MANHATTAN – Dozens of hungry—borderline hangry— Upper East Siders packed the sidewalk outside Coddiwomple, a brand new sandwich shop on Third Avenue, waiting upwards of 40 minutes for a free sandwich as part of the restaurant‘s grand opening weekend promotion.
Charlie, who is part of the Coddiwomple management team, took the lead role. In a white polo and blue apron he acted as part carnival barker, part comedy show warm-up act, working the crowd as he worked to get dozens of sandwiches to their rightful owners.
By 11:30, dozens stood on the sidewalk on Third Avenue between East 92nd and 93rd streets, all waiting and watching Charlie’s every move and listening closely to every word.
One older woman complained she had been waiting since 10:50, a full ten minutes before Coddiwomple opened on Sunday. As soon as Charlie heard, he made sure she was on her way free sandwich in hand.
The day wasn’t without it’s drama. First, when a man appeared to take a sandwich intended for someone else— the apparent trickery going unnoticed until it was too late and the tasty bite was out of sight. After that Charlie actually checked the ID of the next few people who picked up sandwiches to ensure no shenanigans—however, more drama was right around the corner.
“Jason Lee,” Charlie announced— two men approached— both said they had ordered the same sandwich. One of the Jasons, as his friend explained, wasn’t a Jason at all— he didn’t like giving his name on apps and ‘Jason Lee’ was his standard fake.
Thankfully, Charlie defused the situation by checking confirmation numbers on the orders— all done through Coddiwomple’s website using a QR code stationed out front— it turns out the sandwich belonged to fake Jason Lee all along.
Among the crowd were Sharon and Julia, friends in their twenties who lived nearby were excited by the new place to eat in the neighborhood, and the prospect of a free sandwich.
“We are both young professionals looking for ways to get free food,” Sharon told Upper East Site. Julia agreed, noting how the two had come on Saturday but Coddiwomple had run out of free sandwiches for the day. Their moxie and commitment to free sandwiches was inspiring.
As for the sandwiches themselves, Coddiwomple offers eighteen different mouth-watering choices that promise to take you on a culinary journey around the globe.
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From the Sicilian Caprese with fresh mozzarella, roasted tomatoes and red peppers and the Nova Scotian’s tuna salad to the Savannah Smash’s chicken salad and the English Toasty, a traditional grilled cheese, Coddiwomple offers something for everyone and encourages diners to ‘travel by sandwich.’
We sampled the Greek Goddess, packed full of Mediterranean deliciousness including rich artisanal hummus, tangy and crunchy pickled red onions and radishes, tomato, cucumber, greens and balsamic vinaigrette. It’s normally served on seven-grain Pullman bread, however ours was on ciabatta— and it didn’t disappoint.
Stop by and say hello to our new neighbors, because even if you don’t want a sandwich, it’s still fun to say Coddiwomple— a word meant to describe traveling purposefully but without a destination— so be sure to make it your destination.