The Hippo


Jun 3, 2020








The West Coast Garden at Nashua Garden. Emelia Attridge photo.

The West Coast Garden

The Nashua Garden, 121 Main St., Nashua
Assignment: The veggie sandwich. This sandwich must be completely vegetarian without any meat, though dairy and egg ingredients are allowed. Choice of bread, cheese, vegetables, spread and toppings is entirely up to the sandwich chef. The sandwich must include an element of texture or crunch (whether from the contents, like sprouts or alfalfa, or the bread).
Recipe: Vegetarian sandwich on a sesame seed braided roll. Assembled by first stacking tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, banana peppers, shredded carrots, portobello mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar and chopped black olives. Then the sandwich is heated on the grill with a slice of cheddar cheese so that it melts. The sandwich is topped with alfalfa sprouts, slices of avocado and baby spinach with a mayonnaise spread with salt and pepper for seasoning.

The West Coast Garden
The Nashua Garden, 121 Main St., Nashua


 There isn’t anything wimpy about the sandwiches at The Nashua Garden, where each one is stacked with layers of ingredients.

“I feel like we try to do that with most of our sandwiches. The way we layer them gives each bite a different flavor in there,” manager Zach Dion said. “And it’s weird, I’ve been here five years and still, every time I make a sandwich and cut it in half, I’ll always look at it first to make sure it’s up to par before I give it out.”

The West Coast Garden is no different. It starts with a sesame seed braided roll and is assembled by stacking tomato slices, cucumbers, green peppers, banana peppers, shredded carrots, portobello mushrooms marinated in balsamic vinegar and chopped black olives. Next, it’s put on the grill with a slice of cheddar cheese to melt on top. After that, alfalfa sprouts, baby spinach and avocado slices are stacked on top with a mayo spread and salt and pepper for seasoning. At the end, it stands about two-and-a-half inches high.
“There’s a lot on this,” Dion said. “[The shredded carrot] adds a good crunch to it for sure.”
Most of the sandwiches on Nashua Garden’s menu feature meats like blackened pastrami, honey maple turkey, roast beef and barbecue chicken. But the menu’s three vegetarian sandwiches give another meaning to the eatery’s namesake. The Doc Ellis comes with marinated portobello mushrooms, provolone cheese and “all the veggies;” The Spaceman has roasted red peppers, hummus, romaine lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers, cucumber, sprouts and olives, which is similar to the third sandwich, The Garden, made with romaine lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, pickles, peppers, roasted red peppers, sprouts and olives.
“We do have a lot of people who obviously don’t eat meat. It’s definitely a good option for us to have. Even people that do eat meat, sometimes they just want [something different],” Dion said about the vegetarian sandwiches.
The West Coast Garden is like all three combined, and then some.
“We kind of just tried to jam a lot in there,” Dion said. “We have the basic veggie sandwiches. We’ve really wanted to try and do something with the shredded carrots — we don’t do that on anything else — and the baby spinach. We were pretty excited about it.”
The visual appeal is a big part of sandwich crafting at The Nashua Garden, Dion said, but quality and fresh ingredients are key too. 
“The Boar’s Head meat and cheese, it’s just top of the line,” Dion said.  “The bread’s a key part of it. I feel like what most people come for is the bread.”
The bread is baked and delivered daily from La Ronga Bakery in Somerville, Mass., and vegetables are delivered each morning.
The Big Poppy is The Nashua Garden’s most popular sandwich. It’s made with turkey, pepperoni and Muenster cheese and heated on the grill.
“That’s the biggest one. People that have never been here before, somebody will mention to them, ‘Oh, you got to go to the Garden and get a Big Poppy,’” Dion said. “For the most part, people who come here are creatures of habit — they stick to what they know. They’ve been coming here for years and years and they always get the Boggs or they always get the Cracker Jack.”
What makes a gourmet sandwich?
Zach Dion, manager at The Nashua Garden, Nashua: The quality of the ingredients. The way you put it together. We clearly take pride in crafting sandwiches; we don’t just toss it all on there and cut it in half. We like to really make it nice to look at and nice to eat. 
As seen in the March 20, 2014 issue of the Hippo.

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