Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Earl of Brand-wich


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We've all heard that story about a hungry Earl . . . a British statesman who was too consumed with card games to be bothered with formal knife-and-fork meals. His solution: ordering lunch between two slices of bread, sans plate. Only one hand was required for eating, while the other hand was free to continue on in gambler's fashion. The idea caught on quickly and by accident, and pretty soon, fellow card players were saying, "I'll have what Sandwich is having." And voila--a new phenomenon was born.

. . . But did you know that the Earl has his own sandwich shop?

Well, his family does, anyway.

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Welcome to the Earl of Sandwich restaurant, a modern-day food chain that represents the story of how the sandwich came to be (that's right, it's not a myth). Interestingly, the restaurant isn't just a name stolen by random entrepreneurs to make a quick buck. It's actually owned by the Montagu family, otherwise known as the descendents of the fourth--and perhaps most famous--Earl of Sandwich.

I first encountered (okay, it was my only encounter so far with the restaurant) the Earl of Sandwich restaurant on a family vacation I went on as a kid. It's been quite a while, but my memory was jogged when I saw this story on CBS Sunday Morning this week:


Very interesting video--worth the four-and-a half minute watch.


As soon as I heard the name and saw the logo in this video, I was taken back to a time when I, too, walked through those doors, ate a delicious sandwich, saved the sticker off my perfectly-wrapped sandwich because it was unique and would serve as a memento of my vacation to--Florida, was it?


I was nine. And I still have the sticker in a box of mementos and souvenirs.

I'd take a picture to show you as proof if I could successfully navigate through some assorted memento boxes we keep in the basement (they've been there since we moved, and I have yet to find the shoebox with my old Disney World memorabilia). Will you settle for an internet photo?

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Don't worry, it looks pretty much exactly the same as this.

You know what's interesting? I remember to this day what the inside of the restaurant looked like, what the logo looked like, how I loved the sandwich I ate and wished there was an Earl of Sandwich back at home. But until I watched the Sunday Morning story, I couldn't remember that I experienced all of this during my first trip to Disney World. The only reason I know that's where I was is because I've only been to Florida twice in my life, and the video above said that the chain owns several Disney locations. Don't you think something as ordinary as a quick lunch would get lost among the excitement of Mickey Mouse and Cinderella's Castle?

Leave it to The Earl to create a great brand and everlasting impression that stayed with me for over fifteen years. That's quite a feat--how many sandwich shops do you think you'd remember after one visit during your childhood? It has obviously stood out (at least to me) in a world filled with Subways and Quiznos.

Speaking of sandwiches, it's time for lunch (good thing I have some bread and stuff to put on it). Bon appetite, everyone!

1 comment:

  1. I remember that restaurant too! It was inside a Disney village -- it was called "Downtown Disney" or something like that? Anyway, I remember the sandwiches were affordable (which is rare inside any Disney establishment) and very DELICIOUS! Okay, "EARL of SANDWICH," when are you opening in our town?

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