Matt & Marie's offers new take on Italian sandwich

Posted: July 18, 2014

 NICOLE MARIE CAPP, 26, and Justin Matt Sapolsky, 28, both of Center City, are co-founders of Matt & Marie's Italian Sandwiches on 18th Street near Arch. The two are Wharton MBA graduates and were finalists in the 2013-14 Wharton Business Plan Competition. In 2013, Matt & Marie's began as a catering business but this year shifted to a brick-and-mortar store that opened on June 30. I spoke with Capp.

Q: How'd you come up with the idea for Matt & Marie's?

A: Matt and I both wanted to open up a place in the fast-casual space with Italian sandwiches. We started brainstorming in 2012 and worked with a chef at New York Vintners to flesh out recipes and come up with modern, fresh takes on toppings and sandwich components.

Q: Startup money?

A: We bootstrapped it with our own resources.

Q: How'd you land here?

A: We did a walking tour of city neighborhoods for several days. Logan Square is underserved by food and we have 3 million square feet of office space in a one-block radius.

Q: You began catering?

A: In summer 2013, we catered over 1,500 meals doing the sandwiches we have now. At the end of the day, the response was great and we immediately began working on a store.

Q: What makes Matt & Marie's sandwiches different?

A: We have seven signature sandwiches, all modern Italian and each costs $8.50. If you look at our salamis and cheeses, they're made by artisans in very small batches each year. Our sharp provolone is from Claudio's. We make our own pickled fresh toppings. At most Italian delis there are many salamis, cheeses and multiple combinations. We have seven with a perfect balance of the five flavor profiles: sweet, sour, salty, bitter and umami.

Q: The most popular?

A: The Italian Stallion, people love 'em. It has fennel salami, coppa and Genoa salami. It's topped off with sharp provolone, house-made pickled peppers and onions and a nice pepperoncini aioli to give it a kick.

Q: Who are your customers? What's the profile?

A: Mostly working professionals in the area. All ages. We've also had families, moms bringing in their kids. We've had workers who are working on the new Comcast tower.

Q: How big a biz?

A: We have seven full-time employees, not including Matt and myself. Matt and I share management duties.

Q: Biggest challenge?

A: This used to be a TD Bank and had been vacant. Not everyone knows we're here yet so we've had to hit the streets and spread the word on social media.

Q: What's next?

A: We'd like to open more stores in Philly. We really like the Jefferson Hospital area and also University City.

Twitter: @MHinkelman


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