Home Events + News Meet Downtowner, Jersey City’s Newest Sandwich Shop By Darke Pines Butcher Shop

Meet Downtowner, Jersey City’s Newest Sandwich Shop By Darke Pines Butcher Shop

by Nicole Gittleman
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Two years ago in April, a husband-and-wife duo opened the doors of Darke Pines, a small-but-mighty butcher shop located on 2nd St in downtown Jersey City. Now, the couple is introducing their latest and greatest market concept to the neighborhood — Downtowner.  Having opened Friday, June 26th, Downtowner is what owners Erica and Will Messmer describe as a place for “simple, good food for downtowners on the go.” The new sandwich spot at 9 Erie Street is giving Jersey Citians a second storefront to enjoy their mouthwatering meats, sandwiches, and more.

sandwich shop jersey city downtowner

Photo Credit: Amber Breitenberg

Darke {Pines} Beginnings

Just two years ago, Erica and Will Messmer opened the doors of Darke Pines in April of 2018. While they were fundraising to open a butcher shop in downtown Jersey City, they may not have realized how badly the community needed them. Dedicated to locally-sourced, responsibly-raised meat, Darke Pines is currently the only neighborhood meat supplier serving downtown Jersey City.


darke pines owners

Read More: 3 Must-Visit Local Butcher Shops in Hudson County

The Darke Pines team is comprised of experienced butchers who cut, cook, and serve free-range poultry, pastured pork, and 100% grass-fed beef and lamb, all hormone and antibiotic-free and sourced from small, local farms. Over their two years in business, the butcher shop has expanded its offerings beyond the meat counter to include house prepared items like charcuterie, sandwiches, soups, stocks, and other market provisions. The overwhelming loyalty of local customers, paired with the overwhelmingly positive response to the prepared foods at Darke Pines, made it clear that their signature sandwiches and other provisions were deserving of a storefront of their own. And thus, the concept of “Downtowner” was born.

darke pines sandwich shop jersey city downtowner

Photo Credit: Amber Breitenberg

The Inspiration

The name “Downtowner” is an homage to The Downtowner, a diner in Selma, Alabama where owner Erica Messmer had her first job. Plus, it’s where she claims to have first fallen in love with food service, cooking, and hospitality.

The name seems more than fitting, as Darke Pines and their incredible selection truly has carved out a place in the hearts of many in Hudson County. Amidst the Coronavirus pandemic, Darke Pines continued to support their community by not only staying open but increasing their offerings and introducing a CSA program via Lancaster Farms.

Read More: The Latest COVID-19 Updates for Jersey City + Hoboken

Downtowner Menu

The food at Downtowner is meant to be simple, satisfying — and is made using quality ingredients. Their expanding menu of house-prepared foods includes charcuterie, sandwiches, soups, and stocks.

Darke Pines customers will be familiar with some of the items on the Downtowner menu: the pimento cheese and Nana’s chicken salad, in particular.

chicken salad sandwich

Photo Credit: Amber Breitenberg

All meats for the sandwiches come from the butcher shop, which are the same locally-sourced meats featured in the Darke Pines butcher case: grass-fed beef, pastured pork, free-range organic chicken, and more. Their team not only sources the meat but also prepares it in the Darke Pines kitchen, too. They roast the roast beef, smoke the ham, season and sous vide the mortadella and salami. Beyond their savory sandwiches, Downtowner’s menu features fan favorites like nitro cold brew, wild kombucha, homemade rice Krispy treats, and house granola.

sandwich dark pines

Photo Credit: Amber Breitenberg

The Need-To-Know

Downtowner is located at 9 Erie Street and will be open Fridays and Saturdays from 11:30AM – 6PM, for now. Erica and Will plan to expand the menu, as well as the shop hours, in the weeks to come.

So if you’re in the mood for a serious sandwich that will cover all of your cravings, make your way over to the latest venture from the owners of Darke Pines and enjoy a locally-sourced meal made with love.

Read More: Your Guide to Buying Gourmet Cheese Locally


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