PALM HARBOR—Believe it or not, the sandwich started with an episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.”
Eleven years ago, during Season 6 of the series, the world’s best-loved supernatural slayer got a job at the Doublemeat Palace and investigated the disappearance of co-workers. While Buffy was eying the secret ingredient as the culprit, New Port Richey resident Kevin Smith was focused on something else- a sandwich served up with both beef and chicken.
“I think poultry and beef is a natural pairing,” Smith said, “but you can’t usually find sandwiches with both meats in most restaurants.”
Thanks to Smith, you can now find the meaty medley at the Lucky Dill in Palm Harbor on U.S. 19. The local foodie won their summer sandwich-creation contest with a beast called the “Cranston Kevin,” a heaping tower of beef brisket, turkey, bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and melted provolone cheese piled into the center of an onion roll.
The hefty sandwich is served with a pickle and an au jus sauce for dipping. The Cranston part of the name comes from Cranston, Rhode Island, where Smith grew up.
“I love brisket and you don’t find it often on sandwiches,” Smith said. “Then to get pork involved, I put bacon on it so now I have all three animals.”
Smith, a regular to the Lucky Dill, has been perfecting the sandwich for eight years by ordering sandwiches with large amounts of meat from the deli and bringing home the leftovers to create a new sandwich.
“He’d take home the leftovers, add the brisket and turkey, and do it himself,” said his wife, Samantha Smith.
When Lucky Dill posted the contest on their Facebook page in July, asking customers to design and name their own sandwiches, Smith knew it was his chance to serve up his creation to the community.
The winner would be decided by the page’s Facebook followers, who would click the “like” button for each potential sandwich. Smith won in a landslide vote with 100 likes, only 40 of which were from his own Facebook friends, Smith said.
“That means 60 strangers liked my sandwich,” Smith said.
The middle school history teacher was thrilled. He’d left his legacy in a place he loved to dine.
On Aug. 20, Smith got to try his creation, cooked up by the local deli’s culinary artists, for the first time.
“Just got to enjoy the Cranston Kevin for the first time. Yeah I think I cried a little bit.” Smith posted on his Facebook profile.
The deli invited him and his family to enjoy the menu’s newest edition, which sells for $10.49 with a pickle and side. Smith’s sandwich was on the house, of course, and his crew got treated to some special pricing on appetizers and entrées for supporting the new sandwich.
Smith also won a free Cranston Kevin weekly for the next year. He’s already taken advantage of the offer a few times. Second- and third-place winners, with 17 and 15 likes, respectively, won $25 gift cards.
The Cranston Kevin will be officially a part of the Lucky Dill menu as soon as the redesigned menus arrive from the printer. Smith can’t wait.
“I always thought it would be cool at a restaurant to be a regular and have something like my picture up on the wall like you see sometimes,” Smith said. “Now I can go into a place I always go and order my sandwich.”
The win was a nice break for Smith, whose family has struggled the last year to raise money for their son Connor, a 7-year-old born with a rare genetic disease that requires him to be in wheelchair. The family is still several thousand dollars short of their $35,000 goal to be able to purchase a wheelchair-ready van for their son that can also transport the family’s other two children.
If you’d like to donate to Connor’s handicap-accessible van fund, visit his “Go Fund Me” account at www.gofundme.com/1xue4s.