Spanish for Sandwich
Beverly Stephen - September 2014
New York City—If Francisco Javier Cernuda has his way, the montadito will soon be as familiar as a sub or a hero. Cernuda is CEO of 100 Montaditos, a Spanish chain making inroads in the United States with its high quality, low priced bite-sized sandwiches.
Cernuda, who’s now based in Miami, was in his glory on a recent visit to Manhattan, where he was holding court in the Bleecker Street location near New York University during Colombia’s World Cup victory that prompted the lunchtime student crowd to erupt in ear-splitting cheers. “Welcome to Spain!” he enthused, pleased to have such an authentic backdrop to present a selection from his 100 sandwich flavors. Many are typical Spanish bites—Serrano, Manchego, garlic pork loin, anchovies. Others, such as Philly steak with mozzarella, tomato, and pesto are geared to the American market. “We make adaptations,” he says. There are even dessert sandwiches, such as whipped cream with Oreo cookies.
Most of the products are imported from manufacturers in Spain, including the bread, which arrives frozen and is baked to order.
The prices are a student magnet—$1.50 to $3 per montadito. Obviously, it takes a few to fill a growing boy. “In Spain, one customer eats three. Here, a customer orders five,” Cernuda reports. “But they drink more alcohol in Spain. Here, no one drinks at noon.” And many customers supplement their orders with cured meats and cheese or tapas, such as croquetas. It’s a quick trip to Spain for nostalgic travelers.
Currently there are 312 locations worldwide, 18 in the United States. The plan is to have 22 in the U.S. by year’s end.