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Feast: Darwin’s, a Dose of Snark

October 13, 2010

The atmosphere at Darwin’s can be summed up by the slogan on their t-shirt:


healthy dose of snark


Darwin’s Ltd., a sandwich shop with two locations in Cambridge, describes itself as ” a unique, bohemian, shabby – chic deli and cafe, serving up gourmet sandwiches, saucy and satisfying take-out dinners, local bakery breads and goodies, deliciously rich coffee, and a great selection of loose teas.” Pull up the couch Darwin’s, you need to work on your self-awareness.

If Darwin’s were a person, he would be a Cambridge Hipster with too tight jeans tucked into his too expensive yet made-to-look- worn sneakers. He would have dirty hair because he’s too busy looking emo to take a shower, and he would carry a messenger bag with buttons on it that say things like “I’m cleverly disguised as a nerd.” In fact, his name would be HipNerd. Mr. HipNerd.

It’s not that I don’t like Darwin’s, I have enjoyed their food for years, and my favorite sandwich is the Crawford. Darwin’s sandwiches are named for the streets in the surrounding area (Prescott, Ashton, Broadway), and the Crawford is smoked turkey with avocado, mayo, lettuce, tomato and herb vinaigrette- I usually add cheddar and have it on sourdough. It really is a great sandwich, and I appreciate that Darwin’s has recently expanded to offer more local products (Taza chocolate etc.) in their grocery section. They have good coffee, flavorful soup, and nice mini cupcakes.

But frankly, I don’t like their attitude. They aren’t the only sandwich game in town anymore, and I hope someone clues them in to this reality.


sandwich board at Darwin's on Cambridge St.


My last trip to Darwin’s was at 1pm on a Friday, and when I got there the salad case was completely blown (industry term for almost empty, with whatever is left looking sad and dejected). The bakery case needed to be fronted (industry term for pulling product to the front of the case and straightening the rows) and cleaned, both inside and outside.  The gentlemen making the sandwiches were audibly snarking about customers.  The floor was dirty, the coffee bar was a mess. Didn’t exactly make me want to stick around.

Now, I work with food, so I understand that during a rush cases get emptied, product gets thrown around, tempers flare- and all of this I could have overlooked if the place hadn’t been so…how shall I put this…grimey and mean. It seems that Darwin’s doesn’t realize that you can be a Cambridge Hipster and still be clean and well-adjusted. Mr. HipNerd, I’m really sorry that your girlfriend left you for someone taller/your Harvard advisor didn’t like your thesis on The Minutiae of Something Meaningless/your annoying little dog won’t wear his new sweater, but that is no excuse for having an attitude with your customers. We all have our personal problems. Get it together, wash up, and slap a smile on your face.


the crawford



One Comment leave one →
  1. regan permalink
    October 13, 2010 11:57 am

    Wow! I know Mr. HipNerd well. Actually, we work together. Me, Mr. HipNerd and about 30 of his cousins (the whole HipNerd family). It’s called science at Harvard.

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