It’s important to always explore your own “neck of the woods” before venturing off to others. When was the last time you headed down to the South Wedge district? Do you even know where it is? Well, fear no more, you are about to be enlightened and struck with an epiphany. The South Wedge neighborhood is a hodgepodge of restaurants and bars, tied in with historically significant residences and businesses.

Recently, I felt the urge to explore several restaurants in this charming district and, while finding them all amiable and homey, it wasn’t until I discovered Open Face Sandwich Eatery, Inc. that I couldn’t find myself leaving.

At first site, the location of the restaurant is petty. Located on South Avenue between Hickory and Gregory Streets, I nearly drove right past the unpretentious venue. You enter and your first thought is “where is the rest of it?” Within one’s peripheral vision, the entire restaurant is in sight.

Written on its simple paper menu, the Open Face Sandwich Eatery prides itself on the fact that it introduces “bold flavors and healthy alternatives?featuring new twists on lunch and dinner dining.”

With a very ornately decorated setting and bohemian ambience, including an entire wall of exposed brick – people pay extra for the unfinished look in New York City – I was overcome with a familiar and comforting feeling. The restaurant technically fits 12 people – six tables for two people each – however, the size certainly adds a unique character that would be lost in a grandiose locale.

Their drink menu is also unbelievably diverse, with potables from tonics, phytotherapy – or herbal – teas and a surfeit of other teas to Saranac sodas and an extensive espresso bar.

For less than $10, I ordered a sandwich tasting, which allowed me to try two sandwich halves including ginger carrots, baguette chips or a simple salad. I decided to try a mouthwatering combination of roast beef, spread with horseradish mustard, havarti cheese and mixed greens on sourdough. The second half of my sandwich meal consisted of soft brie topped with sweet apricot preserves and sliced pear on a baguette with a simple salad to act as a transition of tastes between the two sandwich halves. Simply phenomenal. Better yet, no more than 10 minutes later, I had my entire meal in front of me ready for a steadfast, delectable experience. Never have I allowed my taste buds to immerse themselves in pure ethereal sensation.

If you would like to experience a quality, intimate restaurant, delve into Open Face, and you will be introduced to one of Rochester’s many hidden secrets. You’ll probably see me there.

Buitrago is a member of the class of 2007.

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