July 10, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The operators of a California sandwich shop have come to New York and have opened an eatery in Long Island City.
Joel Miller and Dave Fernie, who operate a single shop in Los Angeles called E Stretto, have opened up a counter inside Dutch Kills bar, located at 27-24 Jackson Ave. The new venture, which started July 1, is called Troppo Stretto – which means “too tite.”
Troppo Stretto offers customers oversized deli sandwiches that contain thinly sliced meats, homemade dressings, herbs, and cheeses stuffed between thick ciabatta bread. Also on the menu are salads, sides and various beverages – including alcoholic drinks from the bar.
Miller and Fernie, both aged 36, have entered into a partnership with Richard and Patricia Boccato, who own Dutch Kills bar. They have a similar arrangement in Los Angeles.
E Stretto, which was launched in January 2019, operates out of a bar in downtown Los Angeles that the Boccato’s also own.
Patricia Boccato said that Miller and Fernie have done a great job at their west coast location.
“We have a really good relationship with them and thought they would be a good fit for New York,” Boccato said.
Boccato hopes Troppo Stretto and its specialty sandwiches become a permanent fixture at the venue. She wants to provide the pair with a small space on the ground floor while the bar expands into an upstairs area. The upstairs will be completed by the end of the year, Boccato said.
Miller and Fernie – who are both based in California but have been jetting between coasts in recent weeks – said that their take-out model works in the COVID-19 climate. They believe their menu can also strike the right tone with the neighborhood.
“We want to serve those bolt cut sandwiches that everybody loves and elevate them with healthier ingredients, locally sourced meats and really good bread that we get from Balthazar in Manhattan,” Fernie said over the phone.
Some of the “tite” sandwiches include the Spicy Salami, which contains Calabrian chile spread, honey, arugula, lemon, Parmesan and chives; the Deli Boy, which contains mortadella, shredduce, mustard, and pepper jack cheese; and the Ill Papa which is stacked full with three types of sliced meats, manchego cheese, and house-made giardiniera.
There is also a ‘Chopped’ salad sandwich that is filled with greens, chickpeas, olives, tomatoes and layered with salami and provolone cheese. They are also looking to make pastas and will soon offer a brunch menu.
The eatery gave away 100 free sandwiches on its opening day and sold out each day for a week, they said. The duo said that they have exceeded their expectations so far.
The pair said they are trying to build a relationship with the neighborhood where people’s names and orders are remembered.
“We want people to come and have good interactions with the staff, where they can share a joke and feel stoked about the food and the experience,” Miller said.
“We want to be like Cheers but with slightly less alcohol… or just as much,” Miller jokes.
The counter opens every day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., or until they sell out. Orders can only be made by going to the establishment– although they will use online apps Caviar and DoorDash in the future.
They said that walk-ups are part of their strategy of getting to know the community in the early phases. They also hope to provide catering for larger events.
Troppo Stretto employs four workers and Fernie is moving to New York permanently in a few weeks to ramp up operations.
Fernie said he lived in Brooklyn for about six years before he moved to L.A. in 2009.
“I still have pretty deep roots there so I’m looking forward to getting back to New York and rolling out our brunch menu,” he said.