We set out to find the best sandwiches in Charleston, but it was a difficult task. With countless different combinations of bread, toppings, and condiments, the possibilities seem endless. Instead of saying these are the best, let's just say that these are some of the tastiest and most original creations in town. We're not just building a sandwich, here. We're building a dream.
House-Roasted Wagyu Beef at Ted's Butcherblock ($8)
334 East Bay St. Downtown
Bon Apetit magazine named Ted's Butcherblock one of the top 10 sandwich shops in the country for good reason. Ted Dombrowski gets his customers hooked at first bite with the stuff in his store. He'll hand you a sample of homemade beef jerky or sinfully stinky gorgonzola so that you can't help but buy more. His house-roasted Wagyu beef comes from humanely-raised top breeds of cattle and is high in unsaturated fat and revered for its tender juiciness. Combined with sautéed exotic mushrooms, caramelized onions, and blue cheese aioli, Ted's take on the old-fashioned roast beef is as tasty as it is tender. Pair it with a J.W. Lee Harvest Ale ($10) — a rare brew aged in dark liquor casks so luxurious that it could be dessert — and you have a meal fit for a king.
Shrimp BLT at Cru Café ($8.95)
18 Pinckney St. Downtown
Most BLT's are defined by their bacon. With the shrimp BLT at Cru Café, everything from the smoky taste of the char-marked sourdough to the spicy melted pepper jack cheese, works together to enhance its insides. Neatly piled with fatty and crispy strips of apple wood-smoked bacon, sliced shrimp, lettuce, tomato, and light mayo, this innovative rendition keeps you salivating well after you've finished eating. Sandwiches like this, that come with sides like loaded mashed potatoes or a generous fruit salad with whole strawberries and sliced cantaloupe still on the rind, help make Cru one of the best lunch spots in town.
Chicken Salad Sandwich at the Glass Onion ($8)
1219 Savannah Hwy. West Ashley
The Glass Onion proves that with the right ingredients, good food doesn't have to be fancy to be satisfying. Their homestyle chicken salad sandwich is a prime example. Chunks of tender free-range roasted chicken salad mixed with diced celery and tons of cumin burst out of a huge, crusty, oven-baked hoagie. Crunchy Bibb lettuce and tomatoes border the bread and the whole thing is topped with thick pickles, colorful, vinegary, pickled hot peppers, and a sweet and creamy deviled egg. This blissful sandwich will have you licking your fingers dry from the thin, spice-speckled mayo dripping down its side.
The Mozz at Bull Street Gourmet ($6.99)
60 Bull St. Downtown
Among all the delicious sandwiches in this neighborhood one-stop shop, The Mozz can please the vegetarians as easily as it can the meat lovers. An evolution of the caprese, The Mozz comes with two types of tomatoes — freshly sliced vine-ripened and sweet, fire roasted tomatoes marinated in oil and Italian seasoning. We like to order prosciutto on ours (an extra $1.50). The soft and watery mozzarella blends perfectly with the piles of salty, paper-thin ham. Nutty walnut pesto and balsamic vinaigrette spread on either side of Bull Street's house-baked ciabatta roll create a complexity of flavor that evolves in your mouth with each bite.
The Black Bean Burger at Surf Bar ($5.95)
103 Cooper St. Folly Beach
In the realm of the sandwich, the burger stands in a category all its own. But a good veggie burger is much harder to track down. Like everything else on their small menu, The Surf Bar does its veggie burger damn well. Watch chefs feed the flames as this black bean patty made with crushed tomatoes and south-of-the-border spices sizzles on their wood-burning grill, topped with gooey havarti cheese. Best part of all, the burger comes on a swirled sourdough roll, dusted with flour, freshly made daily at Ashley Bakery. One of these and a frosty glass of Coast, and you'll feel like you're on vacation, as you soak up the good vibrations on the Surf Bar's relaxed back patio.