We get the goods on two of the city's newest sandwich shops. Jason Brill
If you're as bored with Subway's $5 footlongs as we are, it's time to step up to the counter at one of two homegrown spots that recently opened in the city. Downtown's Cleveland Pickle jazzes up its sandwiches with house-made pickles and a globe-trotting mix of flavors, while Ohio City's Bogtrotter's Doorstep caters to the late-night crowd with big, sloppy sandwiches and ordering options that may be a tad confusing after a few drinks — or at least that's what people tell us. We deciphered it all for you.
Spots fill up quickly at this 18-seat shop, so get there early. Also know that the place has its own terminology. "[It's] kind of like our own pickle language," co-owner Josh Kabat says of the creative toppings that come on some sandwiches. Angry Pickle is a spicy olive relish while Pickle in Middle is a sweet daikon relish.
It's all about the homemade au jus: how much of it you want and where you want it. " 'Dry' means it comes on the side," says chef Nate Williams. " 'Soaked' is fork-and-knife style." He usually recommends his sandwiches "wet," poured over just the meat. Williams also suggests getting the "crunch," or crumbled kettle chips.
Kabat recommends the Classic Pickle ($10) for first-timers. "It's our version of an Italian sandwich," he says of the provolone, prosciutto, sopressata, capicola and Angry Pickle-spread sub. His favorite is the Payne Avenue Panini ($9) — a take on a bánh mì with Asian-style meatballs, shredded carrots and Pickle in Middle spread.
Williams traveled to sandwich shop staples in Philadelphia and Chicago to research the art of putting meat between bread. He came home with the idea for the Porkopolis ($9), which has shaved pork loin, provolone and spicy broccoli rabe. "I season the au jus with whole-grain mustard cloves and allspice," Williams says.
The Clevelander ($10) represents the city's food-forward thinking. It comes with black forest ham, sopressata, smoked turkey, white cheddar, pickle chips and roasted garlic spread. "People are not looking for an average $5 footlong," Kabat says. "They don't mind paying a couple extra dollars."
The Cleveland ($9) comes stuffed with turkey, Swiss cheese, grilled onions and turkey jus that Williams says is almost like Thanksgiving gravy. "Every deli and every sandwich shop in Cleveland has a turkey sandwich," Williams says. "It's accessible. We wanted something on the menu that we knew every Clevelander would love."