Dan Griffin knows good sandwiches. For decades, his mom ran the Real McCoy Sandwich Shop on the South Side.
Now, when he wants a quick bite, Griffin heads to Dagny’s Eatery at 114 E. Main St. in Carnegie. The menu features salads and pressed sammies, along with breakfast items such as avocado toast, quiche, bagels with lox and a rotating selection of fresh pastries.
Owner Dagny Como packs a lot of personality into the 560-square-foot space, which used to be an international grocery store. There’s a small seating area outside, a long, plant-filled hallway leading up to the counter, and two standing tables near the back of the eatery. Dagny’s is open Tuesday through Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Most customers call in their orders for pick-up — but tend to stay for some conversation, sipping La Prima Espresso Co. coffee while eating apricot squares.
Como — whose first name was inspired by a character in the Ayn Rand novel “Atlas Shrugged” — happily chats up patrons as she prepares their lunch. Even though the spot just opened on Sept. 10, Griffin works nearby and has devoured just about everything Dagny’s has to offer.
“It is very well done and very tasty,” he says. “And it’s nice to support a new, woman-owned business in the borough.”
The restaurateur is grateful for the support from Carnegie, a community she also calls home.
After a short stint in college and more than a decade in the banking business, Como decided to pursue her true passion: food. As a kid, she spent a lot of time in the kitchen shadowing her dad and grandmother as they whipped up delicious meals. Como picked up culinary skills along the way and used them to feed her friends and family over the years.
“I’ve always enjoyed it,” she says. “It’s not a chore for me; it’s therapeutic.”
Her food is simple, yet elevated. The Ray is an Italian sammie with hot soppressata, ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, provolone cheese, onion, tomato, and a too-die-for pepperoncini relish on ciabatta bread. Como’s BLT features thick, garlic encrusted bacon, greens and Roma tomato on sourdough from BreadWorks. Bread is just about the only thing Como doesn’t make on-site.
Apple cider doughnuts are a seasonal favorite and the grab-and-go cooler is stocked with desserts including tiramisu and banana cream cheesecake.
Como says there will always be 10 mainstays on the menu but she’ll change things up with daily or weekly specials based on what’s in season and what’s inspiring.
A sign on the counter sums up her credo. It says, “No risk. No magic.”
Como is happy she took a gamble on the tiny storefront, where she’ll continue casting spells on people’s stomachs.