Take a Bite

Presenting: the great sandwich guide
Chris Edwards

 

 

 

 

 

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

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

Meatball Sub
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

Banh Moon
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

Druther’s Clucker
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

BBQ Pork
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

Grilled Cheese
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

Grilled Portobello
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 Roma
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

Hot Mama
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

 

 

Mona Lisa Baguette Club
The Place: Something classic, somethingclassic.com
The Ingredients: Smoked turkey, sopressata, mozzarella, mixed green lettuce, and roasted peppers on a baguette.
The Reason: The crusty baguette says French, the fresh cheese and peppers say Italian, but the friendly neighborhood café atmosphere at all Something classic locations is decidedly charlotte. For two extra dollars, order it "brown bagged" with chips and a drink.
The Price: $5.95

Turkey and Swiss on a Croissant
The Place: Fenwick’s, 511 Providence Rd., 704-333-2750
The Ingredients: Turkey, Swiss, lettuce, onion, and tomato on a croissant.                           The Reason: This small restaurant has been serving simple fare to Myers Park since 1984, which is why one of the menu’s most straightforward sandwiches is its best. The turkey and Swiss are good, but it’s the flaky, buttery croissant that’s made this a menu favorite for more than a quarter of a century.
The Price: $8.95

Salmon BLT
The Place: Savor café & catering, 1404 W. Morehead St., 704-334-0098
Ingredients: Seared salmon, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and lemon caper aioli on focaccia.
The Reason: one bite of the cracked-pepper salmon and fluffy, warm focaccia and suddenly your days of simply eating BlTs with only the B, L, and T will seem boring in comparison.
The Price: $9.50

Chicken Salad
The Place: RiRa’s Sandwich Bar, 208 N. Tryon St., 704-333-5554
The Ingredients: Order it however you prefer, just make sure they give you an extra-big scoop of the chunky chicken salad.
The Reason: The line is typically out the door of this small uptown lunch counter — especially on warmer days when you can enjoy your sandwich in the Hearst Plaza courtyard in front. While this sandwich is suitably creamy, it’s not swimming in mayo like some chicken salads. It is, however, packed with tender chicken and fresh grapes, and served on thick slabs of soft bread.
The Price: $6.95

Italian Grinder
The Place: Mama Ricotta’s, 601 S. King’s Dr., 704-343-0148
The Ingredients: Sopressata, pepperoni, rosemary ham, smoked turkey, provolone, lettuce, tomato, red onion, and cherry pepper relish on a grinder roll.
The Reason: It’s unlikely anyone has ever left Mama ricotta’s hungry. If the complimentary buttery garlic rolls don’t fill you up, dishes like this sandwich, piled high with rich meats and served on six inches of thick, crispy bread will do it.
The Price: $7.99

Steak Sandwich
The Place: Providence café, 110 Perrin Pl., 704-376-2008
The Ingredients: ribeye steak, Boursin cheese, fried onion strings, lettuce, and tomato on a grilled onion roll with a side of house-made steak sauce.
The Reason: If you’re going to indulge in a steak sandwich, do it right and make sure it comes like this: dripping with cheese, stuffed with crispy onions, and served with tender, juicy steak.
The Price: $14.75

Croque Monsieur
The Place: Café Monte, 6700 Fairview Rd., 704-552-1116
The Ingredients: Thinly sliced ham, provolone, gruyère, and béchamel sauce, on a brioche roll.
The Reason: This grilled, open-face sandwich is classic French fare, so it only seems natural to order it in a place where marble floors, antique mirrors, and walls adorned with photographs of Paris re-create the convivial atmosphere of a Parisian café.
The Price: $11

Black and Blue Po’ Boy
The Place: crêpe cellar Kitchen & Pub, 3116 n. davidson St., 704-910-6543
The Ingredients: Blackened chicken breast, cheddar cheese, blue cheese crumbles, lettuce, tomato, and ancho chile aioli, on a baguette.
The Reason: Sure, there are dainty and delicate crêpes in this noda spot. But if you’re going to be enjoying one of the restaurant’s bracing brews, such as Twisted Thistle IPa, you’re going to need a sandwich this big and full of bold flavors to match it.
The Price: $9

