Vs Grinders

Juneau, AK – Venietia Mary Aurora Elizabeth Santana took the plunge. After nine years batting an idea around in her head and with her friends, Santana has opened the comfort-food sandwich shop she’s for years believed Juneau needed.

Juneau has been Santana’s home for 15 years. During that time she has worked at the Juneau Job Center and in the hospitality and restaurant industry in Juneau — the Prospector Hotel and T.J. Maguires, the Baranof Hotel, the former Penthouse and the former Hoochies, now Marlintini’s Lounge. She now owns an online travel agency, runs her grinder truck and works at the Job Center.

Santana said she originally hails from the East Coast.

“So I’m a grinder junkie,” Santana said.

Born and raised in Connecticut, Santana has family on the East Coast, New York, she said.

”And everybody there gets a grinder,” Santana said. “I’ve been (in Juneau) 15 years and no one makes a sandwich that I’m used to. I want to serve the locals. We need a little more options, a little more choices.”

V’s menu shows extra touches like fresh-each-day pesto aioli on her grinders, no mayonnaise, and havarti and provolone cheeses instead of yellow American cheese, she said.

“It is important to me that nothing is pre-bought sliced, done,” Santana said. “Our meatballs aren’t just beef, they’re veal, pork and beef. It’s just important that we have the little extras.”

Santana riffs off the traditional grinder style of ham or turkey, cheese, lettuce, tomato and mayo, she said.

“I just want to take it that extra step,” Santana said. “We are a little twisted, but we’re fun.”

Santana built a grinder called the “Hot Mamma” with hot Italian sausage and Parmesan cheese or the “Zeppelin” with ham, turkey, hard salami and pesto aioli.

Her bread, Santana said, must be hard, but soft. Hard crust on the outside and soft in the middle. She said it needs to be sturdy enough to get a miner out to Greens Creek or Kensington and not end up soggy when it’s time to eat. She said she orders from several vendors in town to meet her specific demands for ingredients.

Find the entire article by RUSSELL STIGALL at the Juneau Empire <here>