The great sandwiches of Dallas are humble. They sit quietly behind barbecue giants and classic Southwestern dishes, but, like the best character actors in movies, steal the show when called upon. They become icons when you’re not looking. Some of the best ones are built from the ground-up -- they’re all soft buns and garlic and heat. Others are spicy, and salty and crisp, with homages to the glorious junk food you ate as a kid. There’s melted American cheese and mayo. There are also exciting, new sandwiches that pop and explode like fireworks. In other words, the great sandwiches of Dallas are unforgettable, and here are our favorites.
Armoury D.E.Address and Info
This sandwich is music. It’s a symphony of warmth and pepper and pickled things. Seared pork belly, fat rendered to melt in your mouth like a handful of chocolate, mingles with the crisp-skinned richness of Hungarian sausage. It’s Yo-Yo Ma, if he played garlic and paprika instead of the cello. There’s a muted heat from house-made pickled jalapeños, a punchy bite from mustard, and good bread and chopped lettuce and tomato that cool the flames. It’s easily one of the most under-discussed sandwiches in Dallas.
The Duck Sandwich
Blind ButcherAddress and Info
If this sandwich were a movie, it’d be Gladiator. Listen to the roar of the crowd as you read off the ingredients in your mind: sheer-thin slices of duck bacon, duck pastrami, rounds of pickled shallot and goat cheese (beer-infused, of course) spread between piping-hot, Kosher salt-flecked, pretzel bread. It’s bold, and the duck pastrami-flavor profile makes you feel like a warrior. It’s a day-after-feast of a sandwich. And duck bacon! Are you not entertained?
The Patty Melt
Jonathon’s Oak CliffAddress and Info
Owner and chef Jonathon Erdeljac takes one of the most iconic sandwiches in America and amplifies its power. His patty melt is the size of the moon. It’s momentous, buttery, and stretchy with cheese. It’s a two-nap sandwich: one nap right after eating it, and one later in the day because you earned it. Sautéed mushrooms and onions, the onions caramelized in brown sugar and “chill-spice,” sit with the griddled beef patty, and the aioli adds a stern, garlicky dimension on the toasted wheat.
The Italian Combo
Carbone’s Fine Food and WineAddress and Info
Every time you take a bite from this sandwich, a single tear rolls down Mario Batali’s cheek. It’s the sandwich that belongs in Little Italy (eat your heart out, Eataly). Crusty bread holds up to the wash of vinegar-bold dressing, which sits with a three-meat combo of mortadella (the Italian-version of beautiful, beautiful bologna), spicy coppa, and soppressata. Onions, razor-blade thin, and shredded lettuce add a cool crunch. One bite, and you’ll be magically transported to the old-school flavors of New York’s Italian neighborhood back in the day.
The Meatball Sandwich
Jimmy’s Food StoreAddress and Info
One of the oldest, most respected sandwiches is at this Italian market in East Dallas. Deeply comforting, saucy meatballs are loaded with grandma’s-own tomato sauce, and sticky mozzarella. As though you’re starring in your own food commercial complete with sultry, slow motion cheese-pull, the white cheese will stretch between halves as you separate them. The meatballs are garlicky and tender. Get it with everything, which means sweet peppers and thin white onion for an extra crunch. The wise guys of Goodfellas would be proud of you.
C SeñorAddress and Info
The Cuban sandwich at C Señor, the tiny food hut just off Bishop Ave, is a new Dallas classic. Peppery, tender, mojo-marinated pork sits with good ham, melted Swiss, and the sharp and prickly of mustard and pickles. Grab a concrete chair outside the stand (there’s no indoor anything at C Señor), and devour it along with the yuca fries, which taste like the breeze off Miami Beach. In fact, you’ll likely forget you’re sitting in Dallas altogether.
The Hot Fried Chicken Bun
Top KnotAddress and Info
This tiny sandwich is the jewel of Uptown. Crunchy fried chicken is sauced with a cornichon gastrique, which means it’s good acid against the fried breading, with a pickle medallion underneath. It’s all in an adorable Parker House roll, and it’ll be gone in seconds. It’s a perfect little diamond of a bite. Can someone make a Ring Pop-version out of this sandwich? It’s that good.
