Daniel Bell

Thug Sandwich has changed the game in Harrogate, applying the skills and creativity picked up in restaurant kitchens to the humble sandwich…and we love it!

What’s the idea behind Thug Sandwich?
I was getting to the point in my chef career where it was time to start looking for head chef positions, I was however getting disillusioned with the industry and was getting tired of working evenings. I had no work life balance and barely got to spend much quality time with my fiancée. At the time I felt that there was a gap in the market for a takeaway sandwich shop where everything was done properly, no shortcuts or compromises and with some quirky twists and indulgent snacks. When we started searching for a potential site it felt like fate that this shop was for sale, a place that I’d walk past everyday on my way to my job at the time. I’d always felt that the location was being underutilized.
What did you do before you started bossing sandwiches?
For the past decade I’ve been working as a chef in various hotels and fine dining restaurants both in Harrogate and my hometown of Durham, and before that I was a barman and a waiter.
The sandwich may be a humble food, but a lot of people get it wrong. what’s the key to a good sandwich?
I don’t think you can go wrong with a sandwich, even I sometimes have a hankering for a cheap cheese savoury sarnie from the supermarket! But I think the key is good quality fresh bread and don’t be shy with the fillings.
What’s your ultimate sandwich?
You may or may not know that we have a not so secret menu, the antithesis being the THUG Club, a triple stacked toasted sourdough combination of the pulled pork and KFCaeser special sandwiches. It’s a monster and proving quite popular for those in the know.
You use lots of local suppliers, how important is that and are there any we need to know about?
I like to use local suppliers to ensure freshness of ingredients but also to support local businesses, we’re all in the same boat at the end of the day so it’s good to put faces to names. My baker, Sandor Bagameri of SB Artisan Bakehouse deserves a mention. This guy eat, sleeps and breathes bread and without him I think I would of struggled to build the reputation we have in such a small space of time.
There’s always something exciting on the Thug Sandwich specials board, where do the ideas come from?
I started writing the menu ideas back when I originally planned on getting a food truck, so a lot of the options have a street food influence as well as just good hearty food that I’d want to eat myself. We try to keep the specials on trend while sticking to the tried and tested classics that you’d expect to see in any sandwich shop.
What’s next for Thug Sandwich?
We’re only six months old, so there isn’t anything major planned as we’re still finding our feet and trying to discover what works. We definitely like the idea of a second site outside of Harrogate, but also of doing pop-ups which expand on our current offerings and showcase our ability to cater for outside events.

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