Not Going Anywhere

Main Bar Sandwich Shop Turns 60 This Year

And it still serves a mean sandwich.

By Cooper Levey-Baker April 26, 2018 Published in the May 2018 issue of Sarasota Magazine

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Main Bar’s “famous” Italian sandwich

Image: Chad Spener

The Main Bar Sandwich Shop turns 60 this year, and there’s little reason to think it won’t last another six decades. While businesses around it have launched and crashed, this dim, narrow, cozy diner has kept on keeping on, in no small part because of the loyal regulars who pop in multiple times a week.

​On one recent Tuesday, men and women stop by to chat with fellow customers, while folks sitting in stools at the long bar up front share photos of their new golden retriever with servers who know them by name. Few even consult the menu; they just plop down, ask for what they want and inquire about the soup of the day.

​One order comes more frequently than any other: the “famous Italian” ($7.75). The sandwich is so popular that staffers here half-prepare them ahead of time, piling up crusty bread with the salami, ham and provolone, topping it with the eatery’s piquant giardiniera and stacking them near the prep counter near the front window. It’s easy to understand the sandwich’s appeal. The bread has just the right thickness to it, with a crunchy exterior and a soft interior that soaks up the oil and vinegar, and the blend of chopped peppers, onion, garlic and spices provides a pleasant pop.

​There’s a lot more to the Main Bar menu, which runs long with all kinds of sandwiches, wraps and salads, and my guess is you already have a favorite. The Main Bar has been here for decades, of course, and you’ve surely already been. This is a reminder to go again soon.

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