I visited with Chef-Owner Tommy McDonough last year during his restaurants Flavor Palette “soft opening’. Now I am happy to say a year later, he is still here and busy as ever. Philadelphia born raised, he moved his wife and children to Ponte Vedra, to be closer to other family members that live in St Augustine. He told me that on his first visit he fell in love with St Johns County and knew living here could offer a better quality of life for his family.
Will you share your culinary background with us?
I’m like a renaissance man of the kitchen. I have run kitchens in international restaurants, as well as hotel kitchens, and country clubs then was a personal private chef for five years. I had reached Chef status by the time I entered culinary school.
With your extensive background why Flavor Palette why sandwiches?
After looking at the property, and speaking with the residents of the area, I asked “what are you missing” Many of the response were similar, a better quality sandwich, people transplanted from larger cities, stated they missed the ethnic choices the big cities offer. I wanted to set myself apart, by offering something not readily available.
Tell us about Flavor Palette and what sets it apart from other sandwich shops?
For this area we provide unique international flavors, I only use quality ingredients, take extra care in the preparation of the food, and I make everything myself by hand. Extra care defines everything we do.
What types of food are you serving?
Everything from Philadelphia Steak Sandwiches, which as a native was a must, to a Moroccan Chicken Pita. Gourmet burgers, such as Falafel burgers, Angus Snappy Mac burger, a Korean Beef wrap. It is a world tour of sandwiches.
Most popular dish on the menu?
It is pretty balanced but the signature sandwich Morrocan Chicken is the clear winner. A combination of Rasa Hanout a Moroccan spice mix, preserved lemon marinated chicken garnish with olives, almond, tomatoes, raisins then drizzled with a harissa yogurt sauce on pita.
What is your top recommendation to first-time customers?
It’s a matter of feeling them out and asking questions about their likes and dislikes. Then I am more able to customize a sandwich that will please them.
What is your favorite sandwich?
Philly Style; Italian-style sliced pork, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone served on an Amoroso hoagie roll.
What would you suggest to someone asking for a more adventurous meal?
I go back to customization, I try and get a feel for the client ask them if they have tried certain flavors then build the sandwich for them.