Lamb Sausage
The Place: georges Brasserie, 4620 Piedmont row dr., 980-219-7409                                  The Ingredients: lamb sausage, harissa aioli, arugula, tomato, and grilled red onion, on Focaccia.
The Reason: With its tender lamb sausage and spicy harissa aioli, this sandwich has Moroccan influences. But the peppery arugula and slowroasted tomatoes leave little doubt as to what it’s doing on the menu of a sophisticated French restaurant.
The Price: $9

Philly Cheesesteak
The Place: duckworth’s grill & Taphouse, 4435 Park rd., 704-527-5783
The Ingredients: Steak, onions, and cheese on a roll.
The Reason: Philadelphia expats can cure homesickness with one bite of this classic, modeled after Philly’s own Geno’s and Pat’s. This seven-inch comes with five ounces of steak, but you can double it (which we suggest) for 99 cents. and speaking of suggestions, might we also recommend the cheese Whiz?
The Price: $8.99

Pork Banh Mi
The Place: Le’s Sandwiches & Café, 4520 N. Tryon St., 704-921-7498
The Ingredients: grilled pork, pickled vegetables, cilantro, mayonnaise, and jalapeños on a banh mi baguette.
The Reason: You don’t go to Le’s Sandwiches, a small restaurant located inside asian corners Mall, for the atmosphere. You go for the classic pork banh mi, which is the city’s best. It’s the perfect combination of pork, pickles, and crunch all tucked in the traditional white baguette. Warning: it comes with spicy, fresh jalapeños, which add a kick for those with courageous taste buds, but you can ask to hold them and there’s still plenty of flavor.
The Price: $3.50

Black Bean Wrap
The Place: Pewter Rose Bistro, 1820 South Blvd., 704-332-8149
The Ingredients: Black bean patty, lettuce, salsa, Fontina cheese, and jalapeño aioli, in a flour tortilla.
The Reason: Pewter rose may be known for its sweet scones and savory brunch frittatas, but vegetarian foodies know that the quaint South end restaurant offers several tasty meat-free options. however, this wrap, with its spicy aioli and creamy black bean patty, is worthy of attention from meat eaters and veggie lovers alike.
The Price: $10

Gyro
The Place: Greek Isles, 200 E. Bland St., 704-444-9000                                                                                                                                   The Ingredients: lamb, beef, lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, and tzatziki.        
The Reason: The décor may seem kitschy in spots, but this South end restaurant is owned and run by a greek couple whose menu reflects the flavors of their native country. This means there’s no better place for this sandwich, with its perfectly seasoned, moist meat drizzled in creamy tzatziki and wrapped in a soft, warm pita.
The Price: $6.95 at lunch, $8.95 at dinner

Foskoskies’ Reuben
The Place: Foskoskies on Shamrock, 2121 Shamrock Dr., 704-535-2220
The Ingredients: corned beef, Swiss cheese, 1,000 Island dressing, and chowchow on rye bread.
The Reason: This may sound like every other reuben you’ve ever had, but that’s only because you haven’t tasted the housemade chowchow relish at this small Plaza Midwood restaurant. It’s piled high with savory meat and cheese, but it’s the chowchow that gives the classic german sandwich a tasty Southern twist.
The Price: $8

Pork Belly on Steamed Bun
The Place: Good Food on Montford, 1701 Montford Dr., 704-525-0881
The Ingredients: Pork belly, hoisin, and pickled vegetables on steamed bun.
The Reason: The pork belly is rubbed in five spices and fall-apart-when-you-touch-it tender. The steamed bun is light and chewy bread, so fresh it almost tastes sweet. There’s a reason this gourmet version of a sandwich is on the same menu as items like quail eggs and foie gras.
The Price: $10

Chicken Cutlet Parmigiana Hero                                                                                                                                                                        The Place: Villa Francesca, 321 N. Caldwell St., 704-333-7447
The Ingredients: Breaded chicken, Parmesan, mozzarella, and tomato sauce on a hero roll.
The Reason: This is the mother of all chicken parm subs. It’s New York–style huge and served freshly made in a homey pizzeria by a guy from Brooklyn named louie. It’s as authentic—and good—as you’ll find on this side of the Mason-Dixon line.
The Price: $6.95

Grilled Chicken
The Place: Mueller’s Neighborhood Grill, 119 Huntley Pl., 704-940-6880
The Ingredients: grilled chicken, lettuce, tomato, and your choice of sauce and cheese on a Kaiser roll.
The Reason: Tucked away in the back of a Myers Park parking lot, this burger joint used to be the city’s best-kept secret. The word is out, though, and now everyone loves the juicy burgers. next time, skip the red meat and order this classic grilled chicken. The smoky tender meat, served fast and hot from the grill, is so good you’ll forget about the burgers. But shhh … this one is still a secret.
Price: $6.50

