At Layers Sandwich Co., the motto is delightfully and deliciously simple.
“The best things in life are between two slices of bread. That’s it. That’s what it’s about,” said Avery Hardin, chef/co-owner.
Avery and his wife, Ashley, are the co-owners of Layers, a food truck that sets up shop outside breweries all over Seattle.
“I would say it’s food, sandwiches, in particular, driven by the seasons,” explained Avery. “The menu rotates a few times a year, and we run a weekly special based on what is in season, what’s available and what we feel like making.”
It’s an approach borne of the couple's love of food. Ashley spent years in restaurant operations and working as an in-demand food photography. Avery has been a professional cook for some 20 years. The two first met during a restaurant photoshoot and moved to Seattle when Avery got an opportunity to work for Renee Erickson at Bar Melusine. But, through it, all one food remained squarely in focus.
“[Avery] actually sat on the couch one day after coming home from work and said, ‘I just want to open a sandwich shop. That’s all I want to do’. I was like, well, I don’t know if we can make a sandwich shop happen because it’s financially a little more expensive, but maybe we can do a food truck,” recalled Ashley.
Now, if you want to find the truck, just look for the line. Folks queue up for a taste of weekly seasonal specials and staple sandwiches, like the Precocious Piggy, made with slow-roasted pork belly. Another favorite is the CBR, a Layers take on the fast-food staple Chicken Bacon Ranch. Let’s just say Avery and Ashley’s version takes it to another level with roasted chicken, thick bacon, oven-dried tomato, arugula, and homemade ranch. I can personally confirm it is a legit flavor bomb. One other pro tip: don’t sleep on Ashley’s banana walnut bread. It’s toasted on the griddle, finished with flaky sea salt and ridiculously delicious.
“We’ve basically created the food we would have done in our respective restaurants; we’re just doing it as sandwiches,” explained Avery. “It’s a little bit more approachable, it’s at a lower price point for people and they’re able to experience all the things they would at a fine dining restaurant.”
Yes, Avery and Ashley approach each sandwich like a composed dish. The secret to creating the perfect bite? Well, as you might expect, it’s all in the layers.
“We think a lot about this stuff. Where we apply the aioli, where the greens go, where the ham hits, and, really, how it hits your tongue. It’s a totally different experience for every sandwich. We take every one of those layers super seriously,” said Avery.
“And the placement on the sandwich, too,” added Ashley. “I feel like if you ate the sandwich how we gave it to you, top-to-bottom versus upside down, you’re going to taste it different each way. So, we definitely think that stuff through.”
Suffice to say, this isn’t your average food truck or sandwich shop, but Avery and Ashley are fully aware sandwiches are almost universally beloved. At Layers, they’re serving nostalgia and a little bit of who they are between two slices of bread.
“I think being able to tug on the heartstrings of people and be like ‘man, I ate that when I was younger, ‘that is the best ranch I’ve ever had,” explained Avery. “When they appreciate the quality of ingredients or the time and attention we’re putting into every single sandwich, that’s what we want people to experience.”
“We are just excited to serve people and serve them our food because it all comes from the heart.”