With the recent opening of a new sandwich shop at Buccan on Palm Beach Island, one has to wonder: does Clay Conley ever stop cooking?
Conley, who just a few months ago announced he'll be opening a new Italian restaurant in West Palm Beach, recently brought life to yet another lifelong dream. Starting last week, now he's also delivering hand-crafted baguette sandwiches for a hungry lunch crowd.
Dubbed simply the Sandwich Shop at Buccan, the small eatery opened Wednesday, December 17. Already, it's been a huge hit with lines out the door and a famished patronage ready to scarf down anything coming out of Conley's modest prep area.
The 300-square-foot space is nothing more than a storage closet turned four-seat lunch counter, what was once a back room at Buccan. Conley decided to carry out his mission close to home. The shop utilizes a small prep counter complete with an open-faced roasting oven and sandwich press. Here, Conley and an assistant pump out orders with both speed and precision.
"Since I was a young chef, all I ever wanted was a sandwich shop," said Conley in a recent interview. "So I decided to do it right here, at Buccan."
It makes for an easy transition for the chef, who goes from wrapping sandwiches by day, to prepping for the night at Buccan, all in the span of a few steps. The process begins each night, prepping dough for the 130 or so baguettes that will be used for the day's orders. Their baked fresh early each morning, and are gone by late afternoon.
Aside from the bread, many of the ingredients for the menu's two dozen or so hot and cold sandwiches are sourced from Conley's two restaurants -- Buccan and Imoto -- and sell for $9-$11 apiece (with the exception of a lobster roll priced at $22). Other ingredients are prepared especially for the sandwich shop, including a whole roasted turkey for the turkey club; a homemade pork pate for the bahn mi; and a 48-hour sous-vide short rib the shop's favorite hot sandwich.
With just a week in business, already the shop has been a huge success. Service starts at 11 a.m., and by 3 p.m. the bread is gone, and they close up shop. If you don't make it before they close, you can always try again the next day. The shop is open seven days week.
We sampled several of Conley's favorite creations, including his short rib sandwich. A combination of 48-hour sous-vide short rib brushed with an apple-based glaze -- the same juice used to make the apple slaw. It's topped with two-year aged cheddar and a fresh horseradish sauce. The whole ordeal is pressed to a melty, hot mess and wrapped in white deli paper.
Another favorite comes off the cold list, the Asian-inspired bahn mi, a perfect marriage of Conley's own sous-vide pork pate, fresh-whipped chicken liver mousse, pickled vegetables, and a spicy mayo aioli sauce.
The Sandwich Shop at the back of Buccan (across from the gas station) located at 350 South County Rd. in Palm Beach.
Nicole Danna is a food blogger covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on Clean Plate's Instagram.