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Dec 4, 2009 09:22 PM

Where to find a great DC/Nova sandwich?

This may have been beat to death on this board in the past, but I figured I'd rekindle the discussion. I'm from a close suburb of Philly in South Jersey and I am always looking to duplicate the sandwiches I enjoyed growing up. I've taken reccomendations from this board and have slowly made my way around to the ones with good reviews. So far, Earl's and the Italian Store in Arlington, and Taylor Gournet in DC have been very good. I was much less impressed with the Cowgirl Creamery on 7th in DC. They may be good for grab and go, but that's just because they aren't very messy. There's not much on them other than a slice or two of meat and some cheese. I'm looking for a good hearty sandwich with lots of meat and toppings. It could be a good old Italian hoagie (Italian Store), a roast pork sandwich (Earl's), or a chicken cutlet sandwich (taylor gourmet). Please let me know if there are any sleepers out in town that could turn into a possible MVP. I'll keep looking myself and report back my findings.


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  1. The Deli in Herndon or Fairfax - especially the "Hot Sicilian". Not "A Deli" in Worldgate - "The Deli". - if you order the hot sicilian as it's on the menu - you got meat. (you can order single meat serving for cheaper).

    Jimmy's for their regular philly or the beef on weck.

    The chicken philly at Santini's is good.

    1. Mangialardo's Super G Man sub. It's got twice the toppings of the already generous G Man, so it's basically Death-by-Hoagie. Good luck trying to finish it.

      Mangialardo & Sons
      1317 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, DC 20003

      1. University of Maryland, College Park, MD has a Student Union Building where we once went to the coffee shop (whatever) in the basement for phenomenal sandwiches.
        They build your sandwich, to your specific order, using a wide variety of ingredients. I was not a student. I simply went there whenever I was nearby because the sandwiches were so good. Inexpensive as well.

        1 Reply
        1. re: recipelover

          2 of my favorite sandwiches come from my college days the gyro at Marathon Deli in College Park, MD. They saute the meat to give the strips of gyro meat a nice crispy, carmelized sear with home made tzatziki, toasty pita bread. I haven't been there for a while, but that gyro is still my favorite.

          The other sandwich is the meatball parmesan sub at 3 Brothers in Beltway Plaza, crispy, toasted sub, gooey mozzarella, meatballs, and a fantastic tomato sauce--I always asked for a shooter of extra sauce. My mom mentioned that she saw the old italian ladies making the tomato sauce and why she thinks the sauce at this location was better than the others. The sauce is still the best sauce that I have ever tasted, but that was many years ago, I have to go back sometime. They also have good italian ice.

        2. I was in Del Ray here in Alexandria for Art on Avenue a couple of months ago. I was waiting at a bus stop on Mt. Vernon Ave just south of Monroe street. A guy was at the stop with a box full of wrapped hoagie-type sandwhiches (turns out they were cheese steaks). We started chatting and he said he had just picked them up from the nearby Al's Steakhouse (

          The guy was from Philadelphia, lives in Montgomery county, and comes all this way, by bus and metro no less, for the cheese steaks. He called the place a "hidden gem" and says they are just like he had in Philadelphia. I don't eat beef so can't give a personal rec but there you go.

          I used to live in Del Ray and the place has been there forever.

          5 Replies
          1. re: milocat

            Second Al's. Some Philly natives are indifferent, but I find them really tasty. Other good local variations on the "steak & cheese" include those at Philly Water Ice Factory on H Street NE, Mario's/Marino's, and The Broiler, a local institution. Each have their followers/detractors. Not a fan of South Street Steaks.

            Speaking of The Broiler, they have an excellent homemade spicy sausage patty sub.

            1. re: monkeyrotica

              It's funny that I think of all of these resturaunts that have been listed, I live closest to Al's. My wife and I tried it a few years ago, but she wasn't impressed, and I can't seem to remember what I thought. I guess I'll try that this weekend, On another note, I tried the Broiler in Arlington on Sunday. I had a cheesesteak with mushrooms and fried onions. It was pretty good. I think it smelled better than it tasted. My wife had the chicken cheesesteak which we both agreed was really good. I'll post back here as I make my way around to all of your suggestions.

              1. re: mcb1981

                Since you're in the Arlington area you should check out the cuban at Caribbean Grill as well.

                Oh - and the Torta at Pepito's in Adams Morgan should also be on your list.

                I'm due to hit The Deli in Herndon soon for a Hot Sicilian for me and pay back to a coworker. I'm lucky to have such a strong sandwich nearby my office and house.

                1. re: Dennis S

                  I ike the Cuban at the Caribbean Grill but I have to say, I could -- and often used to -- make a meal out of their sides!

                  1. re: Bob W

                    And I love the open kitchen complete with the well used sauce pans, etc.

          2. i, love, earls. seriously, i'm so glad somewhere else eats there....for a place with such amazing sandwiches it has never seemed very popular to me. I also like the sandwiches at Lost Dog — definitely worth looking into.

            4 Replies
            1. re: littlew1ng

              littlewing, tell me about earl's, please. i know where it's located; i'm more interested in what makes it stand out sandwich-wise.

              and...too bad that it doesn't serve an andouille sandwich with remoulade, since it offers a gumbo with andouille.

              1. re: alkapal

                The roast pork sandwich is really good. They roast their own meats and just generally do a good job with a sandwich.

                1. re: ktmoomau

                  I second the roast pork. The signature one, I think it's called an Earl, is good. Plus the one with fries on it is not bad either.

                  1. re: mcb1981

                    I third the roast pork. I've always wondered why it hasn't taken off... maybe location?