If you live in New York City long enough, some of your standards will change. For instance, you’ll have a completely different concept of what qualifies as a clean restaurant or bar bathroom. Time and again, I have had friends visiting from out of town go to the bathroom before me and return to tell me that I should hold it if I can because the bathrooms are not so great. Of course, I never hold it because I know my only other option is to wait an hour for the homeless person to exit the Starbucks bathroom down the street. But when I do use that same bathroom later, I look around wondering where the dead cockroach is that must have given them such a low opinion of the place. I mean, after all, there is a roll of toilet paper available. Similarly, New Yorkers develop very low standards in terms of personal space. I have heard tourists complaining about crowded subways and wonder why they can’t see that there is space for at least 20 more people. I mean, if I can pull out my paperback and read it, even if it is crammed about 3 inches from my chest, there is room for more. On the other hand, after living here for a few months, you will have much higher expectations of food served in restaurants or on the street. You will realize that most of what you ate before moving here was complete garbage. One of my favorite things about this City is that a lot of the best food is relatively cheap and sold out of food trucks, little pizza or sandwich shops, or at food festivals. This means that you can have really decadent food without paying a four star restaurant price for it. Mayhem and Stout is one of those places: they serve delicious braised meat sandwiches on local homemade bread. In the past, though, Mayhem and Stout had no permanent home, forcing you to stalk them online so you could be sure to get to the festival where they were serving their goodies before they sold out. Lucky for us they have opened a permanent storefront. The meat is incredibly tender and flavorful, but what makes Mayhem and Stout even more special is how delicious the seemingly strange pairings of sauces and pickled vegetables enhance and compliment what is already an amazing sandwich.
Don’t be afraid of their sauces: blueberry sriracha, red harissa, and red cherry mustard are amazing when paired with these sandwiches. If you are overwhelmed by the many options, order one of their “popular combinations” to start and then branch out when you become more comfortable (and you will get more comfortable because you will go there a lot).
Where it is and why I’ll miss it: Fabulous fair food at a permanent storefront; located at 2nd avenue and 38th street.