Darrow Montgomery

Sandwich fans sighed when Taylor Gourmet announced in late September that it had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and would close all its stores.

One Taylor outpost managed to survive the mass shuttering, however. It’s located in Terminal B/C of National Airport, and yes, you’ll need a ticket to pass through security to gain access to the hoagies you never thought you’d have again.

The Airport Taylor is still open because it operates under a licensing agreement with a company called Concessions International, so it was excluded from the bankruptcy proceedings.

As City Paper’s resident sandwich critic and most frequent flier, I sampled three Taylor classics to determine how they compare to the originals, and whether you should try one if your holiday travel plans take you through DCA. (Five hoagies is the best rating, one hoagie is the worst.) 

The Ben Franklin

Breaded chicken cutlet, Mom’s house marinara, sharp provolone, fresh basil

Taylor’s signature chicken parmesan sandwich suffers greatly from the rushed airport treatment. Since travelers don’t have tons of time to wait for their food, the dry chicken cutlet never gets warm enough, and the marinara sauce and provolone cheese make its crust mushy. It’s also among the messier sandwiches, and table space in the terminal is scarce. Even if the mouthfeel is off, the flavors of melted cheese, red sauce, and fried chicken still play well together.

Overall score: 2.5/5 hoagies

The Race

Herb-roasted turkey, prosciutto, sweet basil pesto, fresh mozzarella, lettuce, Roma tomato, red onion, olive oil

Are the shrink-wrapped turkey and gouda sandwiches from Hudson News’ refrigerator case too moist for your liking? Then please consider The Race—the driest turkey sandwich I have ever encountered. For the sake of speed, Airport Taylor pre-portions the meat, leaving it exposed to the air for who knows how long. Pesto, prosciutto, and mozzarella should add some flavor, but the taste is muted. Consuming this sandwich on one of Taylor’s tough seeded rolls is a full-mouth workout.

Overall score: 1/5 hoagies

The 9th Street

Genoa salami, hot capicola, prosciutto, sharp provolone, lettuce, Roma tomato, red onion, ultimate vinaigrette

Finally, a serviceable sandwich that can be delivered quickly. The meats in this sandwich are also pre-portioned but don’t dry out nearly as much as the turkey does, and the “ultimate vinaigrette” gives the sandwich some much needed acidity. Unfortunately, the fillings overwhelm the roll and slip out onto the wrapper, forcing you reassemble the sandwich as you eat. You’ll get messy, but don’t worry, since air travel is not the fashion show it once was. Order this and skip whatever waits in the $10 on-board snack box.

Overall score: 4/5 hoagies