way or superlative to describe how the God Forbid made me feel except to share what it instantly reminded me of–my first and only sandwich love, a hard fought acquaintance nearly three decades into my life (I'm a late sandwich bloomer). It wasn’t until a certain porchetta sandwich outside San Francisco’s Ferry Building shifted my perspective of what a sandwich can and should be. In the language of my life in food, there was a time before porchetta, and there was a time after. Meat & Co. deserves a place along this timeline, firmly next to my porchetta experience. My first Meat & Co. experience and the “God Forbid” will be imprinted onto my memory as the time when serious sandwiches finally came to Connecticut.

John Ginnetti, Owner of 116 Crown & Meat & Co.

Meat & Co. was just formalizing their hours, website and menu when I visited on their first day of operation. They will open for business with regular hours beginning Tuesday, September 17. For more information: 203.776.MEAT and


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Reader Comments (4)

116's food is amazing these days. Looking forward to M&C.

September 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRK

Thanks for your review here! I work right around the corner from Meat & Co. and I'm so excited to hear about the menu. New Haven really needs a sandwich shop like this one!

September 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTara | Smells Like Home

Ehhh. Just another run of the mill sandwich shop and run of the mill local business owners who swear their redefining something but really their doing nothing new, innovative. Where is the brand ? The history, the philosophy ? Oh yeah their is none. These guys just thought hey we can try to snag some more money with a sandwich shop while it isn't prime time bar hours.

The website doesn't exist and their .com says available for purchase. If I just bought it does that mean they can't but it ? lol that would be wrong right. Food might be good but their business is ehh in my eyes.

September 23, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEhh

This post is in response to "Ehh".

I decided to open a sandwich shop in 2011 as a pop-up shop in New Haven. The joke in our logo (est. 2012) was a reference to, that if the pop-up worked we would open a real store. The pop-up never materialized but the idea never died and when the space next to 116 Crown was vacated I immediately rented it to execute my vision. I was inspired to open a sandwich shop upon hearing the origin of the word: Company, from my Aunt Antonia who with sisyphusian tenacity, taught high-school Latin for 40 years. The word "Company" is derived from two Latin words, cum (with) and panis (bread). It comes to us from Old French. It literally means a person or persons you break bread with. Think of words like pantry and companion. It highlights the importance in ancient times of food and drink as part of a civil society.

According to Webster, it can refer to:
An association of persons for a joint purpose
The members of a partnership
A band of musical or dramatic performers
Guests or visitors
Society in general

It made me think of another historical central tenet in people’s lives, from cave drawings to pink-slime: Meat (and gathering around the fire on which it cooks). It also made me curious to how both words have as much to do with food as they do the folks eating it (in the case of meat I am of course also referring to the alternative spelling: meet). Meat not only means "food"; especially solid food as distinguished from drink or the edible part of something as distinguished from its covering (as a husk or shell) or "flesh" specifically: flesh of domesticated animals but also The Core of something or a favorite pursuit or interest. So here we see that meat is not only at the core of ‘company’ but the core of everything (especially a sandwich (both ways)).

Philosophy & Brand:
These definitions were at the heart of opening a Sandwich Shop and additionally are actually posted on the front windows of the physical space. Good meat has been headline material for years in our current society. Again going back to the hunter-gatherer civilizations ‘meat’ has been on their headlines in the form of art and oral traditions. This is at the core of the philosophy, to take good meat and good bread (the concerns & core of people (as well as the person) since the dawn of time and bring them together in a space that people could enjoy one another ('meet' with good 'company'). The double entendre is the brand, btw (meat with bread & meet with company (actually meat with company) (actually, actually meeting over bread is not only company but our company)). The connection with our evening establishment is that for 6 years I have carefully and selectively put together drinks by using the best ingredients, care, and imagination - and we are now taking the same philosophy and applying it to the medium of the sandwich. So this isn’t just another deli but a place that uses local ingredients from local folks and prepares them with care; think of a Reuben with local, house brined pastrami and braised red cabbage slaw with cardamom all bought at the farmers market from the people that grew the vegetables and the animals (the ‘company’ in this situation) as well as the bread (the other ‘company’ this time). Thank you for giving me the platform and the invitation to share all this, as I would otherwise be to self conscious of being self-aggrandizing. Please also stop in for a sandwich sometime. I would love to share lunch and talk a bit.

John Ginnetti

Meat & Co.
116 Crown St.
New Haven, CT


(totally not for sale, albeit unfinished) website:

September 25, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Ginnetti

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