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United Sandwiches of America
Photograph: Courtesy of Amber Sutherland-Namako

The Instagram Thing: A gleaming Red Hook food trailer

United Sandwiches of America is like a summery blast from the past.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako

The Instagram Thing is an occasional column spotlighting things you’ll want to Instagram. Our previous editions highlighted the ten-foot snake topiary at the Standard East Village, the pegasus at Serendipity3, the beef tartare at Little Mad, the bicycles at GupShup, the giant moose at Spaghetti Tavern, the cheesecake creature at Vestry and the sparkle bathroom at Nothing Really Matters.

Red Hook has a tremendous number of eating and drinking destinations—including some of NYC’s best dive bars, rooftops and burger spotsthroughout the peninsula. Last summer, it also gained a particularly photogenic food truck on Van Dyke Street near the water’s edge.

More precisely a vintage Spartanette trailer, United Sandwiches of America builds all manner of handheld stacks inside the gleaming silvery vehicle that dates back to 1948. Like the beginnings of a sandwich itself, the trailer was merely a shell of its eventual state when owners Eric Paris and Brooke Smith first acquired the beauty.

The pair, formerly Broadway theater managers, retrofitted the Spartanette with a flat top grill, charbroiler and other equipment to transform it into a fully functional kitchen. The moveable feast is also still operational for its intended purpose (cruising), but its permanent home is now fixed a few yards from another area favorite, Steve’s Authentic Key Lime Pies

United Sandwiches of America
Photograph: Courtesy of United Sandwiches of America

The trailer is positioned on its own artificial yard: A carpet of faux-turf like you’d see on opening day. On crystal clear, warm weather afternoons, the trailer’s aluminum sheen pops off the blue sky above and blanket of green below. It’s all as darling as a postcard from Palm Springs in the 50s, inviting short shorts, cat eye sunglasses, wide smiles and over-the-shoulder snapshot poses. And there’s more than just fun and frames. 

United Sandwiches of America aims to incorporate elements from around the country on its rotating menu. Present items include the New Jersey Taylor ham, egg and cheese on a bap, Alabama BBQ pulled chicken on a seeded bun and peanut butter, blueberry preserves and bacon on Colorado Fool’s Gold loaf. The latter is also a nod to notable gourmand Elvis Presley, who’s home was famously in Tennessee, so there’s a little geographical bonus.

Wisconsin grilled cheese, Washington tuna salad, South Carolina shrimp roll, Delaware Thanksgiving and Alaskan salmon varieties have all made previous appearances. Coffee, tea, soda and juice sourced from coast to coast are also available. Picnic tables are positioned for outdoor dining, or you can take your order to the lovely Louis J. Valentino Jr. Park and Pier nearby.

You can 'catch a ride' on the sandwich trailer at 185 Van Dyke Street. 

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