So, when I heard from a friend that a place in Hillsborough had amazing sandwiches (with plenty of vegetarian options!), I knew it was time for a drive.
Hillsborough is only about 20 minutes from Chapel Hill. I find myself there pretty often because they have beautiful hiking trails, restaurants and book shops.
Bona Fide Sandwich Co. is on the main drag of downtown Hillsborough, in the historic district.
I’d looked up the menu beforehand online, and I knew the decision would be difficult. The vegetarian options alone included an elevated version of a caprese sandwich, a General Tso’s tofu sandwich, four different types of “power bowls,” and a handful of saliva-inducing salads.
When I got there, the menu (which changes at least weekly) was different than what I was expecting. It was better than what I was expecting.
The inside of the shop was small and perfectly “Instagrammable.” The menu items were written on hanging chalk signs, the order pads were retro and red and blue countertops made the place feel like an All-American joint for the 21st century hipster.
I eventually settled on the “Burma” salad after a long period of deliberation, which included a few questions to the cashier. It came with sautéed bok choy, crispy noodles, pickled beet soft boiled eggs, roasted beets and an array of colorful veggies. I got it to go and suddenly, the 20 minute drive home felt a lot longer. All I wanted to do was dig into the salad of my dreams.
This salad was a flavor explosion. All of the ingredients went together perfectly. The salty, vinegary egg. The hearty greens. The crunchy vegetables and noodles. The sprinklings of mustard seeds in the creamy yolks.
It was umami in a salad…. from a sandwich shop. Bona fide.
BONA FIDE SANDWICH CO.: 104 N. Churton Street, Hillsborough, NC 27278, (919) 245-7869, bonafidesandwiches.com. Open Everyday 10:30 am – 4 pm. $.