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Dec 29, 2005 03:11 PM

Darwin's: Is it just another High (Price) Rise?

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What is it with this town?

The only way to get a good sandwich is to pay over $7 and to be treated like junk.

The service at Darwin's is so so poor. They are so rude. It feels like you're paying them to slap you around while youÂ’re sheepishly waiting for a sandwich.

Just like High Rise, I'm starting to wonder if I'm the sucker. Why do I keep going back?

Maybe because I've lived in so many other cities where a fresh, high quality, full vegi ingredients with great bread is the norm and not the fancy Cambridge expectation?

Please do tell me?

1. Is it me? Am I expecting too much?
2. Do you think the management really knows and if so, do they really care?
3. Should I return?

Why do establishments like these thrive so well when so many of us are unpleasantly surprised?

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  1. I drive from Huron Village...past Hi-Rise and Darwin' the South End for sandwiches at Flour. The lunch crowd can be hectic and there can be a wait, but the staff are always a delight and the sandwiches are top notch. The herbed tuna rocks.
    Nearer to the 'hood, I like some of the sandwiches at Deluxe Town Diner, also Formaggio has some decent offerings.

    1. I'll answer your question with another question: Why are there so few good soup/salad/sandwich places in the Boston area?

      I agree--it seems like the handful of places with good sandwiches are overpriced and a bit too precious for my liking. Other than Strip Ts in Watertown (which was closed for the week when we went last night--darn), I can't think of anyplace to go for a great sandwich at a decent price with good service.

      I was going to go to Hi-Rise last night until I read how a number of people have been turned off by the service and high prices.

      Oh well, I'll just have to wait for the owners of Strip Ts to come back from their vacation I guess...

      8 Replies
      1. re: hiddenboston

        Thinking of watertown...I haven't tried Know Fat on Arsenal Street - intrigued by the idea.

        1. re: MB

          I'd have to warn you against Know Fat... my co-workers used to like it for somewhat-healthy fast food, but lately it's got this odd bodybuilder vibe to it. The food's not very impressive, and not very low in fat, either! I'll suggest Uncommon Grounds or Matilda's for sandwiches instead.

          1. re: Raedia

            It has gone a bit downhill since the newer owners took over a year or more ago. Everything tastes sort of gummy these days. And while most of it's menuis certainly lower in saturated fat and calories, they do this at the expense of taste. I'll still grab a chicken meatball, brown rice and vegetable wrap with air fries on occasion, but it's not as good as it used to be.

            And it's always been a gym rat place - half the store is a nutrition store with a focus on protein additives.

        2. re: hiddenboston

          Dave's Fresh Pasta in Davis Square has it all -- low priced, high quality sandwiches. And to top it all off, they are served with a smile!

          1. re: a l i c e

            While I thought that the sandwhich I had a Dave's Fresh Pasta was actually very good, I thought it was a bit pricey in the way people are complaining about in this thread, and I wasn't particularly happy with the service. They were very attentive to a group of cute young college students, and completely ignorned me to the point where I had to be a little agressive about getting them to take my order. I also never saw a smile. I think my experience at Dave's Fresh Pasta was exactly what the posters are complaining about. I haven't been to Hi-Rise (tried to go once, but it turns out that they don't serve sandwiches in the late afternoon- and I was trying to go before a night class at Cambridge adult ed). I haven't been to Darwin's.

            I've pretty much given up the idea of getting a reasonably priced, good sandwich in Boston/Cambridge, and more often make my own.

            1. re: TalismanGirl

              wow, i am really surprised about that. i go in there a lot, and i always get not only friendly service, but fast and knowledgable. i would give them another chance, their sandwiches are very good and reasonably priced.

              1. re: roxgirl

                Please, how do you define "reasonably priced?" It would be good for the broad to know various price points.

                The board usually lists sandwichs around $6 to $8.

                1. re: Eat Well

                  well, i think that around $7 for a sandwich that i get two meals out of is a good deal, and i'm not a particularly light eater either!

        3. head up mass ave to pemberton farms in north cambridge. great samdwiches, and unless you're getting something VERY fancy, the prices generally top out at around $6. be sure to check out the premade sandwiches in the case -- never seen one over $5.

          plus, there are a few tables in the greenhouse, so you can eat in what feels like a small botonical garden!

          1. You're right, most places with good sandwiches are pricey, although I find Hi-Rise worth it every so often -- I haven't encountered the attitude others have, and I think the food is worth the money. I have noticed that service at Darwin's is either weirdly slow or oddly dismissive. I think their sandwiches are good, but not really worth a special trip. Flour is friendly and excellent (though also pretty pricey) -- in addition to what MB noted below, I LOVE their grilled BLT, as well as their chicken sandwich (the one with jicama and avocado). Also, Mariposa Bakery between Central Square and MIT makes excellent sandwiches on their own bread, and they are super-sweet people, but again, prices are high (mostly 6-7 bucks for sandwiches). Domenic's in Waltham -- awesome sandwiches on awesome bread, still not cheap, service nice but rushed at lunchtime.

            But there are some exceptions to the high-price rule: tortas at Tacos Lupita (bunch of locations), or at Taqueria El Mariachi in Waltham -- usually 3-4 dollars I think. And banh mi generally go for around 2 dollars apiece and are excellent at both Mei Sum bakery in Chinatown and at Ba Le bakery on Dot. Ave. (there are other very good banh mi places around Fields Corner, I can't remember the names offhand).

            1. I'm pretty sure the sandwiches at Virginia's Fine Foods in Brookline Village top out at under $6., and they use bread from Clear Flour, with great veggie indredients, spreads, and fixin's...