We’re in the Midst of a Sandwich Boom—Here Are Five You Need to Try Right Now

Reubens, Italian subs, and more.

The National—a mash-up of fried chicken and doro wat—at Melange. Photograph courtesy Edens.

“The National” at Mélange

449 K St., NW

Chef Elias Taddesse brilliantly melds two galline pleasures: the fried-chicken sandwich and doro wat,his native Ethiopia’s famed chicken stew. The slow burn of berbere spice is tempered with zingy turmeric-laced slaw and a big slather of aïoli.

Reuben at Chewish Deli

807 Pendleton St., Alexandria

The food truck turned deli has taken over the former Pendleton Carryout space in Old Town. A straightforward menu offers freshly rolled bagels, pastrami on rye, and this classic corned-beef-and-kraut sandwich (in the morning, you can gild it with an egg).

“Salami & Slaw” at Fight Club

623 Pennsylvania Ave., SE

This is not a car sandwich—this is a messy, fall-apart, 12-napkin sandwich. Andrew Markert, who runs this pop-up out of Capitol Hill’s Beuchert’s Saloon, starts with buttery toast and a ton of creamy slaw. Then he adds a stack of crispy salami, a move that’ll make you wonder why more chefs don’t throw deli meat into the fryer.

Cheesesteak at Ghostburger

1250 Ninth St., NW

The Mexican restaurant Espita, in Shaw, is still up and running, but it now has a side hustle—a separate menu of smashburgers, fries, and cheesesteaks. The star is this tightly rolled sandwich, packed with almost equal parts shaved rib eye and caramelized onions, then drenched in housemade cheddar sauce.

The mortadella-mozzarella sub at Your Only Friend. Photograph courtesy of restaurant

“Mort N’ Mootz” at Your Only Friend

1228 Ninth St., NW

At this pop-up inside the Shaw cocktail destination Columbia Room, manager Paul Taylor amps up the richness factor of the typical Italian sub. Here, a soft roll holding creamy mozzarella, fatty mortadella, and mayo is cut with briny pickled red peppers and shredded lettuce.

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.