G by Mike Isabella’s Spiced Baby Goat and this monster 4 Meat Grinder from Stachowski’s (pictured above) get a whole lot of airtime in these parts. So do all of these sandwiches and these. But what about those undiscovered examples of sandwich artistry? We’ve got 10 for you. Try these under-the-radar sandwiches and note that burgers need not apply.
10 Under-The-Radar DC Sandwiches You Need to Be Eating
Fried Peanut Butter & Jelly
Bub & Pop’s (address and info)
One bite of this deep-fried beauty will take you back to a state fair first date or a very happy childhood filled with fried things. Sandwich chef extraordinaire Jonathan Taub hand grinds the peanuts and makes his own jelly. The only thing that’s not house-made is the classic Pepperidge Farm cinnamon toast. Once assembled, the whole PB&J sandwich is doused in funnel cake batter, fried, and served with a crème anglaise.
Stachowski Market (address and info)
You’ve probably had a friend brag to you about finishing off a famed Stachowski pastrami sandwich or that grinder we mentioned. Both are built to feed a family of four. But don’t rule out a lesser known option: a humble, yet life-changing club sandwich piled high with bacon, sprouts, avocado, Swiss, and mayo. The turkey’s sliced nice and thick, like Thanksgiving.
Goat Sausage Sandwich
The Fainting Goat (address and info)
Goat’s getting a lot of attention these days, and for good reason. At The Fainting Goat, they serve the protein in numerous forms -- including raw -- but the sausage sandwich is the standout. It comes with the same trimmings as a ballpark sausage (peppers and onions), but also raises the bar with ingredients like eggplant. Look for it in the “Chomp” section of the small but bold menu.
Zentan (address and info)
If a Jewish deli owner and a Korean grandmother made sweet, sweet... sandwiches, they would look and taste like this. Thin slices of duck sit atop Korean sauerkraut that’s akin to kimchi, giving it more tang and spice than a regular Reuben. Then, there’s Gruyere cheese, Asian Thousand Island dressing and mizuna (a leafy green veggie). Obviously, it’s served on rye. The sandwich is available at lunch.
Pork and Fries
Earl’s Sandwiches (address and info)
You don’t have to crawl along 70 West to Pittsburgh to try a fry-stuffed sandwich. Earl’s has it covered at their Clarendon and Ballston locations. The Pork and Fries sub is filled with juicy roasted pork plus French fries, chipotle mayo, roasted red peppers, sweet pickles, and chopped onions on ciabatta. For best results, wait a few minutes before diving in so the fries can reach their maximum sauce-soaked soggitude.
DGS Delicatessen (address and info)
Lamb is lame… or at least status quo when it comes to gyros. That’s why DGS changes up this traditional pita sandwich by substituting slow-cooked beef tongue. It falls apart on your tongue (META) and is nicely complimented by all the Mediterranean fixings: tzatziki, feta, lettuce, tomato, and red onion. You’ll find it on the lunch menu.
Del Campo (address and info)
Downtown/Mt. Vernon Square
There are technically only two requisite ingredients in this sandwich and if you passed 7th grade Spanish (instead of flirting with Manuela) you’d guess that they’re chorizo and bread. This street food sandwich is sold in Argentina, Bolivia, and beyond. But at Del Campo, Victor Albisu goes above and beyond by lovingly wrapping the chorizo in pulled pork and burnt rapini for a South-Philly-meets-South-American surprise. It’s served with yucca fries and a mini crock of sauce.
Lamb Meatloaf Sandwich
The Red Hen (address and info)
Everyone heads to The Red Hen for the pasta, especially that addictive rigatoni. But don’t overlook the one bready option on the menu: an over-the-top lamb meatloaf sandwich that’s got game. No literally, the lamb gives the sandwich a real gamey flavor that’s complimented by smoked onions, crisp Romaine lettuce, dill yogurt, and marinated cucumbers.
