Anyway you Slice it

As a kid, my older brother invented a sandwich that soon became a staple snack in our home. It consisted of two slices of white bread, creamy peanut butter and a few handfuls of barbecue potato chips. It was one of those maniacal inventions of an adolescent brain, but this culinary abomination made me cognizant of two very important things. One, sweet and savory can totally be friends; and two, sandwiches have limitless potential. As an adult, I’ve been privileged to track down several eateries that seem to share my reverence for the humble sandwich. Here are a few of my favorites.

Sentational_1Machine Gun
Bruges Waffles & Frites
In theory, mashing a bunch of fries into a sandwich seems like a simple way to create an offbeat treat. It’s something many sandwich slingers try, but few of them are successful. The reason most of these carb-laden sandwiches fail is because their creators see fries for what they are instead of what they can be. Not so at Bruges Waffles & Frites. In realizing the true potential of their frites as the essential cornerstone of this gun barrel-shaped wonder, Bruges has crafted a sandwich that is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. Multiple locations,



Beef Brisket Grilled Cheese
There’s not a lot one can do to improve a classic grilled cheese sandwich, but leave it to Gourmandise to try—and succeed. It’s a traditional French bakery, so their cheese game is a cut above the rest. After that first, perfectly crisp bite of molten Havarti cheese, pulled brisket and pickled onions, you immediately wonder why all grilled cheese sandwiches are doing it wrong. Maybe they left out the meat? 250 S. 300 East, 801-328-3330,

Sentational_2The Hoss
Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade
In the grand design of the breakfast Venn diagram that hangs in my kitchen, The Hoss at Sweet Lake Biscuits & Limeade has come closest to hitting the center sweet spot. You want biscuits and gravy? You got it. You want fried chicken? Done. Bacon and eggs more your thing? Look no further. My recommendation is to assess this monument of breakfast engineering for a vulnerable entry point, and then band together with fork and knife for a lengthy (but delicious) sandwich-eating campaign. 54 W. 1700 South, 801-997-9220,


Barbecue Chicken Sub
The Pie
The Pie is the cornerstone of Utah’s pizza community, but their subs are worth the trip away from the pizza menu. Take the barbecue chicken sub, for example. Like The Pie’s pizzas, it doesn’t skimp on toppings, which consist of a disarmingly simple mix of grilled chicken breast, barbecue sauce that sidesteps the trap of being too sweet, and a healthy dose of melted mozzarella cheese. Multiple locations,

Sentational_3Big John
The Grove Market & Deli
Not for the faint of heart, the Big John is the Mount Everest of local deli sandwiches. Even at half capacity, this is a sandwich that is just as likely to eat you as you are to eat it. It’s piled high with all seven of The Grove’s deli meats, along with two kinds of cheese (Swiss and American), lettuce, tomato, pickles, mayo and mustard. It’s a delicious fight to pick, just make sure you know what you’re getting into. 1906 S. Main, 801-467-8860,




Chop City
There’s a reason this sandwich took home a blue ribbon at the Utah State Fair. From the moment you pick it up, it’s got this lovely heft that makes you feel as though you’ve made a new friend. I’ve had several Cubanos that got squashed by a heavy-handed panini press, but this one is so full of classic ham, roast pork, Swiss cheese and pickles that it presses right back.





Barbacoa Sandwich
Buds Sandwich Co.
Buds is part of a welcome movement creating vegan-friendly diner food, and bless them for doing so. It’s tough to go wrong with their menu, but the barbacoa sandwich stands out with its creative use of grilled jackfruit to emulate the pork in the traditional meat-filled version. This delectable meat impostor is cooked with chipotle barbecue sauce, and it all comes packed with a flavorful samba of black beans, fresh guacamole and ginger sour cream. It’s the kind of vegan food that succeeds in making the diner pause and ask, “What’s so great about meat anyway?” 509 E. 300 South,

Sentational_5Sunny Side Up Egg
Oh Mai Vietnamese Sandwich Kitchen
Oh Mai was where I tried my very first banh mi, and I’ve become quite attached to the place over the years. Their menu boasts several excellent studies in Vietnamese sandwich culture, but the one that always brings me the most comfort is the Sunny Side Up Egg. Maybe it’s the fondness I developed for fried-egg sandwiches during my formative years, but throwing a couple over-hard eggs on their tasty housemade baguettes and dressing them up in pickled veggies, cilantro and jalapeños wins me over every time. Multiple locations,



Roast Pork
Este Deli
I don’t remember whether it was the roast pork shoulder or the sautéed broccoli rabe with tart provolone that made me take a gamble on the roast pork sandwich at Este Deli, but it was that lucky shot in the dark that turned me into a regular. It’s a unifying experience between Southern flavor and East Coast deli that I have yet to experience anywhere else. 1702 S. Main, 801-487-3354,

Sentational_6The Gouda Smoker
The Robin’s Nest
Gouda is a criminally undervalued and underused cheese in the deli world, which might be why the Gouda Smoker at The Robin’s Nest is so special. It’s a turkey club slathered in a melty layer of smoked Gouda cheese which melds magnificently with the house garlic barbecue spread. It’s proof that Gouda really does prevail against evil. 311 S. Main, 801-466-6378,

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