Olympia’s Top Five Sandwiches

Noah Lutes

Duncan Noah, Writer

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Merriam-Webster defines a sandwich as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.”  I define a sandwich as the most complex and diverse food grouping known to the palate of man (and also as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filing in between”).  I embarked on this quest of finding the five best sandwiches in Olympia not only to sate my hunger, but also to better acquaint myself with Olympia’s deli scene.  I write this not as a food critic (I have little to no experience writing up what my taste-buds think) but as someone who merely enjoys eating and saving money while at it.

To kick off my grand experiment I headed off to the new Jewish deli downtown.  At Kitzel’s I ordered the “Number Two”: A smoked hot pastrami sandwich accompanied with only deli mustard, unhindered by the traditional side show of tomatoes, cheese, and lettuce.  As I played a game of ‘will it fit?’ with myself, I ended up consuming the entirety of the sandwich much too quickly and without enjoying every bite to its full potential.  A delicious experience, but somewhat diminished by the $9.50 price tag that seemed a tad much.

Easily the most recognizable sandwich shop in downtown Olympia, Meconi’s was an obvious choice for my project.  I decided on just a basic pepperoni sandwich, which I was told was their most popular, and took it to go.  Half an hour later, after the greases and oils soaked into the bun, I tucked in.  Another great sandwich and easily the cheapest (nearly half the price of all of the others).  If strapped for cash, pass up Kitzel’s in favor of Meconi’s.

I remembered reading “sandwiches” somewhere on Casa Mia’s menu while perusing the pizza selection during a previous outing, so I decided to try out their offering.  Casa Mia was the only place at which I had never tried a sandwich before and had nothing to base this experience on.  I ordered the “submarine” sandwich (the basic pepperoni-tomato-lettuce-and Swiss cheese combo) and enjoyed it immensely.  A great sandwich, however it lacked anything exceptionally special or unique to set it apart from the rest of the sandwiches featured in this article.

Wagner’s is the only restaurant on my list that I visit regularly (normally to get the day-old doughnuts on the cheap), so I decided to order a sandwich that I usually don’t get.  The Turkey Delight caught my eye.  A turkey sandwich on rye bread with havarti cheese, cranberry sauce, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and deli mustard; the day-after-Thanksgiving potpourri.  An absolutely fantastic sandwich coupled with Wagner’s staple sandwich companion: A small piece of frosted carrot cake.

I opted out of continuing the trend of ordering traditional deli sandwiches and headed to the Southbay BBQ for something else.  I ordered the pulled pork sandwich; a mess of pork drenched in sauce and slowly working its way out of the bun.  While it was well-worth the hassle of cleaning up afterwards, I prefer the deli flavor to the barbecue’s and may have preferred the other sandwiches to this one.  But it was still great, and if you like the sauce more than the sandwich, this’ll be right up your alley.

After I quietly congratulated myself on executing my scam (I drove around town sampling sandwiches and convinced people it was homework), I reflected on all of the sandwiches consumed and enjoyed throughout the week.  Wagner’s was my favorite with Kitzel’s pastrami sandwich close on its heels.  Meconi’s and Casa Mia’s subs were both good and very comparable to each other.  I would recommend Meconi’s over Casa Mia just because of the price.  Then at the rear of the pack was Southbay’s pulled pork sandwich which I was already somewhat biased against.  And so my quest ended as it began: with me wondering what to eat next.


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