Goodfriend PackageAddress and Info
Great BLTs can evoke memories just as easily as a classic bologna or a good, old-fashioned turkey sandwich. And Goodfriend Package, from the folks who brought you such restaurants as Goodfriend, has them all. The BLT -- with bacon that’s made in-house -- is the simple stunner though. The bacon is perfectly crispy and salty, mingling with a powerhouse combo of bacon fat mayo (also made in-house), and white toast. We mentioned the bacon fat mayo, right? Yeah, just making sure. With a curtain of good lettuce and tomato, you have one of the simplest, best sandwiches in Dallas.
The Lobster Roll
20 Feet Seafood JointAddress and Info
A lobster roll is a sandwich of the gods. In fact, we’re pretty sure that somewhere in Greek mythology it’s mentioned as the favorite sandwich of Poseidon. 20 Feet’s bright and fresh version, easily worthy of Poseidon’s expectations, includes stellar Maine lobster, flown fresh from the source. The tender meat is run through a lemon zest mayonnaise, and laid, oh so gently, into a buttered, toasted roll. Alongside TJ’s Seafood Market, 20 Feet’s is, bar none, the most indulgent and dilated-pupils-good lobster roll in the city. Enjoy it with a glacier-cold beer, which you can bring in yourself.
Cattleack BarbequeAddress and Info
There are days in our great city wherein you might eat some vegetables, and then there are all those other days. On those non-vegetable days, you’ll want Cattleack’s sausage and brisket. Melt-in-your mouth, juicy, fatty, sausage and brisket towering high on a soft bun. There’s also pulled pork, which is laugh-out-loud good. Take caution: Cattleack is only open Thursdays, Fridays, and one Saturday every month. Add a scoop of pimento cheese to send this sandwich into the stratosphere.
The Grilled Cheese
AllGood CafeAddress and Info
No food list would be complete without the head-to-toe feeling you get when you eat a perfect grilled cheese. And the version at AllGood Cafe is one sexy sandwich: steamy flows of pepper jack and Cheddar find roasted green chiles, followed by tomatoes, all between grilled sourdough. It’s deeply warming. There’s a chipotle mayo in there, too, which only helps to firmly secure the place of this sandwich as one of the best in Dallas.
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1. Armoury D.E.2714 Elm St, Dallas
2. The Blind Butcher1919 Greenville Ave, Dallas
3. Jonathon's Oak Cliff1111 N Beckley Ave, Dallas
4. Carbone's Fine Food and Wine4208 Oak Lawn, Dallas
5. Jimmy's Food Store4901 Bryan St, Dallas
6. C. Señor330 W Davis St, Dallas
7. Top Knot2817 Maple Ave, Dallas
8. Goodfriend Package1155 Peavy Rd, Dallas
9. 20 Feet Seafood Joint1146 Peavy Rd, Dallas
10. Cattleack Barbeque13628 Gamma Rd, Dallas
11. AllGood Cafe2934 Main St, Dallas
This modern, urban space feels like a speakeasy with its low ceilings and dark accents, but with better beers, more inventive cocktails, and an excellently crafted eclectic menu. Co-owner Peter Novotny made sure to make Armoury stand out amongst the other Deep Ellum restaurants with Hungarian dishes like gulyás and spaetzle from his mother’s recipe book. However, you will find all sorts of diverse treats like Indian samosas, Spanish Chicharonnes, and a good ol’ fashioned American burger. Explore their long list of bottles, cans, and drafts and try one of their Boilermakers (beer mixed drink) or one of the many craft cocktails like the Jackie O (rye whiskey, sasparilla, angostura and black walnut bitters) or the Mr. Pink (gin, absinthe, raspberry, egg white, and orgeat).
It’s hard to focus on a single menu item because The Blind Butcher makes their own pickles, hand cranks their own sausages, fries pig ears, makes a mean charcuterie board, and is beloved for their sinfully good poutine. The Butcher features an obscenely large beer list with craft drafts from some of America’s favorite breweries (think Ommegang and Lagunitas), local Texas breweries, and their own house brew. This restaurant has a distinctly industrial, relaxed feel in it’s home in an old warehouse, yet it brings a stylish urban atmosphere that has been described as “New York comes to Dallas.”
With not one but two daily happy hours, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and breakfast served all afternoon, Jonathon's Oak Cliff is pretty easy to love. The popular soul food spot, housed in a charming green clapboard building, serves classic Southern fare all day. While the (literally) award-winning chicken and waffles are the crowd-favorite on the brunch menu, the kitchen serves everything from breakfast tacos to pancake-battered sausages. For dinner, the burgers are the house specialty, ranging from the fresh veggie burger to the famous "Nooner Burger," stacked with bacon, ham, Swiss, and a fried egg. Whether searching for some hearty Southern fare, or a serious hair of the dog, Jonathon's will certainly deliver.
