Joe’s Next Door quickly becoming go-to sandwich shop in Carmel

Writer  /  Jane VanOsdol

Photographer  /  Amy Payne

For the foodie fans of Joe’s Butcher Shop and Fish Market in downtown Carmel, the addition of a to-go sandwich shop was a long-awaited event. Customers had been asking owner Joe Lazzara for an expanded menu of prepared foods and sandwiches to complement the hormone and antibiotic-free products Joe’s is known for. That wish came true when Joe’s Next Door opened its doors on September 1, 2016.

Indeed, Joe’s Next Door has garnered lots of attention over the last year. It’s been named a 10 Best New Restaurants for 2017. Their Rich Boy scallop sandwich is one of their most popular items. That’s amazing considering that there is no room for indoor seating at Joe’s Next Door. Though, in the summer months, outdoor seating can accommodate up to 50 people. Chef Jason Cornelius said that business stays consistent every month of the year.

Experienced Line-up of Chefs

Their secret is in the sauce — literally. Lazzara wisely hired a creative, experienced crew of chefs, diverse in their techniques, who make 100 percent of all their condiments from scratch in-house.

The staff is comprised of executive chef Jon Radford, formerly of The Gathering Bistro and Pub in Geist, chef Jason Cornelius, former executive chef at The Milano Inn, pastry chef Danielle McQuoid, former head baker at the Flying Cupcake, and Gerhard Remtel, formerly of Giordano’s. Together this powerhouse of culinary expertise collaborates on mouth-watering sandwiches, side dishes, salads and desserts that take ordinary fare to extraordinary delights.

“I really did my homework on this one,” Lazzara says. “As the owner, I knew what I wanted, and I pretty much turned it over to Jon, Jason, Danielle and Gerhard to run it as they see fit with a little direction from me as to where we’re going long term.”

Joe’s Next Door serves its customers in several ways:

1. Take-home. Drop in and pick up a hot or cold sandwich, salad, side, drink or dessert to take with you. Try one of the prepared meals like lasagna, enchiladas and soups. Pick up a street taco as you walk about the town.

2. Delivery. Do you have an order for your office? Look at the online menu and then call with your order. They deliver between 96 street and 146 and Michigan and River Road. Watch for online ordering coming soon.

3. Catering. Catering requires orders for at least 15-20 people and comes with a starter, salad, main course, dessert and drinks plus the set up.

Cornelius says that the average Joe’s customer loves to try new things and isn’t afraid to make suggestions.

“We probably change three to four things a month on the menu,” he says. “Much of the food is sourced locally”

Food and Atmosphere: A Winning Combination

As important as the food is to Joe’s, so is the atmosphere.

“We are like a giant family,” Cornelius says.

After years of working typical chef hours, he appreciates the 9-5 hours at Joe’s that let him be present for his family for dinner at night and getting the kids off to school in the morning. The family atmosphere extends to the customers too.

“Being smack dab in the middle of Old Town Carmel helps as well,” he adds. “Everyone who comes in, they’ve been here daily or every other day, and you’re getting to know them as friends and not just customers.”

What stands out, though, is the teamwork and camaraderie that the staff experiences as part of Joe’s family.

“The most important part of any business is the team that you have in place,” Cornelius says.

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