By Joe Duffy
Your humble correspondent cherishes pretty much any category of food—well okay, you won’t discover me chowing down in a vegetarian restaurant. Ever. But sandwiches should be lofty on the list of registries of any gastronome worth her weight in gluten. At the onset, let’s get the incendiary debate out of the way. What meets the requirements to be labeled a sandwich? I declare if its protein ensconced in some fashion of bread, it is. Hotdogs, hamburgers, gyros, all qualify.
Contrarily, the splendid Ziva at rookie-of-the-year nominee Vertigo Café has been classified as a “savory pastry” by the Google machine, so will have to sit on the sidelines with the likes of any empanada at Belen De La Cruz Empanadas & Pastries as breathtaking protein in dough, yet ruled ineligible for this distinguished portfolio.
Also, the catalog of greatness is limited to Current Hubville, incorporating Alpharetta and Roswell, AKA AlphaRoz. Hence Fred’s, Big Dave’s, et al, I love you but until you do the right thing and open a location inside said parameters, I will shout your praises on https://www.instagram.com/realjoeduffy/ instead.
19) Burger stack, Bocado Burger: There are countless worthy contestants for best burger in the two cities. ITP import Bocado Burgers conquers in a photo finish.
18) Butcher’s Bun, Barleygarden: Co-owned by “boutique charcuterie house,” The Spotted Trotter, a provider to many elite restaurants, the meat transcends all expectations.
17) Cheesesteak, From the Earth: Few establishments come close to a one-every-street-corner in Philly quality cheesesteak, but FTE approximates. The Leidenheimer French bread adds to the quality though certainly not Delaware Valley authenticity and the Duke’s mayo completes the southern underscore.
16) Chicago dog, Village Burger: In common with the cheesesteak at From the Earth, the fact a Vienna hot dog isn’t utilized enables purists to toss the authenticity flag. Still, it’s a very good “Chicago style” one at bare minimum.
15) Spicy chicken bacon ranch, Coalition Food & Beverage: I caught myself extolling the convergence of harmonizing ingredients a lot lately. The primary components, proclaimed in the title, do complement each other well.
14) Lamb burger, Moxie Burger: The finest option on the menu at one of the top burger joints in North Fulton.
13) Pork Seinfeld, Wildflour: Chef/owner Michael Field has been in the profession a generation or so. Bread, pork, and “special earthy sauce” are all prepared in-house.
12) Lobster roll, Bite Bistro: Proprietor and chef Leif Johnson was at the forefront in foreseeing the lobster roll’s popularity exploding in the metro area. Nobody does a more esteemed one.
11) Gyro, Athens Restaurant: The populace has been plunking in long, but rapidly progressing and replenishing lines for decades at the quintessential no-frills hole-in-the-wall. The tzatziki sauce elevates this to the next level.
10) Mojo pork, Liud Cuban Bakery & Café: The Cuban sandwich gets the buzz, but from the moment Liud added a small lunch menu to her custom cakes, word spread about the baker-turned-savory maestro. Yes, of course the Hawaiian bread is baked on premises and is top notch.
9) Meatball sub, Minnie Olivia: It’s improbable you’ve eaten better pork meatballs than at this downtown Alpharetta relative newcomer.
8) Croque monsieur, Douceur de France: Everything is well-crafted at DDF, including the famed French sandwich.
7) Veal meatball panini at Campania: And I doubt you’ve had a better veal meatball, wrapped by flatbread, constructed from their 00 flour pizza dough.
6) Cuban, Tortugas: Fantastic restaurant, fantastic eponymous sandwich.
5) Beef shawarma, Jerusalem Bakery: Anything would be delectable on their bar-setting pita bread, but the innards on this menu choice do it suitable justice.
4) The Coma, Peach & the Pork Chop: Ham, turkey, pastrami, corned beef, bologna, hot Italian sausage, fried egg, provolone. Meats are either made in-house or sourced from ace suppliers like Patak’s and Parma.
3) Shrimp burger, Fickle Pickle: Chef and head honcho Andy Badgett has excelled from fine dining to fast casual. Tough to uncover a better (not really a burger) burger.
2) Pastrami, Savory Gourmet: The top two ranked purveyors each have several legitimate contenders on their menus. A NJ/Philly/New York City grade Italian hoagie can be gained here. But the pastrami, bread, and mustard are straight from Katz’s Delicatessen which makes said sandwich the biggest star.
1) Scallop at Mitch’s Meats and Seafood: Interrogate 10 of Mitch’s devotees insofar what their favorite samMItch is, counting each fish option as distinct, you will get perhaps eight different answers. But the scallop one sets a crazy high bar. Mitch makes the bread and the spicy tartar sauce.
The wonderful fact is that there are a large number of other deserving contenders. Branch & Barrel, Citizen Soul, Restaurant Holmes, Butcher and Brew (which took their best sandwich, the Balboa off the menu) are among those who are meriting. But who to leave off? Hen Mother Cookhouse, Noosh Kitchen, and Emidio’s have top 5 worthy entrants, but they are each a mile or so outside the AlphaRoz borders, excluded only by geography.