G Street Food (address and info)
McPherson Square (& Dupont Circle/White House)
This fried chicken sandwich may be called “Kentucky”, but it has nothing in common with Colonel Sanders or anything that comes in bucket form. The G Street Food sandwich is stuffed with fried bits of chicken, rather than a whole breast, giving it more of a po' boy feel. They add on garlic-roasted mushrooms, fresh spinach, "Angry Mayo", and bacon bits. Don’t let the sub roll shape fool you, this baby’s on brioche.
Pulled Duck Sandwich
Kangaroo Boxing Club (address and info)
Sorry, no ‘roo meat in this sandwich… just a whole lot of pulled duck that’s been rolled around in tangy sauce. Also on the French baguette: blackberry caramelized onions and bacon jam. Try it perhaps with a rye flight of four one-ounce pours. That’ll keep your mouth busy between bites of Daffy.
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1. Bub and Pop's1815 M St NW, Washington
2. Stachowski Market and Deli1425 28th St NW , Washington, DC
3. The Fainting Goat1330 U St NW, Washington
4. Zentan1155 14th St NW, Washington
5. DGS Delicatessen1317 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington
6. Del Campo777 I Street NW, Washington
7. The Red Hen1822 1st St NW , Washington
8. G Street Food1030 15th St NW, Washington
9. Kangaroo Boxing Club3410 11th St NW, Washington
This charming mom & pop shop in Dupont Circle has a whole host of hearty hoagies at their disposal, like their traditional Italian, roast pork, or our favorite, Pop's Beef Brisket, with apple-horseradish cream, five-year-aged Gouda, and veal jus.
A farmer's market vet now has the meatiest corner store of them all, with a pig chalkboard displaying daily sandwiches, and deli cases rocking gourmet options like chicken bratwurst (w/ a cider-soaked apple/ sage/ nutmeg), port- & juniper-spiced duck, and a bay leaf/ toasted oats pork they're calling "Banger, English style", so you'll want to eat it with the lights off, try not to move around too much, and wish each other well afterward with a firm handshake.
The Fainting Goat has an impressive selection of craft brews on draft, along with a tiered food menu (Nibble, Graze, Chomp, and Feed) to make sure you don't resemble their namesake after too many beers.
From a Hong Kong-raised Iron Chef-contender who's built his rep on a slew of Toronto fooderies, Zentan's a sleek, slate-tiled, cross-Asian dining hall ornamented with finished black tables and hanging, razor-like pallets of faux-candles.
DGS Delicatessen takes the idea from your old Jewish grandmother's kitchen and elevates it with a modern and creative spin that gives this authentic deli-bar new flavor and energy with a homestyle base. Styled after the turn-of-the-century grocery stores, DGS Delicatessen house cures and smokes their all meats and fish as well as crafts their own duck fat matzo balls.
Using a wood-fired grill is one way to cook a steak, and at Del Campo, that smoke helps add another level of flavor to the meat. This upscale Argentinian restaurant in Chinatown is a beautiful tribute to Argentinian grilled meats, all served in an elegantly rustic space outfitted with oak wood floors and leather sling-back barstools- perfect for enjoying the 48oz ribeye on the menu.
The open kitchen, bare brick walls, and simple, maple furnishing make you feel like you're in your own home when you eat at The Red Hen, as does the comfort of their classic Italian and American dishes. Just upscale of what you'd find in a chain, roasted chicken with black truffle polenta, house made cavatelli with spicy lamb, and grilled swordfish show impressive culinary chops but don't break the bank. They stick to simplicity here, even with its global wine list, and it works.
If you've been a fan of their Montreal-style bagels and banh mis, you'll be happy to know G Street's McPherson Square location does dinner as well. The dinner menu features rabbit stew and Singapore Chili Crab, keeping up with the international injections of the other location's menus.
As its name suggests, this Columba Heights restaurant and bar errs on the side of quirky. KBC does great things for barbecue, and its dinner menu is packed with smoked meat platters, BBQ sandwiches, and burgers, plus a few vegetarian options for the meat-averse. At weekend brunch, the signature smoked brisket and pulled pork get topped and scrambled with eggs. Though you'd certainly be missing out if you didn't order any food, KBC is the kind of cool and laid-back place to grab a drink, especially when the sidewalk patio is in full swing.