In the small “L” shaped room where you order sandwiches, I’ve been eyeing Star Provisions‘ muffuletta. There is just one slice left and it’s a late lunch, so things are disappearing right and left. My wife expresses interest in an entrée item; item is gone from the shelves. As I point to the sandwich on the menu, the last slice of muffuletta disappears. So I order Star Provision’s reuben instead.
Star Provisions is about one block south of the intersection of 17th Street and Howell Mill Road. You’ll know it by the collection of cars moving in and out of the lot and the apparent inability of there to be any parking spaces in that crowded environs. But understand, it’s more like a bee hive than a static entity, so turn in where everyone else is, and drive cautiously. An opening generally appears.
We have been there once, but far too late for any sandwiches. The sandwich shop was closed. So we headed back, to grab sandwiches and then pick up a new slice of high end cheese from Tim the Cheese Man.
The reuben was a rich sandwich, with excellent meats and good bread. Sauerkraut hung out of the sandwich as I ate. If I had been handed this on the streets of New York City I wouldn’t have complained.
The banh mi strikes me as an interpretation, rather than the whole unearthly goodness of the Vietnamese sandwich. The thing about good banh mi is timing is crucial: fresh bread drives the sandwich. Arriving even a half hour later affects the flavor of the sandwich, because the bread is older. This one, like the reuben, is being driven by excellent ingredients. My daughter, of course, loved her sandwich and the fatty chunk of pork she was eating.
This was an experiment on my wife’s part, the falafel sandwich. She gave me a small bite – emphasis small – of this ‘wich. The chickpeas were small round bits in my bite, not a paste. It was more akin to eating a clingy chunk of grain than, say, the creamy goodness of hummus.
My wife liked her pizza slice so much she was giving bits of it to my daughter. My daughter’s reaction was predictable: “This would be so much better with some pepperoni.”
Perhaps the only downside of this shop is location. Realistically, people from my neck of the woods can only get here during the weekends. That said, I’d suggest to people who love food, and just want to get lost in the rich visual delights of this shop – amazing eye candy here – should take the time to head south down I-85, exit at 17th street and then turn right.
Verdict: Perhaps the best known, best loved provisions shop in ATL, it does a fine sandwich. Highly recommended.
1198 Howell Mill Road
Atlanta, GA 30318
Reviews of Star Provisions – there are many – include these: here, here, here, here, here, here, here. John Kessler’s readers discuss various banh mi options here.