I don’t want to start a war, but Montclair has several fine sandwich shops, and everyone has their favorite. The history of sandwiches in this town is full of legendary places. Remember The Cheese Shop? Fortunately, you can still get the Blackened Chicken Salad sandwich and other Cheese Shop favorites at Mercado. And Watchung Deli, oh, how I long for that whiff of bacon and vinegar when entering the shop. There are other current legends, each with a specialty, and it is safe to say that sandwich competition in Baristaville is fierce.
If you’re looking for a fresh take on breakfast and lunch, you should definitely check out Dutch’s Sandwich Shop. This charming and cozy spot on Church Street is the new kid on the block, and it’s already making a name for itself with its unique take on classic sandwiches.
Owner Amir Kamal has a passion for food, music, art and movies. The name of the shop is a tribute to his late, great canine best friend of 15 years. Each sandwich has an inspirational story, and you can even play some Ms. Pac-Man while you enjoy your meal. And while you wait, be sure to check out the work of local artists on display. It’s all about delicious eats and building community at Dutch’s.
The extensive menu at Dutch’s Sandwich Shop is constantly evolving, and the breakfast sandwiches, served all day, are particularly outstanding. Do not miss “The Dutch Daddy” — it will remind you of a leveled-up Big Mac. Or “Blame Canada,” a leaner treat with a touch of sweet heat. There are plenty of vegetarian options as well.
I recently caught up with Amir, who generously shared his story.
What inspired you to open this shop?
I grew up in NYC, trying some of the best foods in the world. Having corner bodegas open 24/7 allowed us access to some of the best foods at any time of the day. My father was in the pizza business, so it’s in my blood.
What is your background?
I came from the healthcare world. I was a director of Patient Services of the Food & Nutrition program at Overlook Medical Center, where we oversaw 500 patient trays per meal. Right before COVID-19, I moved into a sales position, but the pandemic had different ideas for me. I decided to open a little small shop in Clifton in a doctors/lawyers building and quickly outgrew that. The opportunity presented itself for me to come to Montclair, and knowing the area well, I took the leap.
Can you tell me about the Montclair food business collaborations?
Working with local businesses is key to me. We started working with Le French Dad Boulangerie because…well, they are awesome and make amazing products! Arben and Nelly are fantastic as well. Our latest collaboration is with Brick + Dough. We have partnered with them to use their gluten-free focaccia bread. It is a phenomenal product in which you can barely tell the difference between what’s GF and what is not.
We have other local collaborations in the works as well and will release them periodically throughout the year, which we are really excited to announce.
What are some popular menu items?
“The Dutch Daddy” has quickly become the #1 fan favorite for breakfast. It has gone viral — pastrami, bacon, egg and cheese on a toasted buttered brioche bun with our special sauce has won the hearts of many. The “OHANA” brings SPAM, egg and cheese to Montclair. “The Grove St.” gets you corned beef, egg and pepper jack on a brioche bun with a hash brown inside!
For lunch, if you are in the mood for cutlets, our “Chicken Continental,” “Everybody Watchung Tonight,” “The Driver,” and “The Claremont” are favorites of many. “The Philly,” “Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak” (chicken cheesesteak, mozzarella, blue cheese with a hot wing sauce), “The Van Helsing” (chopped steak with fresh mozzarella lettuce tomato and our honey garlic sauce) and our “In The Heights” (chopped cheese) are consistently among the top sandwiches ordered.
What are some coming attractions?
Dutch’s Art Studio is making its debut! We will be highlighting local artists’ work and showcasing them on our walls; each month will highlight a new artist. This is 100% a giveback to the community of Montclair and neighboring towns. To sign up, please reach out to @Dutchsartstudio or @Dutchsmontclair on Instagram.
We are also bringing “Mikey Likes It” ice cream to New Jersey, and our new ice cream sandwich will rock everyone’s world.
What else would you like people to know about Dutch’s Sandwich Shop?
We will launch the “Print of the Month,” where we will be raffling off art prints and pairing them with our sandwiches. When you buy a sandwich, you’ll receive a raffle ticket for a chance to win that month’s print. Each month we will pick a new print and new winners!
Dutch’s Sandwich Shop: 16 Church St, Montclair, NJ 07042; www.dutchsmontclair.com
Mary Connolly is also known as “Marie Fromage”. Follow her in Instagram @MarieFromage