Photos by Lauren Spoth
18 Buffalo St, Hamburg, NY, 14075
Cuisine: Panini’s, deli sandwiches, wraps, salads, baked goods, tea, coffee, espresso; Vegetarian options
Great Harvest has since closed
They say “the best bread makes the best sandwiches” and they are absolutely right. Craving a no-fuss delicious lunch one day we decided to go to the Great Harvest Bread Company, a locally owned and operated bakery-franchise located right in the of the Village of Hamburg. Not really knowing what to expect (besides bread), it’s safe to say this place went above and beyond my expectations. When you walk in the front door you immediately become a bit more relaxed. There’s a self-serve beverage cooler, tables that welcome you to seat yourself, and a handwritten chalkboard menu with dozens of options for both food and specialty drinks. The menu is constantly changing depending on what the special for the week is and what hasn’t already sold out, everything is made fresh after all, so make sure to ask what’s available. Behind the counter are rows of the day’s bread options that are baked right in the back, and if you’re feeling overwhelmed or have any questions on what bread will pair best with your sandwich they are more than happy to help. And take it from me, they know what they’re talking about.
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When we got there it took a full five minutes or so to completely absorb the menu. With so many options to choose from –not including bread choices- the decision on what to get wasn’t easy. We ended up ordering three sandwiches, a Sunburst Chicken Salad on Garlic Cheese Bread, Sicilian Melt Panini on Garlic Cheese Bread, and a classic Reuben Panini on Rye Bread (hey it’s March, Reuben’s are festive). We sat ourselves down and enjoyed the vibe of what was around us: there was lots of local artwork on the walls, homemade recycling bins, and café-style tables that just made you feel good. Great Harvest Bread Co. takes time with their food, and the no-rush atmosphere was refreshing and contagious.
The Garlic Cheese Bread was an A++ pick in the bread department. They basically took garlic bread (delicious) and cheese (also delicious) and created a soft, complimentary hybrid of bread that took two good-on-their-own sandwiches to the next level. The Sunburst Chicken Salad Sandwich ($8.31) was made up of tarragon chicken salad and lettuce and the whole thing was stacked 3 inches high. Don’t know what tarragon is? I didn’t either. According to my good friend Emeril Lagasse/the Food Network’s website, tarragon is “a narrow, pointed, dark green leafy herb known for its distinctive anise-like flavor that is widely used in classic French cooking for a variety of dishes as well as many sauces, the best known being béarnaise”. With that said, you can imagine how good this sandwich was.
The Sicilian Melt Panini ($8.95) consisted of ham, provolone, pepperoni, tomato, and basil vinaigrette. This bad boy was also stacked about 3 inches high and the classic tried-and-true ingredients combined with that homemade bread was truly phenomenal. Is anyone else’s stomach grumbling or is it just me? Last but certainly not least, the Reuben Panini ($8.95) had all the traditional ingredients: sauerkraut, corned beef, and Swiss cheese on traditional rye bread with 1,000 Island dressing. I’m not sure if it was a result of the homemade bread but this was one of the best Reuben’s I’ve had. Unlike most Reuben’s this one wasn’t greasy, stood about 2-3 inches tall, and half of it was large enough to fill me up and then need a box for leftovers.
If you don’t want to run out the door and grab one of these sandwiches right now you are much stronger-willed than I. Next time you crave a sandwich (or Panini or wrap or scone or…you get the point) make your way over to Great Harvest Bread Co. With so many fresh and rotating options to choose from you’ll never get bored, but you will always be full.