Foodie: Kernel Kustard

by Brian Clarey

Like so many food stories we do these days, this one begins with the show “Man v. Food,” the Chicago episode where host Adam Richman takes down a Windy City staple: the Italian beef sandwich on a chewy sub roll with giardiniera and dipped — roll and all — in sumptuous beef broth. I’ve been dying to try one since I saw it, but I didn’t know where to get one locally. Enter Kernel Kustard, the Winston-Salem-based chain begun by a former Krispy Kreme exec with Midwestern roots. They specialize in all manner of Chicago delicacies, including Chicagostyle hot dogs (Viennese, with pickle, tomato, relish, peppers, celery salt, mustard and onion, Italian sausage sandwiches and frozen custard. And they have the beef sandwich. I got one, with hand-cut fries. And while this was a smaller and perhaps less authentic version of the sandwich — I’m pretty sure they don’t roast their own beef back there in the custard shop — I loved the essence of Italian spice, the savory broth and thye fabulous, chewy roll. However, next time I think I’ll just go with a straight Chicago dog, which I first tasted in O’Hare International Airport when I was a much younger man. — Brian Clarey