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What's the 2nd best sandwich place in DC?

I've been struggling with a question that a friend (who is very much DC savvy) asked me recently. After Breadline--I think most would agree this is the city's best sandwich spot, quality of bread, etc.--what's the next best option? My fear is that everything else blends together in a mediocre mass much behind breadline but hopefully I'm forgetting something. This is very much a chowhound question--so can't be any type of chain unless maybe a smaller local one. Different way to think about it: you're headed to the airport for a long flight and it's Saturday (so Breadline is closed). Where do you go to get carry-on sandwiches that'll take your mind off the horrible state of air travel and airport food?

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  1. I'm a fan of Jettie's...

    1. Just outside of DC proper (but so is the closest airport) - Italian Store. I'd also say a trip to German Gourmet can do someone up really right and make other passengers jealous.

      I'm not a fan of Breadline, though, so I don't agree with your assumption.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Dennis S

        I'll second The Italian Store, but add a caveat. If you've never eaten one of their sandwiches, and you can't give the assembler personalized instructions, ask for some of the condiments to be put in little plastic containers rather than on the sandwich. For example, I like a bit of hot pepper on my sandwich, but the assemblers always put more on than I prefer. And I'm not a fan of the sweet peppers. I just don't like sweet with meat. If I were to eat my first Italian Store hoagie done up the standard way, I would wonder why everyone is a fan of the place. When I customize my IS hoagie, it's a treat.

        1. re: Dennis S

          Interesting--both the reccs and the stance on Breadline. Do you like something (anything) better inside DC? Have you found a place with better bread inside the District?

          1. re: nwdchound

            I like Breadline's bread fine, but also like Firehooks though I see you're not a fan of the latter.

          2. re: Dennis S

            where is German Gourmet? sounds good!

            1. re: lindsay_r

              Google "german gourmet falls church va" to get some results. For some reason it's showing three locations, but I only know of 2. I've only been to the original location which is on 29 south of Broad St. in Falls Church (probably 1/2 mile from Broad).

              The newer location that I know of is in the Bailey's X-Roads area, and is apparently much larger (where you can't hardly get smaller than the original location).

              1. re: Dennis S

                German Gourmet on Washington St in FC aka RT 29 closed quite some time ago..the one on Columbia pike in Baileys is a lot roomier.

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                German Gourmet
                5838 Columbia Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041

          3. Agree with Italian Store. I'm a Philadelphia native and these are truly good hoagies. Get a soft roll, not a hard one.
            Other places that get a lot of good buzz on their subs are A. Literi's and Mangialardo's.

            1. There are great sandwiches at Marvellous market - branches at Georgetown, Dupont Circle and - I think, Foggy Bottom - their brownies are also fantastic, the pumpkin muffins are to die for - and more or less all the cakes are totally delicious.
              Also try the Firehook bakery - they also do fabulous pecan sandies and other cookies and muffins etc.

              6 Replies
              1. re: fliss

                One of the best sandwich in the city would be the reuben at Deli City, or any corned beef or pastrami sandwiches from there.

                1. re: crackers

                  Yup, Deli City corned beef is probably the best sandwich in town -- well, other than the burger at Hell-Burger.

                  1. re: crackers

                    A pastrami/corned beef combo at Deli City has the best of both worlds.

                    1. re: Steve

                      Pastrami and corned beef do rock at Deli City, but their atrocious store-bought rye bread takes it out of the running as the best sandwich in the city.

                      1. re: DanielK

                        I wonder if they'd let you bring your own rye bread? Anyway, I hear you about the bread thing. I can't stand when so-called Chicago dogs don't come on a poppy seed roll. I can live without the sport peppers, but not the green relish and poppy roll.

                        1. re: monkeyrotica

                          Maybe the best sandwich in DC is in my kitchen - corned beef and pastrami from Deli City, and a fresh-baked rye bread from Brooklyn's Deli in Rockville.

                2. I am chiming in on the Italian Store. I love the Napoli on soft with everything but onion, but I like my peppers. Definitely up there, may be better than Breadline, although I love Breadline.

                  I think again not in DC proper, but next up after those two if you can't find something you like at Lost Dog Cafe in Falls Church or Earl's Sandwiches in Clarendon then you just aren't trying. But Breadline and Italian Store are awesome.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ktmoomau

                    I also wanted to add Liberty Tavern as having excellent sandwiches for lunch, although it isn't a deli style, they do have to-go. I think what makes theirs so good is the bread there, too. There has been a lot of discussion about bread and Liberty's is very good. And they make their own sausages and many of the meats so it really is fresh and tasty. They are huge though, about 2 meals for me, and not extremely cheap, but not too bad. Probably behind the Italian Store, and Earl's, in NOVA, but very good.