Review: Simple Simon’s perfects bread-to-filling ratio

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Minutes before closing, Simple Simon customers still get in their orders.
Minutes before closing, Simple Simon customers still get in their orders.

Oct. 3, 2014

Photo by Josa Lamont | Features Editor

Article by Travis West | Editor-in-Chief

What are the essentials to the perfect sandwich? Slightly toasted sourdough bread, fresh lettuce and arugula, juicy tomato, creamy mayonnaise and smooth avocado balanced with perfectly cut turkey and savory bacon, makes a sandwich that checks every box.

It may sound like a simple sandwich, but in essence, that is what Simple Simon’s is all about; building the perfect sandwich with fresh ingredients while keeping in mind the golden rule to sandwich making … bread-to-filling ratio.

Tucked away in a thriving downtown Riverside, Simple Simon’s Bakery and Bistro is feet away from the Mission Inn on Main Street. And unless you know someone who has been there, you may have not heard of the bistro.

I was first taken to Simple Simon’s by my father a number of years ago, and since then, my visits to the local sandwich shop have been accompanied by first-timers whom I recommended it to. That is what makes this place so special, it is only known because of word of mouth.

Parking in the downtown area can be an issue if you arrive during lunch hours, but there is a parking lot located on Magnolia in between Sixth Street and Mission Inn Avenue where you have to feed the meter, except on weekends when parking is free.

Speaking of lunch, unless you have plenty of time, I recommend that you go to Simple Simon’s after 1 p.m. Local business workers flood the charming bistro and lines can sometimes stretch outside the doors.

The rustic décor, minimalistic style and exposed brick gives the space an east coast bistro feel incomparable to any other place in the city. Paper menus are available, however, a huge chalkboard above has every menu item listed while adding to the uniqueness of the space.

Because I frequent Simple Simon’s, I arrived at 2:30 p.m., right after the lunch rush and placed an order for my favorite sandwich, the BLAATT. For my side, I had their deli potato salad.

After about a 10 minute wait, I picked up order and made my way back to the table.

As stated earlier, the ratio of bread to filling was perfect. The crunch on the sourdough bread gave the sandwich an ideal texture. The smoothness from the avocado balanced well with the crispy and savory bacon.

The lettuce, arugula and tomato provide acidity and moisture while the turkey rounds out the sandwich with its subtle hint of salt.

On the side was my softball size of deli potato salad. The potatoes were cooked perfectly and just had the right amount of bite to them while not being raw.

Mixed in were pieces of bacon, cubed size cuts of cheddar cheese, green onions, a crack of pepper and sour cream to hold it all together.

It is a potato salad so good that it will have you trying to replicate it in your own home. Not that I have tried … okay, I have.

The combination seems so simple, but the potato salad bursts with flavor.

To end my meal, I took a freshly made peanut butter cookie to go. The cookie is moist and literally melts in your mouth having just the right amount of sweet.

Be sure to get to Simple Simon’s early because they close at 5 p.m. daily.

Simple Simon’s will have you thinking that you can make the food yourself at home, but after you do, you’ll find yourself wondering how they made a sandwich so simple yet so unforgettable.

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