HomeNewsBusinessKnuckle Sandwiches has flavors that smack customers right in the kisser

Knuckle Sandwiches has flavors that smack customers right in the kisser

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Knuckle Sandwiches, a restaurant that has served sub-style sandwiches and fries for 11 years at 1149 Broad St., is not an average sandwich shop. The evidence is in its name.

Owner and chef Joshua Detchemendy gleaned the name for his gourmet sandwich shop from an expression his father, a boxer while serving in the Navy, used: “I am going to give you a knuckle sandwich.”

He said he also heard it growing up among five brothers and from his Portuguese mother, who is also one of his culinary influences and who he said changed the idiom to “pow to the kisser.”

Detchemendy spent decades working his way up in various quick service and fine dining restaurants in the city and internationally. He trained and then apprenticed under some chefs in various fine dining establishments in Atlanta and Augusta. He went from bus boy to dishwasher to cook to chef and then to restaurant owner in his career.

He also owned a few other restaurants in town before opening the mostly to-go-order Knuckle Sandwiches. For many years, the restaurant was an overnight one for the local bar and club scene, but in recent years, he expanded the business, opening during the day for business people, college students and others.

The Philly cheesesteak sandwich. Photo courtesy Facebook.

Approximately 80 square feet and a new front were added approximately two years ago.

The restaurant itself has boxing décor and work from local artists on its walls and has a selection of gourmet sandwiches – information about which is painted on board signs on the walls. There is a paper sign and menu in the front window at present, but he has ordered a new version of the old exterior sign.

Detchemendy said the sign will be ready in 2022 and was commissioned from local designer and artist Jason Craig. The sign and some of the restaurant’s concepts are based on John Sullivan, an Irish boxer from 1910 who was the first American athlete to make a $1 million. That older sign, which is also on his business card, featured him holding a sub sandwich in each hand. The new sign will have some additional features.

Detchemendy said he does not pay attention to what other restaurants in the area are doing or their prices.

“Everything is based on how I do business and make the food as delicious as possible,” he added. 

He does not spend any money on advertising and relies on word-of-mouth for his business.

“If the food is good, people are going to eat in the restaurant,” he said.

As far as staying competitive with the many restaurants in the city, he said he does not have to work very hard to do that at this point.

“The food is delicious. I have so many regulars,” Detchemendy said, adding he knows it is the food that brings customers to the restaurant and little else.

It wasn’t the ambiance that drew his early customers.

“In my first two or three years, the front of the restaurant did not look this good. It had green paint on the walls and disco lighting. People were coming for the food anyway and told me I needed to improve the place’s look. After the restaurant started doing really well, I improved it,” he said.

The three cheese sandwich at Knuckle Sandwiches. Photo by Ron Baxley Jr.

Some of the hot items on his menu include a three-cheese sub with baby portabella mushrooms, onions, and tomato – the least expensive option on the menu along with the devil dog. The cheese combination on the sub is gooey and acrid along with the tomatoes. The baby portabella mushrooms provide texture for the sandwich and are seasoned and have been marinated in a sauce to provide more flavor. In addition, the fries are crispy and lightly seasoned, and the sandwich and fries come with a creamy Greek-style sauce.

The PBR-B-Q is Knuckle Sandwiches’ bestseller. Photo courtesy Facebook.

The most popular sandwich hands-down is the PBR B-Q. The pork on the sandwich is tender, marinated and well-seasoned and is smoked and blackened, he said.

Detchemendy said the sandwich was inspired during his time cooking in restaurants in Spain and visiting restaurants there. He said they take great care in raising the pigs for pork there, using chestnuts and rosemary for them. He was amazed at the process they go through to marinate, smoke, grill and slice their meat.

The PBR B-Q comes with a sauce that is spicy with peppers and a little sweet and also comes with fries. All the sandwiches come with fries.

Another item on the menu is The Knuckle that comes with pulled pork, blackened chicken, cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese and bacon. The meat is all smoked and grilled.

Detchemendy said customers tell him he has the best Philly cheesesteak in the city of Augusta. It has a white cheddar blend, Swiss cheese, roasted peppers, grilled onions, sliced beef, and marinated mushrooms.

 “My recipes came from family meals served to employees at the places where I used to work. Others were inspired by fine dining restaurants where I was employed,” the chef and owner said.

According to his Facebook page, he also occasionally has homemade tres leches cake available. He also has a variety of other items on his menu, including but not limited to burgers, wings, chicken sandwiches, sausage dogs, and a veggie sandwich – all prepared in his signature style.

Knuckle Sandwiches has been serving up sandwiches for 11 years in downtown Augusta. Photo by Ron Baxley Jr.

He said has done his best to keep the theme of Knuckle Sandwiches fairly uniform and may be opening a second location with a similar theme.

He’s put hard work into the establishment and has seen it pay off.

“I lived here my first three years of owning, being the chef for, and running the restaurant. I had a military cot in the back where I would sleep and then start prep and everything for the next day the next morning,” he said.

The pandemic did not affect his business as much as it did others. Detchemendy said the business was already set up before the pandemic before it happened.

“We are known as a to-go restaurant, and all our plates and plastic-ware were disposable,” he said.

It has outdoor seating and limited, spaced seating inside. 

The restaurant is beginning at 11:30 a.m. with no closing time listed Tuesday through Saturday.

For more information, call (706) 828-4700 and/or follow Knuckle Sandwiches on Facebook or Instagram.

Ron Baxley Jr. is a correspondent for The Augusta Press.

2 COMMENTS

  1. It’s so good to see them getting some press. This is the place. Especially late at night you can’t go wrong. I’ve often walked down and just gotten a container of fries – eaten them for dinner, and what was left for breakfast in the morning. Matter of fact I’m craving them now. If you’ve never ventured in, do yourself a flavor, (yes really bad pun) and visit Knuckles.

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