Monday, November 2, 2009

Hot Sauce Williams

7815 Carnegie Ave
Cleveland, OH 44103
(216) 391-2230

by Beau Cadiyo

During World War II, the American shipyards propelled the American Navy into a place it had never been: we had the largest navy in the world. It was a rank we’ve never surrendered. An apocryphal story says that, on the date that the US surpassed the British (who had previously held this distinction), two Destroyers, one American and the other British, passed each other. The Americans used semaphore to signal to the British: “Good morning! How does it feel to be part of the second-largest navy in the world?” The British responded, “Fine. How does it feel to be part of the second-best navy in the world?”

On October 4, 1957, when Sputnik’s first beeps made their way back to earth, somewhere, in some remote outpost, Americans and Brits were probably still arguing about which Navy was superior. But suddenly, the Russians had made their debate academic, unimportant, unnecessary. With the Russian advance in real and military science, instantly the world was talking about a completely different topic. Two men with walrus moustaches and medals, whose lecture-hall debates or after-dinner talks would once have drawn thousands, would instead forever be talking to near-empty rooms on small, private liberal arts college campuses before going back to their motel rooms, alone, to drink a small whiskey from the minibar and watch pay-per-view pornography that they’d later demand be taken off the bill so they could pay it in cash.

When last we discussed French fries on top of sandwiches, I received two responses. One was from a die-hard Pittsburgher who said that such an advance in Sandwich Science™ was thanks solely to Pittsburgh, and that any other city’s attempt was at best copying, at worst sandwich plagiarism. Another was from an English friend who thought that this was a purely English thing to do – I believe her words were, “Chips in a sandwich – what could be more quintessentially English than that?”

I leave them to their debate, which is now academic, because the Sputnik of sandwiches has been launched and its signal is coming through loud and clear.

Hot Sauce Williams has something on its menu called a Veggie Boy. It starts with a hot-dog bun, which is put inside a Styrofoam hot-dog container and split, as it would be for a hot dog. It is then stuffed with fries, and a few more fries are placed in the top of the container. They then place coleslaw on top of the sandwich, very, very delicately, and drizzle Hot Sauce Williams sauce on both sides. Then, it’s closed, wrapped in wax paper, and looped round with a rubber band to keep it together.


If it wasn’t successful, it would be like a failed Russian rocket launch that hardly makes the news, or, more likely, is covered up by both sides. But it IS successful. It is not only successful, it is amazing. It’s knife-and-fork delectable, with tender yet crisp fries, soft bread, creamy, crunchy cole slaw and the signature Hot Sauce Williams hot-and-sweet sauce in a perfect balance. It was so delicious that both Scarlet and I had to stop to savor the experience multiple times, and we’re no sandwich virgins. We were patriots in the Sandwich Wars, and our country just made massive and game-changing advances. The whole experience was helped by a turkey sausage sandwich on wheat toast. It tasted exactly like Thanksgiving, with turkey, spices, a huge amount of salt and wheat bread with the sogginess of stuffing.

I should also mention, right now, that the Veggie Boy is $1.75. A DOLLAR AND SEVENTY-FIVE CENTS US TENDER. Stand up and sing, dammit:

God Bless America
Land that I love!
Stand beside her,
And guide her,
Through the night with the light from above.
Through the mountains
And the prairies
And the oceans, white with foooooooaaaaammmmmmmmmm

Hot Sauce Williams on Urbanspoon


Mitch McFadden said...

Excellent piece.

Stuart said...

I love Hot Sauce. I like the Polish boy - the veggie boy plus spicy sausage and pork shoulder.

Was that turkey sandwich home made?

AS said...

Stuart -

No, sir - it was the HSW Turkey Sandwich!

Sally said...

My mouth is salivating. I'll be trying out the Veggie Boy this week! Thanks for the tip!

Des Ayuno said...

Stuart -

"Veggie boy plus spicy sausage and pork shoulder"?


Isn't that kind of like Yalta plus the Holocaust?