Thursday, August 5, 2010

Arnold's Awesome Pig Stand

Name: Arnold's Awesome Pig Stand
Location: 2909 Old Vestal Road, Vestal, NY 13850
Phone: (607) 201-6424
Cuisine: Barbecue
Price: Less than $10 per person

Arnold's Awesome Pig Stand is located on Old Vestal Road, near the entrance to the Town Square Mall and adjacent to one of the area's roadside farmer's markets. I drove past one day recently and I knew I'd have to make a stop at some point. I am a sucker for good barbecue and I had high hopes that Arnold could deliver the goods. Yesterday, I decided to give it a go.

I was once asked, around the time I started this blog, how big a place needed to be before I would review it. There are a lot of little hot dog and spiedie stands scattered throughout the Triple Cities, after all. I don't know what the answer is to that. If it's a place that sells food, I am pretty much willing to give it a shot, especially if they offer some kind of specialty food. A simple hot dog stand doesn't appeal to me too much. I can get a hot dog anywhere. A spiedie stand certainly generates a little more interest. Something like Arnold's, where shaved pork sandwiches are the specialty, adds something unique to the Binghamton food scene, and hence is something I am definitely willing to try (and subsequently review), despite its roadside-stand status.

I arrived around 1:45 PM yesterday and ordered one of Arnold's signature "Awesome Gourmet" sandwiches ($7.50). Believe it or not, Arnold's has a website which details their various sandwich options. This particular sandwich consisted of shaved pork, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola cheese on a toasted steak roll. I had a seat on a nearby picnic table while my order was being prepared. There is a tented area with probably a dozen tables for those who choose to eat there; I decided with it being a 90-degree day that I'd be better off eating in the air-conditioned environment of my car. After about a 5-minute wait, my sandwich was ready, and I was ready to dig in.

Sure enough, it was a good sandwich. I don't know if I had ever had a shaved pork sandwich before: it reminded me of thinly-sliced roast beef (with obviously pork replacing the beef) and was pretty tasty and slightly juicy. I thought the onions were simply grilled, not yet to the point of caramelization, but they added a sweet component to the sandwich. The gorgonzola cheese was fresh and certainly had the most dominant flavor of the three. The bread was pretty good but I think I would've preferred it not to be toasted.

I didn't expect Arnold's to blow me away, and it didn't. I did expect something different and out of the ordinary relative to what I would normally have for lunch, and it definitely did the trick. At $7.50, I found it to be a little pricier than what I'd normally expect of a sandwich, but for a specialty item with "gourmet" toppings, I thought it was a fair deal. It may not have been as "awesome" as advertised, but I am more than willing to go back again to try another of Arnold's shaved pork offerings.

Grade: B

Arnold's Awesome Pig Stand on Urbanspoon


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