Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, or so goes the old saw, and the menu and method of making sandwiches at the Lunde family's new Alvin Ord's sandwich shop pay strict homage to Tom Lewis, who has owned and operated the Port Royal shop by the same name for more than 30 years.
"He's perfected it," said Eric Lunde of Lewis, who agreed to show partners Lunde, his son Chris and Chris's girlfriend Corri McKenzie his assembly-line method of making sandwiches. It starts with homemade bread and melted cheese running through a heated conveyor belt before meats are added and the process is repeated. Next come the fresh accompaniments: lettuce, tomato, onion, peppers, and condiments of your choice: garlic butter, mayonnaise, spicy mustard, sauerkraut.
The finished product is wrapped in white butcher paper and tucked into a brown Alvin Ord's lunch bag.
The fresh-baked daily bread, French or whole wheat, is the canvas, if you will, for the shop's signature sandwiches: The Salvation, The Cheese Salvation and Ham Salvation.
On its run through the conveyor, it toasts just enough for extra-large helpings of cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan to melt into the bun, and once the ham, salami, or for other variations roast beef, turkey, bacon, steak or tuna are added, the flavors blend into a warm, hearty meal more filling than most sandwiches. All are priced at $6.95 for a small, $9.10 for medium, $16.25 for large.
Friends and business associates Lunde and Lewis, both Army veterans and classic car collectors, have a licensing agreement. The Bluffton shop uses the same products and purveyors as its Port Royal namesake and offers a similar menu, but it's not a franchise. "Tom is the kind of guy who's very fair," said Lunde. "He doesn't like franchises, and told me 'You should be working for yourself.'"
The Bluffton shop, on May River Road in Old Town in the space that formerly housed The Sippin Cow, is more than twice the size of the Port Royal location. With a big, pet-friendly screened porch and beer and wine available, the remodeled space is comfortable and casual.
Alexis Summer Wonser's colorful artwork painted on distressed wood lines the walls, and a Lowcountry-themed mural painted by Lunde's grandson's girlfriend, Shelbie Middlebrook, depicts local scenery.
Since its mid-summer opening, Lunde said the reception has been fantastic, with folks lined up at the counter at lunchtime and a steady trickle through midafternoon on weekdays.
Open from 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Alvin Ord's caters and makes local deliveries of 10 sandwiches or more. Call 843-757-1300.
Freelance writer Pam Gallagher was a copy editor at USA Today and a staff writer and fashion editor for the Asbury Park Press.