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Thursday, August 4, 2016

OK, (Ted) you were right.

I apologize.  We the people of Graze apologize.  We did something bad, and some of you got mad, or at the minimum were slightly miffed, and some of you went to the worst place... extreme disappointment.

Here is what we did: we stopped serving our signature pastrami sandwich on a hoagie roll and switched to rye bread.  Greater crimes have been committed that have received less condemnation.

Here is the backstory sandwich reader.  It takes us a week to make our special pastrami, with all the brining, and seasoning, and roasting.  It takes a couple of weeks to make our house fermented sauerkraut.  The russian dressing takes like ten minutes.  And we purchased the hoagie rolls from a local bread producer.  That hoagie was really good, and myself, and Graze, and customers were happy.

We care a lot about the pastrami.  It is our baby.  It has been on the menu since day one.  I think it is the best pastrami I have ever had in Washington State, and its a toss up with Kenny and Zukes from Portland Oregon.  Even if stylistically they are distinctly different.

Late 2015 we ditched our bread producer to make our own torta bread, and wheat bread, and while we were at it we also started making our own hoagie roll.  The torta was a big improvement, better quality, house made, it saved us lots of money.  The wheat bread was awesome, better quality, house made, it saved us a little money.  But the hoagies... worse quality, house made, saved us a tiny bit of money, and a total pain in the hind quarters to make.

So we switched the hoagies from our producer to in house.  Customers didn't notice.  Customers didn't complain.  But the Graze version was clearly not as good as the producer version.  We tweaked the recipe, for like the 20th time, and that was after countless variations prior to making the switch.  I bitched and moaned about the differences.  Our Graze hoagie was in my mind clearly inferior to the producer version.

And guess what?  No customer complaints.  Zero.  Not even a customer recognition that the hoagie was different.  It bugged the shit out of me.  If something is wrong, typically the word gets back to me pretty quick.  I knew something was wrong, or I believed something was wrong, yet nobody was sending that message.

So I sent our production team on a mission to make a rye loaf.  It was good.  Not amazing, but a very solid rye.  It was easier than the hoagies for the cooks.  It cost less.  The quality was good and always consistent.  I ate a number of test pastramis.  It was delicious, same pastrami, same kraut, same russian dressing, only the bread was different.

And guess what?  Lots of complaints.  One very regular customer and pastrami loyalist, gave me a stern and disappointed talking to.  He refused to eat it.  Even created a special pastrami on sourdough version to get his fix.  We got a couple of bad reviews online.  The poor counter people had to live with unhappy customers.

So we switched back.  Hoagies are back! (like six weeks ago) To do this we also had to make me happy.  So the cooks went back to work, testing hoagie versions again and again.  We finally got it right, or at least close enough to right.  The hoagies are good.  The pastrami sandwich is back to its former glory.

We are sorry, (Ted) you were right.  Thanks for eating sandwiches.


Trish Auchmoody said...

I have to apologize for not passing this on previously, as I had no idea that this was such an issue for you guys. My husband, a New Yorker, takes his pastrami sandwich pretty seriously. He is a big fan of the latronka...and the rye bread made him love it MORE! He is one that will be sad to learn of the hoagie return.

John and Becca said...

Such is the danger. I figured there would be some disappointed rye lovers out there. This seems to be the best way to go for us. Thanks for eating sandwiches.

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