Famous for its notoriously delicious (secret) meatball recipe, Carbone's is part Italian specialty food store, and part local lunch counter. The whole place is packed with gourmet groceries either sourced from small, high-end purveyors, or prepared in-house. The Dallas market is the ideal go-to spot for cooking provisions -- olive oils, wines, imported meats and cheeses -- while there are a battery of marvelously fresh options available at the deli counter as well. In addition to house specialties like hand-pulled pastas, and fresh antipasti, the counter serves hefty Italian sandwiches and pasta dishes, all made-to-order with the finest of Carbone's house-ingredients (this is your chance to order the meatball sub). While the joint is self service throughout the week, in good Italian form, it serves a massive sit-down dinner every Sunday night.
This Dallas mainstay is the go-to local spot for all-things-Italian. Founded in 1996, the specialty food store has been a family-owned crowd favorite for over 50 years. Daily, the staff hand-rolls meatballs and bakes Italian sweets (with old, family recipes, of course) in the back of the shop, while in front, they help patrons select gourmet groceries and bottles from their carefully curated Italian wine selection. Locals can order hefty, fresh sandwiches at the counter, sample house-made olives, and shop for everything from imported balsamic vinegars, to handmade pastas. The imported cheese and meat selections are expansive, the antipasti bar is stuffed, and in true Italian fashion, dollar espresso shots are available all day. And while the folks at Jimmy's offer wine tastings on Saturdays, the wine room tucked behind the store is open to guests all week.
In the red and white stand-alone building on Davis Ave. that used to be home to El Padrino, C. Señor is a walk-up sandwich shop and taco stand in the Bishop Arts District. You’re here for the Cuban sandwich, served with roasted mojo-marinated pork shoulder, ham, Swiss, pickles, and mustard on a properly baked and sliced loaf. Though there are burgers, tacos, and vegetarian options also on offer, the Cuban sandwich is likely the closest you’ll get to the real thing in Bishop Arts. Order it, or whatever you get, with a side of yucca fries or (fried plantains or the more health conscious).
Born from the popularity of local pop-up parties, Trompo’s main attraction is the Mexican-style spit-roasted pork that’s sliced, griddled, then folded into tacos and quesadillas. There’s also bistek (beef) on hand, as well as pablanos and paneer for vegetarian palates, but the signature rotisserie is the must-eat menu feature. Beneath the bright fluorescents, there is no ambiance and no tables, so you’ll want to take your house-made sauce drenched meal to-go.
Brought to you by the dudes behind Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House, sister resto Goodfriend Package is an upscale reinvention of the neighborhood sandwich counter and deli. Located across the street from its sibling spot in East Dallas, stop in and order a hand-carved meat sandwich on a biscuit or Texas toast while you peruse the varied selection of craft beers.
Corkage-free BYOB and delicious, greasy eats like a crispy cod po' boy or a lobster roll with a side of garlic rosemary fries make 20 Feet a great spot for a relaxing, delicious meal.
As Cadillac is to high-quality vehicles, Cattleack is to top-notch smoked meats. This take-out barbecue joint is notorious for melt-in-your-mouth cuts of pork, all of which are roasted in a massive, on-site BBQ pit, and expertly doused in house BBQ sauce. Hungry carnivores can either choose from a list of available sandwiches like the famous Toddfather (brisket, pulled pork and hot link-sausage), or select a cut of hot, seasoned meat (anything from beef ribs to brisket to homemade sausage). While the spot mainly offers take-out and catering services, it arranges early afternoon seating on Thursdays and Fridays for those who want to bask in the heavenly aroma of roasting red meat while they feast. Oh, and lastly (but most definitely not least,) guests are offered a cold FREE beer, while they await their glorious meals.
The name of this Deep Ellum staple pretty much says everything. The towering pancake breakfasts, the chipotle turkey club lunches, the gravy-smothered chicken fried steak dinners -- it's all just really, really good. And with regular live country music acts and quirky mementos, like the colored paper cranes hanging form the ceiling and screen-printed art adorning every wall, taking a seat here is like getting a little slice of Austin without the three-hour drive.