November 18, 2009


To John Gargiulo, founder of creative sandwich stop Swich, happiness is sharing grilled sandwiches. Swich opened in 2005 and has expanded to its second location this past year. The secret to John's success: his obsession with finding flavor combinations that are as delicious as possible. From the "Tuna-na-na" to the "Trojan Horse" to the "Chickenlegs Johnson," John has clearly found a way to incorporate his humor into the dining experience. The sandwich your Mom packed you for lunch has gotten an extreme makeover.

We can't help but join him in saying: "HEY-OOHH!"

What inspired Swich? 
Between cold sandwiches, toasted sandwiches, and grilled sandwiches, grilled are the best. There were all these places specializing in the first two, but none doing creative, tasty grilled ones. 

Do you hope to open more locations? 
Yes! As cheesy as it sounds, it makes me happy to make other people happy, and the more people I can bring happiness to the better. This is why I'm a fan of the high-five and all it's incarnations. People can't help but smile during a high-five. Have you ever high-five'd anyone who is frowning? 

Swich sandwich that describes your personality and why: 
The Hippie Chick. Wait...The Buffalo Hot Pants. Wait, can we start over? Hey-OOHH! 

How many meals a day do you eat at Swich? Usually lunch, sometimes dinner. I'm not a big sandwiches-at-night guy. 

What did you have for lunch? 
A Sidney sandwich (named after my wife, whose mom would make a similar one when she was growing up). 

Why is everything better grilled? 
Melty. Crunchy on the outside, gooey on the inside. Easy to eat. Cool ridges. 

Best thing to do while eating a sandwich: 
Concentrating on the goodness while having a conversation in between bites. It's harder than you think--like passing another car in traffic. 

Other than sandwiches, what are you interested in? 
Shrimp, Japanese game shows, creepily staring at the person in the train stopped across the track from your train until they look away, jogging, eating noodles, coming up with a name for when someone drops something or hits their arm on something and the extremely loud sound it makes is disproportionately louder than the actual impact it had, and everyone's like, "Whoa, are you ok?" and you're like, "Yeah, it was just a Badooch." Normal stuff. 

Did you illustrate the comics on your website? 
No, my friend Phil Flickinger did. He is an extraordinary man. He also runs marathons and is very tall. 

Your theme song: 
Hey! Who's that guy who haaaas that sandwich shop? 
Who's that guy with a face and the paaaants? 
Who's that guy who makes all the good food? 
I'm gonna say it's Joh-oohhnnnn..... G! 

Your motto: 
Love life. Don't take yourself too seriously. Avoid cliches. Crap... 

Favorite place to eat in NYC? 
Before 2am, Pearl Oyster Bar, 88 Palace, and various places in Flushing. After 2am, Blue Ribbon or NY Noodletown.