Take a Bite
Presenting: the great sandwich guide
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Forget the turkey on wheat of your past. These days the traditionally simple sandwich is reaching new heights. With unexpected toppings (what's up, walnuts?) and condiments with a kick (hello, harissa aioli), these are unlike anything you've glimpsed in your lunch box. From banh mi to bologna, we've found the city's forty-one best sandwiches. Now it's you're turn to eat them
By Sarah Crosland, Jeremy Markovich, and Victoria Robinette
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Grilled Ham & Brie
The Place: Press, 333 W. Trade St., 704-370-3006 The Ingredients: ham, brie, caramelized endives, sour pickles, and whole grain mustard, on country white bread.
The Reason: Thinly sliced ham and velvety brie are perked up with sour pickles and salty mustard for a justifiably pretentious version of a ham sandwich, fitting for one of the city's chicest wine bars. The Price: $6.99
The Place: Amalfi Pasta 'n Pizza, 8542 University City Blvd., 704-547-8651
The Ingredients: Meatballs and mozzarella cheese on a sub.
The Reason: Eat this too slow and the bread will be thoroughly soaked before you're finished. But when you're eating a sandwich with oversize homemade meatballs and luscious melted mozzarella piled high on a made-from-scratch sub, speed shouldn't be a problem.
The Price: $6.25
The Place: Harvest Moon grille, 237 n. Tryon St., 704-342-1193
The Ingredients: Slowbraised pork, pickled carrots, onion, black radishes, jalapeños, and sriracha mayo on a French bread hoagie.
The Reason: It may be a Vietnamese-style sandwich, but the local pork from grateful growers farm gives it a tasty north carolina touch. Prepared by the chef-farmer who raised it, the meat is especially good, and the spicy sriracha mayo packs an extra punch on this baguette.
The Price: $12
Crispy Beer Battered Fish Sandwich
The Place: The liberty, 1812 South Blvd., 704-332-8830
The Ingredients: Fish, tartar sauce, lettuce, tomato, and pickle relish on brioche. The Reason: It's fried. It's crispy. It's slathered in tartar sauce. and, if you're doing this right, it's served alongside a pint at this cozy South end gastropub.
The Price: $10
The Place: Zada Jane's Corner Café, 1601 Central Ave., 704-332-3663
The Ingredients: grilled chicken, fresh basil, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and sun-dried tomato mayonnaise on rosemary foccacia.
The Reason: at first glance the jumble of herbs and veggies packed into this sandwich seems about as crazy as Zada Jane's funky, colorful interior. But this Bohemian-meets-down-home restaurant instantly grows on you, and this tangy, warm sandwich is likely to do the same.
The Price: $8.75
The Place: Rooster's Wood-Fired Kitchen, 6601 Morrison Blvd., 704-366-8688 The Ingredients: Spit-roasted BBQ pork on a hamburger-style bun with cole slaw on the side.
The Reason: In north carolina, we expect to find the best barbecue in smalltown restaurants where the seats are vinyl booths and the plates are paper. This upscale SouthPark restaurant may seem an unlikely spot for 'cue, but chef Jim noble loves BBQ and has a knack for Southern fare - something even one bite of this Lexington-style sandwich makes obvious.
The Price: $9
Back Porch BLT
The Place: Lulu Dine | Wine, 1911 central ave., 704-376-2242
The Ingredients: Pimento cheese, lettuce, applewood-smoked bacon, and a fried green tomato on Texas toast.
The Reason: The smoky sweetness of the bacon combined with the creamymeets-chunky cheese is just as decadent as it sounds. Plus, lulu's house-made frites served on the side make any of their sandwich selections worth a second glance.
The Price: $8
Raised Short Rib Panino
The Place: Vivace Italian restaurant, 1100 Metropolitan ave., 704-370-7755
The Ingredients: Braised short rib, gorgonzola cheese, onions, romaine lettuce, on a white bread panini.
