By Dylan Deprey
When Bigg Mike the “Sandwich God” took a pandemic hiatus, people were genuinely pissed at him.
It’s no surprise that his supporters missed his meals so much. He built his reputation on great food, amazing service and a rolling cooler and fans of his savory combinations had been missing their flavorful fix for almost a year.
From corned beef and Italian beef sandwiches, to wings and chicken and waffles, the Sandwich God would pull up anywhere and sell out instantly. Barbershops, construction sites and even random people on the street had a chance to grab a meal from the sandwich artisan himself.
Bigg Mike outgrew the cooler fairly quick, and eventually he went the food truck route. Many in Milwaukee got to experience the Sandwich God food truck experience, but even with steady business, he had to let the truck go.
“I made all the same business mistakes everybody makes,” he said.
He worked in several kitchens and built menus at Truth Lounge and Eve Lounge. He’d eventually find a spot at Ms. Diane’s BP on 8th and Atkinson. It was here, where his popularity took off to into another atmosphere.
Whether it was his signature cheese steaks or Jamaican inspired jerk rolls, the community couldn’t get enough of his barbecue and soul food creations.
Though his food was making its way around Milwaukee, COVID-19 had other plans.
“When COVID came, it did what it did…kind of wrecked everything. The lease was up, and we decided to shut it down for a while. Then I stopped completely for nine or 10 months,” he said. “I have six children, and I’m a single father of five, so when the gas station closed, I got into a little funk. I wanted to be done, like I’m not cooking anymore.”
He went from working behind the stove to behind the wheel, as he made a killing driving Uber and DoorDash.
With his new career-plan, his family was set, but he got to thinking about a legacy for his children. His father passed away young and didn’t get a chance to leave him anything behind. He talked to his kids, and said the notebook filled with restaurant ideas could be an asset when he eventually “checked out.”
With a big push from families and supporters, Bigg Mike found a spot and started renovating.
Aroma6 Restaurants LLC and the Sandwich God are opening their flagship barbecue restaurant in the former Jamaican eatery at 3800 N. Teutonia Ave. on Oct. 23, 2021.
“If it wasn’t for them harassing me and hounding me, telling me to get back to cooking, I probably would have quit, and started doing something else,” Bigg Mike said. “But, I’m glad I’m back and extremely grateful. It has been kind of emotional. You don’t realize the impact you have on people in the neighborhood and the community.”
The menu goes far beyond Bigg Mike’s Sandwich God status. Thanks to the now fixed giant smoker in the back, the restaurant has been pumping out stuffed turkey legs, rib tips, beef and jerk tips, grilled and jerk chicken, and that’s just the beginning.
He also wants to add items the family enjoyed at home on the menu. Different alfredo dishes and seafood, like gumbo and traditional crab boils-in-a-bag, have extended Aroma6’s reach into realms outside of basic barbecue joint cuisine.
With the new space, he also plans on getting into catering and meal prep. He will also have his signature Sandwich God flavors, “Dope” and “Scrumptiousness,” available.
He said there has been no better feeling than meeting supporters new and old, at his first brick-and-mortar establishment.
“It’s been a battle, a roller coaster, but I’ve had a lot of love coming back,” Bigg Mike said. “Some people were a little mad that I left in the first place, but they’re grateful I’m back. It’s been a lot of love and support starting over.”
Visit Aroma6 Restaurants online or give it a call at (414) 212-8610.