Sponsored by Miss Vickie's®.
In the age of social media and online reviews, it's no longer enough for a restaurant to just serve a good entrée. Today's diners are discerning, and to create and maintain a loyal fan base, restaurants must ensure the entire dining experience is great from start to finish. This means restaurants have to ensure that consistency, quality, and great flavor are a part of every visit, and this extends not just to entrees, but to sides as well.
That's why Miss Vickie's launched a challenge for restaurant owners to find the perfect sandwiches to pair with the farm-inspired flavors of Miss Vickie's chips. Two of the restaurants that undertook the challenge were D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches and Milio's Sandwiches.
D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches
D'Angelo was founded 1967 with a goal of serving only high-quality ingredients. The brand started with a single store called Ma River's Sub Shop, located in Dedham, Massachusetts. Over the past five decades, however, the restaurant's commitment to high-quality offerings concept has resonated with guests, and it has grown. D'Angelo now operates as a chain with more than 130 locations, serving customers from Maine to Connecticut. Even through the brand's tremendous growth, it has maintained its same commitment to high food standards.
This commitment extends to every item served at D'Angelo, from its fresh-grilled chicken and steak, all the way to the sides the brand chooses to serve. "You've got to compete on every single level," says the D'Angelo team. "It's the experience when you walk in and order your food, as well as the quality of the food that sets a restaurant apart. Every piece counts."
For this reason, D'Angelo takes its sandwich and chip pairings very seriously. "The most obvious pairing for a great sandwich is a beverage and chips," says the D'Angelo team. "We could do a great sandwich and a modest chip, but if we're grilling chicken and taking that second longer, everything else has to support that from the chip to the beverage. The whole experience should all be seamless. We aren't cutting edges."
This is what makes Miss Vickie's a strong brand partner for the restaurant chain. From the thick cut of the chips to the flavors, the D'Angelo team notes that Miss Vickie's chips are a perfect match for the brand's sandwiches.
For the challenge, the D'Angelo team worked with Miss Vickie's Smokehouse BBQ Flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. They matched these chips with D'Angelo's Korean BBQ Steak and Cheese sandwich, featuring freshly grilled sirloin steak topped with Korean BBQ sauce, fresh cilantro, creamy Sriracha coleslaw, and American cheese.
"Our Korean BBQ sauce has a complex soy and red chili profile," says Anthony Bartoloni, digital content specialist for D'Angelo Grilled Sandwiches and its sister brand, Papa Gino's Inc. "The Miss Vickie's chip adds a smoky, sweet barbecue note, as well as adding a dimension to the peppery heat of the sauce."
Though this is the brand's ideal pairing, the team also notes that D'Angelo serves a wide variety of global flavor profiles, and all the Miss Vickie's farm-inspired chip flavors give the brand and its diners plenty of other pairing options, too.
"There are plenty of local chip partners, but we need a well-known premium chip," the D'Angelo team says. "We believe we're a step above our competitors, and we believe Miss Vickie's is a step above other chips."
In 1985, "Big Mike" Liataud opened two hot dog stands in Chicago. Though he expected the submarine sandwiches he also sold to be a nice additional offering, he found that his sandwiches were outselling the hotdogs. He moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and founded Big Mike's Subs in 1989. In the early 2000s, the company changed its name it Milio's Sandwiches and began franchising.
The chain now operates about 40 locations all founded on the same concept of selling fresh sandwiches made of fresh ingredients—especially bread. "We consider bread 'day-old' at four hours," Liataud says. "We bake it fresh in-store every four hours."
This attention to detail is what sets Milio's apart from its competitors. The Milio's team also ensures that side items they serve are of the same high quality as the food made in house.
Though Liataud says that Milio's could make its own chips, it was important to his team to embrace products from other companies that already have a great reputation and similar values. Because of Miss Vickie's strong reputation, quality, and commitment to serving no artificial flavors, Liataud feels these chips are a perfect fit for his brand, and he has served them in his restaurant for close to 20 years.
"We felt Miss Vickie's has a stronger brand presence that could bring more people to our table," Liataud says. "We've had tremendous success from this co-branding. We take a lot of time to make our sandwiches, so it only makes sense to pick great-tasting chips to pair with them. Miss Vickie's has great flavors, a great crunch, and it's a high-quality product that looks great in our stores."
For the challenge, Milio's worked with Miss Vickie's Jalapeño Flavored Kettle Cooked Potato Chips. To come up with the pairing, he met with members of his team to ask them what they thought the best sandwich match would be.
"It was exciting to sit down with the team and hear about their favorites," Liataud says. "We voted and ultimately decided our #9 Italian Club was the perfect pairing."
This sandwich features capicola ham, Genoa salami, smoked ham, provolone cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, gourmet Italian dressing, and mayonnaise. Liataud says that the freshness of these ingredients blends well with the crunch and spicy kick of the chips.
Liataud says that Milio's will continue its partnership with Miss Vickie's for the foreseeable future and that he's excited about the way the chips pair with his brand's sandwiches. "Our customers love Miss Vickie's chips, and we do, too," he says. "We're thrilled to be a part of the Perfect Pairing challenge and to introduce this combination to our customers. We think it will be the