Paul Taylor, beverage manager and partner at the Columbia Room, is obsessed with sandwiches. He talks about them all the time. Rankings of sandwiches, what constitutes a sandwich (not a hot dog, that’s for sure), one mayonnaise to rule them all, bread texture, and meat to bread ratios. When he's not talking Columbia Room or cocktails, it’s probably sandwiches. And he takes trips, homages to the sandwich, whether to Turkey & Wolf in New Orleans, LA or the Italian Store in Arlington, VA.
With Columbia Room partner Derek Brown, he started dreaming of opening a sandwich shop. It just made sense. Then the pandemic hit. And, like everyone, he and Derek scrambled at the Columbia Room to retain the few employees they could and keep the business afloat. Down 80 percent of sales, but not out, they decided it was time to do more than make cocktails—they wanted to do something for the community, including those like Paul’s little sister, Margaret who is a Naval Lieutenant stationed aboard the USNS Comfort. She’s a first responder to the crisis and has been isolated, working exhaustingly long shifts. She hasn’t had time to cook and or even order food.
It was an easy decision: make sandwiches, very good sandwiches, Paul’s favorite sandwiches, and — for each one we sold — we would donate a sandwich to essential workers on the front line and people without access to food. Get a Hero Be a Hero was born. And with the help of our partner, The Power of 10 Initiative, we’ve been able to hire back laid-off employees and start production. (The Power of 10 Initiative is a project spearheaded by Chef and Restaurateur Erik Bruner-Yang, dedicated to maintaining restaurant operations while keeping their employees and communities safe during a time of crisis.)
This isn’t about profit. It’s about doing what’s right. It’s about doing what we love and making a difference in a community we love, or, as Paul calls it, a hug between two pieces of bread. Order now!
Paul Taylor is a partner and the beverage manager at the Columbia Room, an iconic cocktail bar founded by Derek Brown in Washington, D.C. Now, with Get a Hero Be a Hero, he takes on a new role: chef.
This role suits Paul well, as he has worked nearly every position in a restaurant or bar, including the kitchen. Paul loves to cook and has studied techniques from many famous chefs, but the food he has become most immersed in is sandwiches. That’s right, sandwiches. He has an abiding love for sandwiches and even goes so far as to call himself an expert on the subject. For years he’s wanted to turn that study into a sandwich concept. Before the pandemic, he was already testing recipes and working on a business plan. When the pandemic hit, he had an idea.
Paul’s little sister, Margaret, is a Lieutenant in the Navy's Nurse Corps stationed aboard the USNS Comfort anchored in New York City. She’s a first responder to the crisis and has been isolated, working exhaustingly long shifts. She does not have time to cook or order food, and there has been a general lack of those delicious things that nourish and comfort us. Paul thought about his concept and realized he could use it to help others like his little sister. Every time you order a sandwich from Get a Hero Be a Hero, one sandwich is donated to either first responders, medical staff, or those in need.
And the sandwiches are good. Drawing from creative sandwich shops like Turkey & the Wolf, Paul uses both a reverence for classic sandwiches, with touches of his signature irreverence. Texture is the element he loves to play with most in his creations, from his homemade pickles, to adding chips for extra crunch, to the proper layering of mortadella slices so that each bite is perfect. He brings the same love of experimentation that he learned as beverage manager at Columbia Room to his new craft.
Paul lives in Virginia with his wife, Kaitlynn, and dog, Franklin. And if he wasn’t making sandwiches, he’d probably be eating one. Most likely a good Italian hero accompanied by an Americano to sip, all while Action Bronson serenades him in the background.
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