Not every sandwich can be called worthy of anything but a mindless pile of meat, cheese, and bread, but when a wise cook knows what they’re doing it can yield a sandwich that’s worth a few more of your laboratory-slaving dollars. It can yield a sandwich that’s worth being called a “sammich.”
So before you buy another greasy mass-produced chicken sandwich, consider the following.
The best Tech-area sandwich-based meals are the products of Crazy Cuban on 14th Street, just a few blocks north of campus. Those who aren’t Tech veterans and missed out on Kool Korners’ decades of Cuban sandwiches will still find a great alternative to that glory for less than $8.
Crazy Cuban’s main offerings are the Traditional Cuban – ham, pork, Swiss cheese, pickles, mustard and mojo on fresh Cuban bread made to order – and the Classic Cuban, which adds lettuce, tomato, onion and jalapeño. Though these are their more popular sandwiches, my favorite is the Media Noche sandwich, which holds the same cargo as the Classic but uses medianoche bread – a sweet egg-based bread.
Sandwiches come in half sizes for only $4 and full sizes for $6, and may be complemented by plantain chips and a nice variety of beverages like a Cubano and Jarritos tamarind soda. A combo of a full sandwich, chips, and drink costs $7.79 and takes about a few minutes to prepare during usual lunch hours.
For the east-side lunch crowd, St. Charles Deli in Tech Square is quite a well-known Atlanta deli that offers the usual suspects alongside some interesting and delicious house specials. The traditional deli sandwiches like the liverwurst, BLT and deli-style sandwiches are great and are worthy of repeat visits, but the house specials are even better. Their flagship offering is the Saint Chuck: a chunk of slow-roasted pot roast that soaks its toasted French roll, topped with a slaw.
Among all these great sandwiches, the best find here is the Grilled Reuben: a half inch pile of pastrami and corned beef topped with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and the tangy Russian dressing that makes a reuben and reuben, all sandwiched between rye bread and then grilled. Other offerings like the bacon and fried egg cheeseburger and the half-pound Mile High sandwich are also excellent.
St. Charles Deli is open for breakfast and lunch on weekdays only until 3pm. Be sure to try out Athens-based Jittery Joe’s coffee here, fresh during their breakfast hours. It beats out Starbucks down the street in price and quality. At the time of this article’s publication, St. Charles Deli is moving closer to Tech campus next to Waffle House, so be ready to jump on them when they reopen in just a few weeks.
Just a block away from St. Charles is a similar deli-style cafe, the Biltmore Cafe and Grill. This corner cafe, located on the northwest corner of the Biltmore Hotel, is a cute little place with classical music usually playing on the stereo, the lady at the counter constantly smiling, and the man in the back eagerly waiting to cook something for you. Half their offerings are southern meat and vegetable plates, which are put out around 11am, and the other half are made-to-order sandwiches. Their reuben is pretty good, but the Philly cheese steak is one of their best and definitely the best within walking distance of Tech.
Finally, Le Petit Café in the IBB Building on campus is an option for those who don’t quite have the time to jump off campus. The mini-eatery serves sandwiches, soups and coffee to a repeat crowd of mostly faculty and grad students. The prices are a little high for rather standard sandwiches, but such a small location has a surprisingly nice variety – including awesome snacking material and vegetarian/pescetarian options. Their rotating weekly soup menu, available on their Facebook page, is usually a better catch than the sandwiches and are worth a visit.