Three years ago, a snowy scene of Open Face’s front door graced the first issue of the South Wedge Quarterly. Owner Jared Valentine, who has kept cooking since that gentle snowy day, said last February was the worst month he’s ever had, but once the weather got better, business bounced back. Even though Open Face has many regular customers, he’s still surprised by how many people walk in who have never even heard of it – after eleven years!
The standard selection includes Sandwich Tastings of 2 sandwich halves (add .50 for the open face or open melt); Soup, Sandwich & Side; Soup, Salad & Side – with choice of those famous ginger carrots, simple salad or pickled beets. If a recent daily menu didn’t hit the spot with caramel cheesecake, pineapple- kiwi Italian soda and house lemonade (for those of us who can’t stand that weird pinkish stuff) teas, coffees and the seasonal pumpkin spice latte: fresh pumpkin puree blended with spices and maple syrup with choice of steamed milk, topped with whipped cream and caramel drizzle – there’s more. From his bake haus there’s a (gluten free) peanut butter chocolate chip, cookie sandwich with tiramisu filling, chocolate frosted drop with ganache, snickerdoodle and original cookie split. If that makes you want to eat your dessert first – so be it. The soups are vegetable potato and cauliflower chowder; the sides, zesty pick- les, pumpkin pudding and coleslaw with caraway Dijon dressing.
How does he stay so slim? Hmm. Ends up, Jared is a fitness buff who works out every day and goes to two gyms to box. He’s been boxing for about a year and says it’s a great stress reliever.
It took him a year to fix up the shop before opening the business in April 2004. In his first profile in SWQ, he admitted to having little food in his fridge and no time to read. I don’t know if he’s fulfilled his quest to travel the countryside in a coach, but if the menu on the website is any indicator, I doubt it.
As for the scooter club that used to meet there on Wednesdays, the Negative Image Scooter Club (NISC) outgrew the spot. Jared said when the Wedge was dead, they had plenty of room to park their scooters on the street but once business along South Avenue picked up, they had to find a bigger parking lot. And, yes, they still meet on Wednesday on Park and Goodman.
Jared went to Nazareth, Monroe Community College and RIT for industrial design – house products and furniture – and is just now getting back to that. What an interesting guy!