Harry's Hot Sandwiches
Harrison Manning sounds older but looks younger than his quarter of a century. There is something sweetly collegiate about him and so his sordid academic story comes as a surprise: Pressured by his parents to enter college right after high school, Manning enrolled. After three semesters, he boasted a GPA of .79. His failure wasn’t due to laziness as much as his desire to be out in the world working, so he put down his books and took a job as a barista. He had worked at a local Sonic during high school and he felt really comfortable in the world of simple, fast food.
“I really loved working in a fast-food kitchen,” says Manning. “I always knew I wanted to have my own space ... run my own thing, be the local spot.” A serendipitous vacancy down the street from where he worked offered Manning a location for what would become Harry’s Hot Sandwiches.
The atmosphere at Harry’s is lovingly uncared for and the offerings reflect both his fast-food inspiration and the rudimentary kitchen in the back. Manning says the attitude toward building out the space was, “Let’s see how far we can go without doing anything.” Many of the dishes boast a bit of South American flair brought in by his chef, Carlos Laguna-Driscoll, whose mother is Bolivian. Initially, the menu was more driven by traditional Bolivian food, but Manning felt they were missing the mark . “We had to find the balance between what was new and exciting and what was accessible,” he explained.
The result is truly a treat (who can resist trying the “Decent Chicken Sandwich”?). The foundation of each sandwich is simple—say, pulled pork—but it’s dressed up with pickled carrots, sliced jalapeños and cilantro. The Calentado is not a sandwich at all: black beans and rice, homemade arepas, chorizo, grilled plantain, eggs and half an avocado make for a decadent meal.
What’s next for Harrison Manning? He’s decided college might not be out of the question so he’s enrolled in a class for the fall, but he’s also considering opening another Harry’s. Having just celebrated the second anniversary of Harry’s Hot Sandwiches, that’s the one thing that feels solid for now.