The humble sandwich may sometimes be overlooked on the menu. If you’re going to eat out, why order something you could whip up in your own kitchen? But sandwich-making is a culinary art in and of itself, and centuries of work have produced some truly spectacular entries in that category of food. So next time you’re thinking of going out for lunch, head to one of the following locations and fall in love with the sandwich all over again.
406 N. Paca St.
Baltimore, MD 21201
Trinacria is an Italian deli and grocer with serious staying power. In the competitive food industry, Trinacria has managed to keep its doors open for over a century. This centennial Italian eatery allows the patron to walk out with grocery bags of old-world goodies, order some takeout at the deli counter or garner some catering for your next party or get-together. It’s difficult to highlight only one sandwich on a menu so rich with Italian flavor and charm, but the chosen star would have to be the Turkey Tapenade Sandwich which consists of a generous portion of turkey, tapenade, roasted peppers and provolone on focaccia. Stop by for a sandwich, and head home with a bag of inexpensive Italian wines, fresh-baked breads and olive oil.
Chaps Pit Beef
5801 Pulaski Highway
Baltimore, MD 21205
It’s often difficult to find a pit-beef stop that has risen to the rock-star status that Chaps enjoys. Not only has it won acclaim in Baltimore Magazine’s “Best of Baltimore,” but it has also been featured on the Food Network for “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.” You can’t argue with the facts. Chaps pit beef, turkey, pork, BBQ chicken, ribs, ocean fries, baked beans, green beans, cole slaw, potato salad and more are all packed with enough flavor to make you a fan. Chaps has exactly two dozen items on its sandwich menu, every one of them a mouthwatering feast. About halfway down the menu humbly sits its understated “Beef Sandwich.” Of course, when the entire establishment is named after a single item on the menu, you can bet that’s going to be the go-to item. Chaps brags that its Beef Sandwich is the “Best in Baltimore!” Try it and you may just agree.
On The Hill Cafe
1431 John St.
Baltimore, MD 21217
On the Hill Café is an unassuming brick building that sits on a street corner looking like every inch of the hidden gem of taste that it is. Its growing reputation makes it somewhat crowded, especially when the local school lets out. Fortunately, this spot has plenty of outdoor seating so you may enjoy your chosen treat while sitting in the sun. Of course, choosing a treat is another challenge. Its menu is truly extensive. Go with the McMechen, a spinach tortilla stuffed with curried chicken salad, red grapes, mango chutney, pecans and lettuce. Wash it down with some of the cafe’s exceptional (and creative!) pomegranate lemonade. You are sure to feel satisfied when you finish your meal. More than this, though, you can feel some community pride. On the Hill participates in a number of environmental programs, including running entirely on wind-power and recycling all of its cooking oil as biodiesel fuel.
113 Back River Neck Road
Essex, MD 21221
Pizza John’s is a serious establishment. Sitting like an island in an expansive parking lot, it looks like an Italian villa. Of course, John’s has been around since 1966, so in many ways, it is the established Don of the Baltimore pizza scene, and lesser restaurants aspire to its greatness. Pizza John’s is, of course, best known for its pizza. In fact, its pizza garners so much praise for its exceptionally gooey-fresh crusts, tangy sauce and over-the-top toppings that sometimes its equally exceptional sandwiches are entirely overlooked. Do yourself a favor and try the 14″ cheese steak and fresh mushroom sub. Order it loaded. If you have a palate for spicy food, ask for the “hots” – a pickled mix of spicy peppers – on your sub or on the side.
1019 E. Lombard St.
Baltimore, MD 21202
Attman’s is the flavor of New York in the city of Baltimore. It’s no secret that New York has a world-wide reputation for its excellence in deli foods. Attman’s has done Maryland the courtesy of importing that quality to a local venue. Unconvinced? Consider for a moment the fact that Attman’s has been a Baltimore mainstay since 1915. That’s a century worth of testament to its superiority. Of course, the proof is in the taste, so waste no time in getting down to East Lombard and ordering off the menu. Everything is good, but the recommended item would be the hot pastrami, coleslaw and Russian dressing on rye. Attman’s preserves both the feel and the flavor of an old-school deli so well that upon entering, you’ll feel like you just walked into New York.
Related: Best Cheesesteaks In Baltimore
Joel Furches is a freelance writer and researcher for The Examiner and Logos Software, and also manages his own catalog of writing on Hub Pages. Joel is on the board of directors for Ratio Christi. He has a bachelors in Psychology and a Masters in Education.