The perfect sandwich at SANDWHICH

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

We had already been meaning to visit SANDWHICH, the much talked and hyped about lunch joint on Franklin Street, before last month’s barrage of media attention.

First, Vanity Fair listed the grass-fed meatloaf with crispy bacon, Vermont cheddar, sliced tomatoes and balsamic glaze on sourdough toast in a feature called “Our Favorite Sandwiches Across the Country.” Next, Huffington Post jumped on the bandwagon, calling the sandwiches “heavenly” and “using only the best ingredients from nearby farms.” And these two swooning reviews were only in the last month — indeed, just about every foodie has left singing its praises.

It was time to check this place out for ourselves.

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By the time we arrived at the small and minimalist space at around 2 p.m., much of the lunch crowd has dispersed for the day. Indeed, besides a small group finishing up their meal, we were the only ones there. SANDWHICH’s menu is an example of the locavore movement taken to the extreme; all of the premium ingredients, from the chicken to the vegetables to the bread, are locally-sourced. Which means they’re amazingly fresh — and not cheap.

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My choice was made with little debate: the meatloaf sandwich ($9.50), which VF said had a “cult following.” Charlotte opted for the house-roasted turkey breast ($9.50), with bibb lettuce, tomatoes, avocado and Harissa mayo on toasted wheat. We both were enticed by the house made potato chips ($2) and freshly squeezed lemonades ($2.50).

All together, lunch for the two of us was just under $30. As we took our seats in the shady courtyard outside we wondered if it would be worth it.

Twenty minutes later, finishing up the meal, we shamed ourselves for ever questioning SANDWHICH — my sandwich was quite possibly the best that I’ve ever had. The meatloaf was perfectly seasoned and piled with melted cheddar, vine-ripened tomatoes and (this being North Carolina) a couple strips of bacon. The chips were thinly sliced with some garlic, kosher salt and minced fresh parsley. A small dish of pickled carrots was quite good, too.

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SANDWHICH is so confident in its sandwiches that it offers a money-back guarantee if they aren’t “fresh” or “delicious” enough.

I’d be surprised though if any diner has ever taken them up on the offer.

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Comments

  1. Hi Marc — Janet from Sandwhich here. Just wanted to thank you for your lovely comments about your experience eating lunch with us. Unfortunately for you (but infinitely easier for us), we don’t accept comments on our website. It is set up as a blog b/c that works better for us since we’re such luddites (it is a user-friendly interface). But we don’t have the ability to really monitor comments and since it is a “marketing arm” of our business, if you will, we just don’t accept any. I loved your blog — loved your story about your trip to Morocco. You may know our chef, Hicham (Hich) is Moroccan. I half thought you might have something arabian going on what with the name Zawel, but wasn’t sure. I’ll show your Moroccan blog to Hich — he’ll love it. Thanks again for your visit and we hope to see you again! — Janet Elbetri

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