Binghamton, New York, a small town near the Pennsylvania border, is known for several things: its zoohis Universityand his signature sandwich, known as spy. Spiedies consist of sub-rolls filled with tangy, peppery and marinated cubes of meat, grilled on a skewer and topped with fresh marinade. In Portland, there are a few restaurants that serve grilled meats, but spies have been a bit more elusive — at least until earlier this month, when Julian Gomez and Ben Healy-Levy opened their southern food cart. east of Portland.
boy hello, parked in the food cart near the Paradox cafe on Belmont, specializes in traditional and more conceptual spies, a nod to Healy-Levy’s early years in Binghamton. “I wanted to tap into my roots a bit,” he says. “We thought it would be a fun way to play with flavors.” For them, that means selling marinated chicken spiedies, as well as grilled chicken sandwiches that draw inspiration from other culinary traditions.
Each sandwich starts with a Bella’s Italian Bakery Roll, but from there, Gomez and Healy-Levy use a number of different varieties of marinated chicken grilled to order. For the Nikkei, chicken marinated in chilli and ginger is served with sesame guacamole, aji verde and salsa criolla with pickled onions; Doner combines yogurt-marinated chicken leg with lemon garlic aioli, tomato and arugula salad and other vegetables. The shop also sells two variations of a traditional spiedie, using the lemon-pepper marinated chicken: the Boy Howdy, which comes with a splash of fresh marinade and lemon-garlic aioli, and the Binghamton, who also gets a dose of chili relish. . All chicken marinates for 12 to 24 hours for as much flavor as possible.
The two wanted to make sure Boy Howdy served vegan sandwiches, so instead of grilling tofu, tempeh, or fake meat, Gomez and Healy-Levy decided to use grilled Portobello mushrooms as a base: The Black Sheep is coming. with roasted red peppers and eggplant, plus a shot of pesto and caramelized garlic, while the portobello banh mi gets classic accompaniments like daikon and pickled carrots, cilantro and jalapeno, plus a salad of cucumber and a vegan sriracha mayonnaise.
Gomez and Healy-Levy met while working at the Broder Cafe on SE Clinton; Gomez’s friend Mike Atkins once owned the Clinton Street Theater and adjacent pub down the block. Atkins approached Gomez, interested in investing in whatever culinary venture he had in mind; Gomez contacted Healy-Levy to see if he would be interested in owning a cart. “[Atkins] was the coolest. He’s our hype man for sure,” Gomez says. “He gave us carte blanche… It’s our menu, it’s our food, it’s our image.”
Boy Howdy is open at 3423 SE Belmont Street.
• boy hello [Instagram]
• Spiedies are the best sandwiches you’ve never heard of [BA]