Old Bay Fried Chicken at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken
Old Bay Fried Chicken at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

More from the Sandwich Issue: 15 Sandwiches You’ve Gotta Try

Most Elusive Sandwich: The G-Man at Mangialardo & Sons

In 2011, City Paper called The G-Man Italian sub “D.C.’s quintessential sandwich.” But it’s hard to come by. Mangialardo & Sons is only open on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you work daytime hours and your workplace isn’t near the Potomac Avenue Metro station, good luck ever trying one.

Most Justifiable Gimmick: Old Bay Fried Chicken at Astro Doughnuts & Fried Chicken

Fried chicken served on a doughnut is gimmicky enough. Adding Old Bay seasoning to foods that wouldn’t normally have it—a doughnut, for example—is even more so. But while this concept may seem like a stunt, it also happens to be a great sandwich, and the fact that it’s a savory doughnut makes it reasonable to eat for lunch.

Sloppiest Joe: Torta Ahogada at El Chucho

With a name that literally translates to “drowned sandwich” and comes with a set of disposable plastic gloves, you know you’re in for a mess. A spicy arbol sauce is poured over the top and drips all over the pork and black bean filled sandwich—and your face. Bring extra wet wipes to aid in the cleanup.

Most Convenient Sandwich: Banh Mi from Guerilla Vending

Say you’re sampling beers at Atlas Brew Works’ tasting room or grabbing a drink at The Pug. Suddenly you decide you need a sandwich—now. You don’t want to give up your spot or close your tab. So what do you do? Simply walk over to the vending machine, which is stocked with a variety of banh mi-style sandwiches (even vegetarian ones) from Dirty South Deli. Pay your six dollars, retrieve your snack, and immediately return to your beer.

Ritziest Grilled Cheese: Rich e Rich at Ripple

If you’re able to make it to the limited grilled cheese hours at Ripple’s bar (5 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily and varying late-night periods), you’ll be rewarded with this ultra indulgent combination of chèvre, mushroom duxelle, prosciutto, and truffle butter. The salty and creamy combination will leave you feeling like a fat cat, especially when you pair it with a cocktail or wine. Singularly focused grilled cheese spots like Melt Shop and GCDC offer more expensive options packed with lobster or figs, but when it comes to the full experience, Ripple can’t be beat.

Photo by Caroline Jones