6 Killer DC Sandwiches That Will Make You Die Happy

We heart these heart bombs.

A new story in the Wall Street Journal posits: “The humble sandwich is the saboteur of the American diet.” Besides that being a snooty way of saying ‘sandwiches are bad for you,’ are they really? Sure, there’s a reputable cardiologist who argues that deli sandwiches are “heart bombs” given the processed meat and cheese. Well, consider us happy targets.

Here are six DC sandwiches that might kill you, but you’ll die happy.

Colossal Short Rib at Joy by Seven Reasons

The $65 Colossal Short Rib sandwich at Joy by Seven Reasons. Photograph by Maritza Rondon.

Not only is this mammoth, whole-short rib sandwich the most expensive in DC ($65). It’s probably the deadliest, clocking in at 2.5 pounds (roughly the weight of a small puppy). It’s also dangerous for your clothes, hence the surgical set-up where customers are given a sharp knife and plastic gloves to dissect it.


Roast beef boi at Compliments Only

The mayo-happy folks at this Dupont Circle sub shop are not to be trusted with your health. They’re even armed! With a mayonnaise gun (we’re not joking). Though pretty much every sandwich here will kill you, we’re partial to death by a thousand roast beef cuts. This bad boy is loaded with rare meat, crunchy lettuce, crunchier potato chips, provolone, and garlic aioli—and served with a side of French onion dip for dunking.


Primanti and the Tots at Fight Club

Fighting words: an Italian cold cut plus eggs and tots. Photograph courtesy of Fight Club.

Diners are in dangerous territory at the slap-happy Capitol Hill sandwich shop, known for busting out creations like a fried chicken-funnel cake bun, or a hot dog tower (yes, hot dogs are sandwiches here). Their new Italian cold cut creation edges further into heart bomb territory thanks to a fried egg, tangy slaw, and crunchy layer of tater tots. Drive a nail into that delicious coffin with a “painchiller” rum punch.


Inside-Out Tuna Melt at Call Your Mother

The inside-out tuna melt at Call Your Mother. Photograph by Tim Casey
The inside-out tuna melt at Call Your Mother. Photograph by Tim Casey

CYM makes the meltiest, tastiest, tuna sandwich in town (imho). Is it too much tuna? Yes, but we’re not complaining. The inside-out treatment involves a buttered everything-bagel that’s flipped for a soft, chewy inside and crunchy outer layer. Add two cheeses (American and cheddar) and Mark Warner-level mayonnaise, and it’s the deadliest catch of lunchtime.


Lil’ Petey at Bub and Pop’s

Lil' Petey, a challenge of a sandwich at Bub and Pop's. Photograph courtesy of Bub and Pop's
Lil’ Petey, a challenge of a sandwich at Bub and Pop’s. Photograph courtesy of Bub and Pop’s.

This sandwich isn’t a meal—it’s a bragging right. Customers who choose to accept the Lil’ Petey challenge are tasked with consuming five (!!!) pounds of food in 15 minutes. It’s basically a barnyard in sandwich form—beef, various porks, turkey, fried chicken, fried mozz, eggs, more cheese, possibly a goat, it’s hard to tell—plus a ton of condiments and a bed of fries. Winners a) survive, and b) eat free. Everyone else pays $50 plus the cost of medication.


Hot pastrami at Stachowski’s

Here’s the secret to the Georgetown butcher shop‘s heftiest sandwich: it’s not a sandwich. It’s a multiple sandwiches, given the octuple-stack of thick-sliced, homemade pastrami, slathering of hot mustard, and loaf-like pumpernickel bread. If you treat it like one sandwich, you’ll meat your maker.

Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.