The Search for Eugene’s Best Sandwich
By Andy Valentine
Photos by Jackson Voelkel
What is it that makes sandwiches so awesome? Is it the texture, flavors, DIY mentality, or the propensity for customization? Is it the fact that you can make food less messy by holding it between two slices of bread? Does a sandwich even have to involve bread? The short answer is that a little of all these questions and characteristics go into designing and building a truly great sandwich, and there are a multitude of places in this great city of ours waiting to share their skills with you. Seriously, you’d be amazed at how many unexpected places are sitting on a mountain of sandwich gold.
So without further ado, here’s where to get your Sammie on:
Cornucopia Bar and Burgers
Recommended Sandwich: “Wade’s Smokey Club”
Although Cornucopia has been voted time and time again as the best restaurant in town to grab a burger or sing karaoke, the folks at both of their locations are also in the know about how to make a great sandwich. With multiple vegetarian and meat options, there’s a great assortment of choices for all types—whether you want a Tempeh Rueben or a B.L.T—and the portions won’t disappoint. The prices are a little higher than most, with a sandwich and fries costing anywhere between eight and eleven dollars, but it’s still worth the trip.
Cornucopia has two locations: 207 E. 5th Ave. & 295 W. 17th Ave.
Recommended Sandwich: “Build-Your-Own”
Almost everyone has been inside or noticed the Kiva, it’s hard not to when your store is located right next to the downtown bus station. Aside from being an awesome grocery story, wine merchant and bookseller, though, the Kiva is also home to some incredible sandwiches, made-to-order style. There are some interesting veggie options that make the Kiva’s sandwiches unlike any of the other places in town, these include hummus and tofu pate, and there are a multitude of vegetables to choose from also. At $5.75 for a whole and $3.75 for a half, the prices are undoubtedly Eugene’s best, so keep this in mind for a quick and inexpensive lunch when you’re downtown.
The Kiva is located at 125 W. 11th Ave.
Benedetti’s Market and Deli
Recommended Sandwich: “Meatball Grinder”
While Benedetti’s might be just across the border into Springfield, thus making it an “unofficial” candidate for my sandwich hunt, it is still one of the most interesting and authentic places around, so it’s worth mentioning. Vegetarians beware here—it is a meat market after all—but for those who love meaty, East Coast deli style sandwiches, this place is one of the best. It really doesn’t matter what you order, it’s gonna taste great. Okay, so there is one vegetarian option—it’s a walnut, dried cherry and Monterey jack salad. So there you have it; even amidst a haze of meat there’s still something for everyone.
Benedetti’s Market and Deli is located at 533 W. Centennial Boulevard, Springfield.
Recommended Sandwich: “Club”
Jiffy Market is one of those rare gems that you can’t help but love. It’s tucked neatly into a small space along Hilyard, just south of West Amazon, and despite it’s rugged exterior, the inside is a wonder to behold. So, what of the sandwiches? Well, there’s a multitude to choose from—whether you’re in the mood for a cold and simple cream cheese, cranberry and turkey, or something more complex like the mouthwatering curry chicken—and the portions are awesome. Everything is made fresh, so you can feel free to grab a beer out of the fridge (that’s right, it’s like a convenience store that lets you open your drinks inside), or get microbrew on tap and sit there watching intently while your Sammie is prepared. The prices are fair—a sandwich will run you around seven bucks—and the service is quick. Eat in, take out, do whatever; you’re gonna love these sandwiches.
Jiffy Market is located at 3443 Hilyard St.
Recommended Sandwich: “Five ‘O’’
Fans of Subway and Quiznos looking for something classier will find solace in Cheba Hut. While the entire chain is based on a marijuana themed gimmick, the sandwiches themselves are far more than just quirky stoner food. With around thirty different subs to choose from, there’s no way you’ll run into problems finding something you like, and the ingredients are all fresh and delicious. They’re open seven days a week and deliver until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays. All this taken into account, there’s no doubt that Cheba Hut is Eugene’s best sub shop.
Cheba Hut is located at 339 East 11th Ave.
Barry’s Espresso and Bakery
Recommended Sandwich: “Breakfast Special”
This place has giant sandwiches, and when I say giant, I mean “equivalent-of-three-square-meals” giant. They can make just about anything you want on just about any bread—including Challah, a sweet, braided Jewish bread that’s a must try—with a half sandwich costing $5.25 and a whole at $6.95. The atmosphere is that of a New York style Jewish deli; the type of place you go to grab a quick and awesome lunch during your break. It’s the breakfast, though, that really takes the cake: The “Breakfast Special” contains egg, bacon, pesto, cheese and tomato, all stuffed neatly in a challah roll. Believe me, you’ll be happy you tried this one.
Barry’s has two locations: 2805 Oak St., & 804 East 12th Ave.
The ‘Wich House
Recommended Sandwich: “Turkey Dinner ‘Wich”
It seems as though the ‘Wich House has been missed by a lot of people. This may be due to the fact that it’s tucked into a small space between buildings along Wilamette street downtown, or it could just be that word of mouth has yet to catch on. Whatever the reason, the ‘Wich House is not to be missed. Their lunch menu has ten sandwiches to choose from along with soups and salads, and the options are all incredibly unique. Take, for instance, the Turkey Dinner ‘Wich—a sandwich that basically sports a Thanksgiving dinner between its two slices of bread—or other items like the Spicy Ahi ‘Wich and the Poached Pear ‘Wich (which is great for adventurous vegetarians). From top to bottom, the ‘Wich House has got it going on.
The ‘Wich House is located at 840 Willamette St.
Recommended Sandwich: Grilled “Build-Your-Own”
From the outside (and most of the inside) Capella is nothing more than a somewhat pricey health-food grocery store. But a ten second walk to the back sandwich counter will be one of the most worthwhile trips of your life. Here, you fill out a quick form (which is adorned with awesome ingredients) drop it with a Sammie maker, and wait for what is undoubtedly one of the best sandwiches you will ever have. The price for a half is $4.49, a whole costs $6.49, and the deal is topped with a free bag of chips and a pickle. While the wait can be longer than most other places, it’s more than worth it for the Best Sandwich in Eugene. Capella’s sandwich bar also sports great veggie options and is without a doubt one of the best value for money delis you’ll find in the city. Do not, under any circumstances, miss these sandwiches.
Capella Market is located at 2489 Willamette St.
So there you have it; some of the best of the best sandwiches that our city has to offer. Enjoy.