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Sandwiches Done the Wright Way

A New York Tradition in Downtown Rutland

A perfectly-toasted Reuben from Hand Carved by Ernie available in Downtown Rutland.

A perfectly-toasted Reuben from Hand Carved by Ernie available in Downtown Rutland.

by Lauren Fabian | March 8th, 2019

In a time where we don’t know what goes into most of the food we eat, Hand Carved by Ernie provides you with the peace of mind knowing that nothing is processed, and it’s a difference you can taste.

“It’s really a gem - nobody around does what we do here,” Wright said.

Ernie Wright stands in his window at 26 Center Street carving sandwiches, waving to passersby, and wearing a trademark smile. With all of their meats roasted in the shop, they never serve processed cold cuts on any of their sandwiches.

Choose from fresh turkey, roast beef, pastrami (a choice Ernie highly recommends.), ham, or corned beef to create whatever sandwich best suits your preferences. Every sandwich is served with chips and a pickle.

Being a New York Style Deli, Ernie got his inspiration for the store from his many years of experience in the industry.

“It’s a lost art, it used to be a really big thing in New York City. It’s the same as using real food instead of processed foods though. Very few people still do that,” said Wright.

A menu from The Wobbly II. Photo Courtesy of Raymond Mooney

A menu from The Wobbly II. Photo Courtesy of Raymond Mooney

Wright started in the restaurant industry living in Seaside New Jersey. He made his way to Vermont over 50 years ago when he came here on a ski trip and never went back. The Wobbly Barn in Killington hired him on his very first night in town, and, in the 1970s, he contributed to the opening of The Wobbly 2 in the Rutland Plaza. Not surprisingly, Ernie’s famous hand carved sandwiches were a favorite. With three hand carvers, one for turkey, one for roast beef, and one for corned beef, the restaurant was a popular spot for many Rutlanders.

When it came time for Wright to retire, he only lasted two weeks. He and his son went looking for locations to open his very own sandwich shop nearly 13 years ago when they stumbled upon 26 Center Street. Ernie liked the location and Hand Carved By Ernie officially opened.

As a familiar face to the Rutland community, today you can find Ernie standing right there in the front window of his shop making his hand carved sandwiches.

“This is just exactly what I’ve ever wanted to do. I know most business people in downtown,  and I prefer the in person service rather than being out back,” Wright said.

Hand Carved by Ernie has specials posted daily both on Facebook and on a sign outside the shop. With the help of Jennifer Walker, who does most of the baking for the shop, they also offer homemade cookies and brownies for those with a sweet tooth. The shop also provides event catering, where they offer sandwiches, salads, and hand carved meat platters suitable for any occasion.

A good chance to try Hand Carved By Ernie, if you haven’t yet, will be on March 18th, where the shop is doing a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner in honor of St. Patrick’s day. Last year, they went through 300 pounds of corned beef, both through in-house dinners and take out.

With so many popular menu items, and a New York Style sandwich that isn’t offered anywhere else in Rutland, Hand Carved by Ernie is a must-stop destination in downtown.

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