The Reason: The Italian blue cheese has a bite. The caramelized onions have a salty-sweet flavor. The lettuce provides extra crunch. But it's the succulent, slowbraised short rib that gives this panini its panache.
The Price: $9
The Place: Pike's old Fashion Soda Shop, 1930 Camden Rd., 704-372-0092
The Ingredients: White american, Swiss, and cheddar cheeses on white, wheat, or rye.
The Reason: If you went to soda shops when you were a kid, then this sandwich served at the playful South end restaurant will remind you of simpler times. If you were born post-soda-shop era, then consider this gooey cheese served on fresh toasted bread the tastiest history lesson you'll ever get.
The Price: $5.50
Thanksgiving Every Day
The Place: Fran's Filling Station, 2410 Park rd., 704-372-2009
The Ingredients: Turkey, cranberry, stuffing, and sage mayonnaise on house-made bread.
The Reason: Imagine Thanksgiving minus chit-chatting with the in-laws and forcing down aunt Jane's Brussels sprouts. actually, don't imagine it. order it and eat it because that's precisely what this overstuffed, holiday-themed sandwich is.
The Price: $7.95
Basil Pesto Chicken Salad
The Place: Dean & Deluca, deandeluca.com
The Ingredients: chicken salad, mixed greens, tomato, and basil pesto on whole-grain bread.
The Reason: on weekdays, the uptown location of this gourmet grocery is swarming with blue-shirted bankers grabbing a bite—and with good reason. Sandwiches like this one are made with fresh ingredients, house-made bread, and served quickly, which let's face it, when it comes to sandwich eating is often the point.
The Price: $7.50
The Place: 300 east, 300 east Blvd., 704-332-6507
The Ingredients: Portobello mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese, arugula, red onion, tomato salad, and sherry vinaigrette on an onion roll.
The Reason: Between the slippery shrooms and oozing cheese, this is a sandwich that requires a napkin—or five. But don't worry, at this cozy Dilworth restaurant no one will judge your messiness — or when you use the last of the onion roll to sop up every bit of the tangy dressing and tomatoes.
The Price: $10
Hot Tuna Meltdown
The Place: owen's Bagel & deli, 2041 South Blvd., 704-333-5385
The Ingredients: Tuna salad, pepper Jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and banana peppers on your choice of bagel.
The Reason: If you're at a place with graffiti scrawled across the walls and indoor picnic tables for eating, you can't order anything as boring as a plain old tuna melt. The banana peppers and pepper Jack give this melt a kick, but it's the house-made tuna salad that makes it a must.
The Price: $5.50
Apricot Smoked Turkey
The Place: Laurel Market, 1515 South Blvd., 704-334-2185
The Ingredients: apricot spread, walnuts, currants, avocado, turkey, tomato, and mayonnaise on your choice of bread
The Reason: Putting nuts on a sandwich sounds, well, nuts. But sandwich maker Kahlil Fadey at the South end location of this local deli knows what he's doing. The crunch from the walnuts adds texture while the currants and apricots give it a sweet finish.
The Price: $6.75
The Place: crisp, 1961 e. Seventh St., 704-333-9516 The Ingredients: Prosciutto, salami, mozzarella, tomatoes, roasted red peppers, basil, and balsamic reduction on white or wheat.
The Reason: a popular salad destination might not be where you'd expect to find a sandwich piled high with fresh Italian meats, but at crisp carnivores need not worry. The casual elizabeth spot serves this sandwich hot and pressed on fresh white or wheat bread, perfect for enjoying smugly while your lunch companions nibble on their lettuce.
The Price: $8.50
The Place: Common Market, 2007
commonwealth ave., 704334-6209; 1515 S. Tryon St., 704-332-7782.
The Ingredients: Mayonnaise, red onion, tomato, red pepper, spinach, and Havarti, on nine-grain bread. The Reason: common Market's sandwiches have funny names, but they're seriously good. While the small, funky markets are perfect for takeout, this 'wich, packed full of veggies and cheese and then panini-grilled and served hot, is better suited for enjoying on one of their inviting patios.
The Price: $5.25