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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

Back of House: Stryker’s Sandwich of the Day

Hephzibah Ohihoin
From left to right Shawn Miller and Eric Knockels.

In Stryker’s Cafe, Sandwich of the Day is loved by the UWL student body. New and creative sandwich ideas are brought to life daily and are offered to all making it a unique experience each day. 

The two main chefs behind the creation of these sandwiches are Chef Eric Knockels and Chef Shawn Miller. 

Knockels has an extensive and colorful history in the food industry. Although he is now working for Chartwells, Knockels has worked in the Navy, managed a golf course kitchen and pursued various other endeavors. 

Miller, who has been cooking since he was a little kid, worked in a nursing home and at different restaurants before coming to UWL. 

Both said they were taken by surprise when Sandwich of the Day gained popularity. 

“I guess it did take off pretty decent [sic] but eighteen (2018) and nineteen (2019) it really blew up. We didn’t plan on it but it did take off,” said Miller.

Knockels attributed its rise to fame to the uniqueness of the concept. “It’s not repetitive; it’s not the same thing,” he said. 

Miller said, “We did homestyle food and I had to make a sandwich to use up leftovers from my catering. I just started making sandwiches with stuff we had and stuff I could order–” 

“-and stuff we needed to use up,” added Knockels. “Shawn and I kinda workaround, he knows what’s in the freezers.”

Both Chefs find inspiration for new ideas in various ways. 

“When you’re traveling and you eat at different restaurants, you see things,” said Miller. “You google different ideas for different things and you look at different sandwich recipes at different restaurants. You kinda bring them together.” 

Knockels said their biggest customer base was the athletes. 

“Most of them don’t even look at the signboards; they just go, ‘I’ll take the sandwich of the day.’” Knockels continued, “Not much you can put on there that they’re not gonna eat.”

Miller describes them as a good client base to be able to experiment with. He said, “They’re young college athletes, a lot of guys, they’re very eager to try food.”

With the exception of tomatoes, jalapenos and spicy food in general, Miller said there wasn’t much they were scared of.  

The popularity of the Sandwich of the Day has allowed Knockels and Miller to form unique bonds with their customers even after graduation. 

“You get to know them; you get to know what they don’t like,” said Miller. “Remembering all their names, that’s a little different but at least knowing what they eat, that you definitely get used to.” 

Athletes aren’t the only group who frequently get the sandwich. A group of students run an Instagram page called @uwl_sandwich_review where they rate the sandwich every day.

Noah Kopp, a third-year student at UWL and owner of the account said, “We post pictures of the sandwich every day.. and then we give it a rating. It started off as doing it for fun, but now it is kind of like a lifestyle.”

The account made its first post on Oct. 12, where they ranked their sandwich a 7.7. Kopp said, “The scale has changed over the time because when we started off we didn’t have much sandwich experience. Now, we have had so many different sandwiches that we base them off of past sandwiches.”

Currently, their top-ranked sandwich is the ‘Muffaletta Street Monster’ which is a turkey cajun sandwich with salami, Gardettos, orange relish, lettuce, tomato, swiss cheese, cajun dijonnaise on a grilled pretzel bun. The overall score of the sandwich was 9.05.

“So far we have not given out a 10, but that would be like the ideal sandwich, it would probably make me cry. It would be a sandwich that I would never forget about,” said Kopp.

You can learn more about Sandwich of the Day by following this link.

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About the Contributors
Hephzibah Ohihoin
Hephzibah Ohihoin, General Assignment Reporter
Year at UWL:  First PGPs: She/Her Hometown: Sabongida-Ora, Edo State, Nigeria. Major: English Minor: Legal Studies and Creative Writing Other Campus Involvement: Xi Alpha Ministry, Cru, ALANA, Pre-Law Organization and BSU Future Plans after Graduation: Law School Favorite activity in La Crosse: Playing badminton and pickleball
Easton Moberg
Easton Moberg, Student Government Position
Year at UWL: Sophomore PGPs: He/Him/His Hometown: Sheboygan, WI Major: Political Science Minor: Communication Studies with an emphasis in Interpersonal Communication Other Campus Involvement: NSO Eagle Guide Future Plans after Graduation: Working at the Capitol in Madison Favorite Activity in La Crosse: Eating lots of great food Favorite Place to Eat in La Crosse: Super Street Taco
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    Sherilyn ZagorskiFeb 27, 2024 at 7:06 pm

    I can’t wait to try the sandwich of the day – when I come to visit next!!! Sounds yum!! 😋