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  • alannamichaelweddi

Top 5 Sandwich Joints

Updated: Sep 7, 2023

Sometimes you just need a good sammy.

Sandwiches can make or break your workday. In that short lunch window squished between two halves of a long day at that office, you must choose wisely. If your workday is the slices of bread, then your meal in the middle is the protein needed to get through the day.

It’s such a different vibe than dinner. Dinner (especially on Mondays - which is reserved for the Bachelor and spaghetti) can be something hot that you eat slowly, served in a bowl with sides of sauce, multiple courses and consumed at a leisurely pace. Lunch, however, is strictly business. Skip bowls spoons and silverware altogether. As all restaurant lunch shift servers know, it’s get in, get out. Whether you are dining in (like when I served at Houlihan’s), or getting a fast meal (like when I built sandwiches at Panera), it’s gotta be go, go go. But while the moments are brief, the food should truly satisfy – right down to your well-heeled toes!

The Lunch Sandwich Winners:

Another major difference to dinner (or weekend) dining, is that the ambiance and vibe of the purveyor hardly matters. In fact, sometimes the more rudimentary, no flash, only open til 2:00 pm, restaurants are the best. Those places couldn’t stay open if not for their edible wares.

So, here in no particular order, are my top 5 Sandwich Steals.

Okay, so maybe I am starting with my favorite, but their chicken salad is so delicious that it’s hard to think of much else. It’s probably best on a pita with lettuce and tomato. It’s a large sandwich with all the chicken and mayo you can dream of.

Chicken Salad Pita from Clara's Tidbits

Everything is fresh and piled high. You can also order yours on their croissants, which are big and flaky (maybe too flaky for an important meeting). They have yummy Reubens on rye, toasty tuna melts (if you’re in the mood for something different), and loads of turkey on the regular sandwiches. Each sammy comes with a savory pickle and chips. I’ve never been to the actual location, but get their catered lunches every month for Coach Jax. You sometimes have to call to order, rather than just using the website, but it is worth it.

INSIDER TIP: Substitute chips for their potato salad if you want to get the ultimate Clara’s experience.

If you are a Jacksonville native, and specifically a Jax Beach person, then you’re probably in the know about ordering the Peruvian. It’s never a mistake. Before I moved to this city, I visited with some friends. Those friends (UNF grads) insisted we hit up Angie’s for some grub.

Now this casual joint does have a very fun vibe, cute outdoor seating, and giant sunflowers growing outside. The décor inside is kinda of beachy, retro zany. Like Chow Down Ally, you get in line and order upfront. You absolutely must get the tots as your side. It’s blasphemous not to. There is Peruvian sauce at the tables if your sandwich needs some more love. If you’re trying to choose between subs and aren’t in the mood for their classic Peruvian, try the My Wife Kicked My Out, which has smoked chicken and provolone, or the Dirty Gringo which has bacon (need I say more?).

INSIDER TIP: Get the tots. Also, Keep an eye out for Angie's Subs' new location at JIA in 2024!

Do you ever crave egg salad sandwiches? I know they aren’t for everyone. But the right one, on thick white bread with lettuce and big tomato slices, can be epic. I started choosing this option in downtown Orlando at New York Deli. Then, when I worked near Gran Bay Parkway, I discovered Chow Down Alley. Such a great non-fussy-as-they-say lunch restaurant. They have good prices, changing specials (at least when I used to go), and those thick crinkle fries. I would also try their chicken tenders and Philly’s when I was in the mood. It’s like having a home-prepared lunch but from a really nice kitchen.

INSIDER TIP: Maybe order breakfast too (think bagels and home fries).

When it comes down to it, lunch is truly about convenience. Now my work lunches have taken me to St. Augustine Road, so I am a stone’s throw away from Adam’s Sandwich Shoppe.

This groovy lunch spot features Utz chips, cold sandwiches, burgers, and daily lunch specials (last I checked). I love their range of items, from meatball subs and wings to gyros and cold sandwiches. They also give you a ton of fries (if you skip out on the Utz).

INSIDER TIP: They have different menu prices in the shoppe than those you might come across online! A good thing to note, so that you’re not shocked by the higher bill.

My final choice is pulled pork and brisket sandwiches from Bearded Pig (the best meat piles in town). Yes, BBQ is a bit of a different animal. But when it comes down to it, you have bread on both sides (in bun form) and meat in the middle – the definition of a sammy. These are fast and filling and entirely messy. But sometimes for the right lunch, you gotta get sauce on your hands.

INSIDER TIP: Don't wear khakis. Try all the different sides. They're delish.

Final Thoughts

It was truly hard to choose number five. I thought of European Street, but then my focus would be on the brie more than anything, and those ruffled potato chips don’t scream excitement to me. Plus I go there for the cookies and buckeyes, and this isn't a dessert blog.

Thoughts of brie led my belly to French Pantry, and while their fresh baked breads and scrumptious ingredients would leave any food mentioned in this blog in the dust, they don’t win the lunch sandwich race, because they are just not fast enough. You only want to dedicate leisurely and luxurious lunches to them. Save them for your day off.

When I originally made my 5 choices, I hadn't yet tried the ginormous, meat and and flavor packed subs at Jon Smith Subs. Their Steak Bomb and Cuban just might have tipped the scales.

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