Make It, & Make it Better Than the Guy Down the Street
The Handcrafted Made from Scratch Sandwiches of John Bates
Make it, and make it better than the guy down the street. This is the simple philosophy of Noble Sandwich Co. Leaving his executive chef position at a prominent Italian restaurant, Austin native John Bates decided to open a sandwich shop in 2009. With the help of co-founder Brandon Martinez, Noble Sandwich Co. has now become a delicious staple of Austin’s culinary scene. “Being driven and creative chefs, our main idea was that we wanted to serve food that had the creative drive of a chef but in a format that was widely accessible to people.” With unique menu items such as smoked duck pastrami and potato chip crusted catfish, John has been applying his experience of scratch cooking and local sourcing to create some deliciously appetite inducing sandwiches.
Noble Sandwich Co’s diverse menu is gradually evolving. You can now get your day off to the right start with their breakfast menu. John always has ideas for new additions he’d like to serve. “Originally we thought we would be a very seasonal restaurant and we quickly realized that we were going to be pigeonholed by customer’s expectations. If a sandwich is successful, it starts out as a special, and if it gets good feedback, then it can eventually transition to the regular menu. I’d say three or four of the sandwiches started out as specials. One of our signature items, the beef tongue sandwich is one. That started out as a special, and we ran it a few times. We’d get people calling in and asking for it. This was way before all the press over it. Brandon and I wanted to play with the types of food we like to eat… off cuts and tripas, and we thought, let’s just see how the beef tongue does. And it just kind of took off from there. It became one of our top sellers”.
But for John, the icing on the cake is that he’s found the perfect work/life balance. “I get to actually see my wife and have dinner with my family every night now. It’s great! When we opened the restaurant, me and my wife were trying to find a better lifestyle for me. That’s exactly why this concept is what it is. I was at a point when I was thinking about how can I continue to do what I love and spend time with the people I love. That was one of the starting points when I was trying to figure out, how can I have it all? How can I see them but feel like I’m doing something I’m really proud of? Because I’ve spent so many years trying to figure out how to become a chef and to become a restaurateur, I didn’t want to just give it all up. Doing a breakfast and lunch place has been fantastic. It lets me do what I do. Do it well. But I still get to spend my nights with my family, which is really important”.
John’s culinary endeavors fit right in with the diverse culture of Austin. “Austin is kind of an anomaly in the middle of Texas. It seems to be where other parts of the country seem to land”. John articulates this diversity through his creations at Noble Sandwich Co’s. Thai chicken sandwich, oyster mushroom reuben, short rib burger… with a line up like this, we can’t wait for John’s next menu addition!