Thinking Outside the (Lunch) Box in Seattle

hardins in their truck

Tongue-twisting menu items like “Precocious Piggy” and “Supercaulifloweristicexpialidocious” are enough to get people talking, but it’s their mouthwatering, seasonally driven sandwiches that made Layers Sandwich Co. a local crowd pleaser.

The Seattle-based food truck is run by husband-and-wife team Avery and Ashley Hardin. The couple met in 2011 while Ashley was assigned to photograph Avery, the new chef de cuisine at Arts and Letters Café, for a local magazine in Santa Barbara, CA. The couple soon bonded over their mutual love for food.

The Hardins eventually relocated to Seattle, and it was there in the Emerald City where Avery brought up opening a sandwich shop. Ashley had the idea of launching a food truck instead. To test the waters, the duo opened a sandwich pop-up out of their apartment.

turkey bacon sandwich

“People would buzz in, take the elevator to the sixth floor and follow their noses towards the smell of toast,” Ashley said. “We followed up with two more successful pop-ups at Harry’s Fine Foods, a neighborhood eatery. From there, we took some time to build our business plan and build a truck and planned on taking the city by storm.”

Layers Sandwich Co. opened in October 2019. While dealing with the highs and lows of starting a food truck business, finding a place to park and a failed transmission, the Hardins soon faced the unforeseen challenges brought on by a global pandemic.

“It was the ultimate game of pivots,” Ashley said. “We closed for a short period of time, then we opened with different procedures to hopefully keep ourselves and customers safe. It was crazy and it was messy, but we made it work. Our community showed up and we showed up, but most importantly, we didn’t give up and actually learned a lot along the way that shaped who we are today within the business.”

layers truck

The third member of the Layers Sandwich Co. team is Regina, the truck. The Saved By The Bell inspired exterior features bright, bold hues and the company’s logo, so it’s no wonder Regina stands out among other food trucks in the area. But what truly sets this mobile eatery apart is not only the hardworking and creative couple running the kitchen and service, but the delicious, uniquely named sandwiches on their menu.

“Avery likes to revisit dishes he’s made or enjoyed and basically restructures them to fit between two pieces of bread,” Ashley said. “Each sandwich is a composed dish, with a lot of care and intention. Every ingredient is shown attention and layered on in such a way as it hits your tongue, you are given the ultimate sandwich experience. Beyond that, the seasons really influence what we serve at any given time. We have a couple of staples that never leave the menu, but it’s always revolving and evolving.”

Layers Sandwich Co.’s menu board usually lists five sandwiches to choose from. According to Ashley, this gives customers a chance to come back and try a new one each time.

Salami-Pate sandwich

“We recommend starting with the ‘Precocious Piggy,’ which is our mainstay,” Ashley said. “It’s made with Carlton Farms slow roasted pork belly, pepper jelly, chicories, pickled onion and aioli on toasted brioche. It’s an umami bomb.” The Hardins are also proud of their warm banana walnut bread, griddled to order with a delicate balance of sweet and savory in every bite.

“For us, sandwiches are nostalgic. Growing up we ate them almost daily,” she added. “There’s texture, everything is in one bite and you can hold it in your hands. There’s comfort in all of those things.”

You can find Regina parked near one of six breweries around Seattle, from Greenwood to Ravenna and Capitol Hill to Ballard. Layers Sandwich Co. posts a weekly schedule on Instagram every Monday and on their website.

AUTHOR

Marc Cuenco

Marc Cuenco is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer with over 10 years of experience covering pop culture, food, fashion and lifestyle. A healthcare professional by day, Marc spends his free time taking photos of his puppy Chandler and exploring L.A.’s diverse food scene.

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