This entry represents the convergence, in a way, of several separate narratives.
First of all, there’s a sandwich called The Rob at The Independent, my favorite neighborhood watering hole in Tampa. The sandwich is named after a former bartender who still haunts the place’s patio from time to time. I’ve eaten The Rob on several occasions and noted how the salt on the bun complemented the roast beef, and how the bun (most importantly) didn’t become a dry or flavorless obstacle in the way of the sandwich filling. That’s my main criterion for the success or failure of bread and bun.
Secondly, for reasons not worth delving into, I haven’t eaten many sandwiches this year. But recently I got curious about the origins of The Rob after uncovering the startling truth about Buffalo Wild Wings from Wikipedia. Originally called Buffalo Wild Wings and Weck, and later branded with the shorthand “bw-3,” the chain adopted its current moniker in 1998. With that, the last vestige of the third W in the original name was gone. (Note: I feel like one of the last people in the U.S.A. who still refers to Buffalo Wild Wings as “bw-3.”) As regular readers of this blog already know, “weck” is kummelweck, a salted, herby sandwich bread rarely seen outside Western New York.
Finally, I also learned from this research that The Rob, with which I’d had a long relationship, is a classic example of a beef on weck. The carraway seeds are an interesting novelty, and the thin-sliced roast beef and touch of horseradish make for a great sandwich that I recommend heartily. As a bonus, it goes well with virtually every beer I’ve tried at the Indy. On my latest visit, I paired it with a 24 oz. Steigl Radler grapefruit.
I haven’t seen the human Rob around The Independent in months. I hear he’s there early in the evenings and during the day on weekends (times that I’m rarely there). I decided to forge on sans origin story, and the history of The Rob sandwich remains a topic for another day.