Big Easy
The Place: Mortimer’s Café & Pub, 201 E. Trade St., 704-688-0366
The Ingredients: Spiced turkey, bacon, pepper Jack cheese, roasted red peppers, avocado, lettuce, and Cajun-style mayonnaise on French bread.
The Reason: Forget saints marching. You’ll be the one marching to this cozy Epicentre pub once you’ve discovered this massive sandwich, piled high with just enough spicy ingredients to give it a kick of flavor even a new orleans native could respect.
The Price: $9

Grilled Vegetable Panini
The Place: Aria Tuscan Grill, 100 N. Tryon St., 704-376-8880
The Ingredients: Portobello, eggplant, mozzarella, tomato, basil, oil, and vinegar on panini bread.
The Reason: It’s unlikely you’ve ever craved a grilled-vegetable anything before. Well, get ready. order this panini featuring hot, roasted vegetables mixed with melted mozzarella on fresh-pressed bread and you’ll be rearranging your lunch schedule to make sure you can make it for your midday serving of veggies at this chic uptown Italian spot.
The Price: $7

Falafel Pita Wrap
The Place: Kabob grill, 1235 East Blvd., 704-371-8984
The Ingredients: Falafel, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion, and tahini sauce in a pita.
The Reason: In most cities, the best falafel comes on street carts, but charlotte’s favorite falafel is from this small, casual Dilworth spot. This wrap, served in a soft, chewy pita, is stuffed with crunchy falafel balls and served with a generous helping of tahini.
The Price: $7.50

BBQ Cubanini
The Place: Soul Gastro Lounge, 1500 Central ave., 704-348-1848
The Ingredients: BBQ pork, ham, pickle, provolone, and mustard on a cuban roll.
The Reason: leave it to the always-inventive chef Jason Pound to mix a Cuban favorite with an Italian sandwich. This creative Cuban-omeets-panini, packed tightly with tender meat and melted cheese, would likely impress nationalities on either side of the Atlantic.
The Price: $8

Crabcake Sandwich
The Place: Red Rocks Café, 4223 Providence Rd., 704364-0402; 8712 Lindholm Dr., 704-892-9999
The Ingredients: Crabcake, dill mustard sauce, lettuce, and tomato, on a Kaiser roll.
The Reason: There are huge chunks of fresh lump crab and very little filler in these golden seared crabcakes. Slightly crisp outside and meaty on the inside, they’re served with a dollop of house-made dill mustard.
The Price: $10.95

Beef on ‘Weck
The Place: Lebowski’s grill & Pub, 1524 east Blvd., 704-370-1177
The Ingredients: roast beef on a toasted Weck roll.
The Reason: Owner Kirk Weaver is a Buffalo transplant, so it’s only natural that he’d serve Upstate new York’s favorite sandwich at this Dilworth spot. The top round beef has been roasted for hours, dipped in au jus, and then piled in a roll and topped with coarse sea salt and caraway. Just don’t forget to add the horseradish.
The Price: $7.95

The Tony Baloney
The Place: Pinky’s Westside Grill, 1600 W. Morehead St., 704-332-0402
The Ingredients: Bologna and your choice of toppings on a burger bun.
The Reason: Burgers and dogs may rule the menu at this casual new Westside spot, but this comfort-food icon, with its thick, juicy grilled bologna, deserves attention, too. It’s served in a basket, and while you can order it with lettuce, tomato, and mayo, we suggest "Westside" style with mustard, chili, slaw, and onion. When in Rome, you know?
The Price: $4.75

Turkey and Swiss Melt
The Place: River’s Edge Bar & Grill, 5000 Whitewater Center Pkwy., 704-391-3900
The Ingredients: Turkey, grilled onions, Swiss cheese, and sun-dried tomato aioli on toasted ciabatta bread.
The Reason: Not only is this a good sandwich, brimming with roasted turkey and a tasty mix of toppings, but you get to eat it while overlooking white-water rapids, a climbing wall, and (in the summer) live entertainment. The only problem may be actually focusing on the melt.
The Price: $9.50

Categories: Feature, Food + Drink, Restaurants & Food