Getting to Know: Sandwell


Maybe vegetables.
More sauce.

We all know how to make a sandwich. There’s something primal about them that’s ingrained in us at a very young age. For many of us, they are the first meal that we ever learn to prepare for ourselves. For Andy Gottlieb, founder of Sandwell, they’re even more. For him, sandwiches are a lot like magic and the spell can be a deceptively simple incantation that conjures up community and comfort. 

“Sandwiches always draw me in because they are a magical combination that can be simple but complex at the same time...[Sandwiches] can be something approachable and accessible. I’ve always appreciated that,” he says.  

Nestled in Manhattan’s Upper West Side since November 2023, Sandwell has carved out a niche for themselves as a hearty and “healthyish” dining option for the local community but it was a winding road to get there.

A Solid Foundation

Sandwell isn’t Andy’s only job, not by a longshot. When he’s not slinging sandwiches, he is the CFO of Blackfoot Hospitality, a mainstay of the West Village dining scene since 2006 with their quartet of well-regarded restaurants: Little Owl, Mary Lane, The Clam, and Market Table. That might sound like a lot to balance but for Andy, it’s provided him with a support system that is unmatched. “It’s great. I enjoy that role and that team is my family as well,” he says. “[Sandwell] is an opportunity to try something a little bit different.”

Andy always felt drawn to the food industry. He worked in restaurants since he was a teenager as a way to pay for school. He ended up studying finance and accounting in college and then worked for a big investment bank. But at 21, he felt that passion pull him back toward the kitchen. He gave up his bonus after college and went to culinary school instead. 

“I figured ‘the bank’s not going anywhere, let’s try this,’” he says. “And I just loved it. I loved every aspect of it.”


The seeds of Sandwell were planted from Andy’s own experiences trying to find a decent lunch in New York City.

“I've often will find myself walking through New York City going to different places I'm trying to find a sandwich that fits this balance of excellent quality, fresh, well prepared, approachable, affordable, but healthy-ish,” he says. “That's kind of the main thing that we're known for. Healthy-ish is a bit of a calling card. Because if I have a super healthy green salad, there's something in my DNA that gets a slice of pizza over two hours later.”

Sandwell fills that gap between super healthy and unhealthy. By taking fresh, quality ingredients and using them to recreate flavors that some might associate with unhealthy food, Andy and his team and Sandwell have created a menu that satisfies your stomach without stretching out your waistband.

Their regulars in the local community are a big part of that - using the Sandwell menu as a jumping off point to make their own customizations to perfectly fit their preferences. After all, that’s the beauty of sandwiches.

“People, in a great way, take it and make it their own. They take it and they make it personal,” says Andy. “We have a bunch of regulars who have their usuals and sometimes it’s something right off our menu but something it’s tweaked to be exactly what they want. It’s awesome because it’s flavors that people have a deep connection to and we love that.”

Sandwich Philosophy

After working in kitchens for so long, Andy has had his fair share of sandwiches. Whether it’s a snack of some of the trimmings from a main dish that a chef just sent out that would otherwise go to waste or scrounging up leftovers to make a midnight snack, sandwiches are inherently improvisational. But they typically have similar building blocks.

Sandwell bakes all their own bread. They cure all their own meats. They use ingredients that lack the harmful preservatives found in so many restaurants today. Their philosophy is that if you start with great ingredients then you have the essential building blocks for a great sandwich. 

One of Andy’s favorite examples of this is their mushroom cheesesteak. It features mushrooms, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions and provolone cheese, slathered in a cacio e pepe cheese sauce made with pecorino romano, pecorino toscano and a peppery base. The mushrooms are inspired by the first porcini mushroom hunt in Bordeaux, France where the mushrooms were foraged then sauteed in butter with garlic, shallot, parsley and truffles. “It’s not an imitation steak but it is very earthy and it kind of transcends the mushroom,” says Andy.

In a way, Sandwell is all about transcendence. Not just transcending the preconceived notions of their ingredients but of the potential of sandwiches as whole.

Sandwell is still in its early days but Andy is already hearing from his customers asking when he’ll be expanding to other areas of New York. That will come down the line but for now he’s focused on the community that has rallied around him.

“Being in a great community is awesome because other people really get to be part of the fabric of what we do. It really helped me realize that the businesses that are successful really focused on their customers and listened to them, adapted to their needs and that’s something that we really embraced here,” he says

Those are the words of someone that loves what he does and is thankful that he gets to do it every day.

So if you’re ever in New York City and you’re looking for a little magic, head to Sandwell. No matter what kind of sandwich you’re in the mood for, we’re sure Andy Gottlieb has an ace up his sleeve.

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