Dish Restaurant Guide

Summer 2016


There's no excuse for someone to eat a bad sandwich in Charleston. Period. Whether it's a delicate, cheese-filled baguette from goat.sheep.cow or a monster meat affair like Lewis Barbecue's El Sancho Loco, this city has a sandwich to suit everyone. But when did we become such a sandwich eating town? Is it just the American way or is there a particular Holy City legacy behind our bread-and-meat mania? Those were the questions percolating in my brain this spring as I chomped into the excellence that is Spero's lamb barbacoa. Dripping with barbecue sauce, the pickled jalapeños, mayonnaise, and queso fresco coalescing into a messy dream, I couldn't help but think, "This sandwich is way better than it has to be." Crazier still, Spero's lamb barbacoa isn't an anomaly. There are killer sandwiches hiding out all over Charleston and they deserve your attention as much as the next $100 tasting menu to hit the scene. So, for this issue of Dish, we dug deep, ate the hell out of some 'wiches, and have prepared the following report. Pro tip: don't read this while eating your sad desk lunch. —Kinsey Gidick

What is Charleston's signature sandwich?
What is Charleston's signature sandwich? What's it going to take to get our own po' boy or Philly cheesesteak?

Philadelphia has its cheesesteaks, and New Orleans has po' boys. When in Baltimore, you must try a pit beef sandwich topped with tiger sauce, and no trip to Chicago would be complete without an Italian beef. — Robert F. Moss

How to make Leon's fried chicken sammie at home
How to make Leon's fried chicken sammie at home Spoiler Alert: It's easier than you think

This is like Argo but with chicken," was the response I got from one of my co-workers when I made us all blindfold ourselves to taste test nine locally sourced fried chicken sandwiches. — Kinsey Gidick

Weird 'wiches
Weird 'wiches Not your grandfather’s ham sandwich

Sandwiches are undoubtedly the champion of standard lunch fare for millions of Americans. Come noon every day you can find us munching away at our desks, in a café, in the car, at the park ... pretty much anywhere. — Robert Donovan

Did Charleston's foremothers launch this city's sandwich love affair?
Did Charleston's foremothers launch this city's sandwich love affair? 'Wich, Please

The 1920s was the decade of the sandwich in Charleston. That's according to Dr. David Shields, and he would know. A professor of English at the University of South Carolina, Shields is a living, breathing file cabinet of Charleston food ephemera. Perhaps you remember him from his last foray into sandwich history for City Paper — his Dish: Gullah Geechee issue essay, "Fish Tales" in which Shields revealed the city's fondness for fish sandwich cabarets. Forget dancing girls, these places were all about grabbing a quick, fried meal. — Kinsey Gidick

Holy Aioli
Holy Aioli What is it about the omnipresent sandwich condiment that keeps us coming back for more?

Mayonnaise is a quintessential polarizing foodstuff. Sure Southerners love to sing the praises of Duke's, but just as many South of the Mason-Dixon Line will tell you they hate it. But what about aioli? — Vanessa Wolf

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