There is something comforting about eating the same food your mom packed for you in elementary school. In Greenwich Village, Peanut Butter and Company’s sandwiches capitalize on that wish in an entire store dedicated to PB&J. The shop has nearly a dozen flavors of peanut butter, and a wide array of sandwiches ranging from the original peanut-butter-and-jelly on white to a sandwich with spicy peanut butter, grilled chicken, and pineapple jam.
Be prepared to give specifics when you step up with you order. Prefer smooth peanut butter over crunchy? Luckily, the staff asks for your opinion. Not a fan of crusts? They will ask you if you’d like them sliced off. Think of the chefs at Peanut Butter and Company as the most considerate parents you can think of––except, of course, that they’re capable of making gourmet sandwiches in addition to their more traditional fare. If you get your sandwich to go, it even comes in a paper bag with carrot sticks. Carrot sticks!
Their peanut butter sandwiches roughly fall into two categories: the “classic” and “gourmet.” Classic spans far beyond your average PB&J on white (which they call the Lunchbox Special), however. The Elvis, a grilled honey-drizzled, banana-stuffed edition, constitutes a classic. So is the “Pregnant Lady” (pickles, obviously), the Black and Tan (chocolate), the Peanut Butter BLT (!!), and the Fluffernutter (marshmallow fluff).
Jerry Seinfeld, a regular customer, made his favorite kind of sandwich a part of the Classics menu––a sliced and toasted bagel topped with peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. In fact, he wrote the foreword for the Peanut Butter and Co. Cookbook, a necessity for peanut butter aficionados which you can buy at their store.
Given their wide definition of the word “classic,” expect some experimentation when it comes to their gourmet menu. There’s a white chocolate peanut butter, orange marmalade, and almond sandwich for those with an exceptionally sweet tooth. Other varieties use wheat germ or shredded coconut. Several use bacon. And if you can’t decide on one sandwich, they have a “nine bites” system. Three stripes of peanut butter and three perpendicular stripes of jam on one sandwich mean nine different peanut butter combinations within one meal, which frankly sounds exhausting for your taste buds.
Regardless of your sandwich choice, the experience of eating in is charming. Playing off the “your childhood, but better” conceit, Peanut Butter and Co. decorates with a late-forties, early-fifties flair. Framed ads with illustrations reminiscent of those in the Childcraft book series dot the walls. Even if you just want a Diet Coke with your meal, it’s going to be served in a glass bottle. (No twist-off caps, either––ask them to open it for you.)
Every variety of peanut butter used on their sandwiches––from old-fashioned crunchy to Mighty Maple or their spicy peanut butter, The Heat is On––is available for purchase at around five to six dollars. This is perhaps the only drawback with PB & Co. It’s tough to convince yourself to pay eight dollars for a peanut butter sandwich. (With bacon, The Elvis can run up to $9.25.)
But if you’re ready to take the plunge into the true art of the PB & J, this store on 240 Sullivan Street is unmissable.