My 10 Favorite Houston Sandwiches

Categories: Top 10

genos-troy.jpg
Photo by Troy Fields
My favorite bread for my favorite sandwich.
Like Ginny Braud, I love sandwiches. Let me say that again: I LOVE sandwiches. Everyone who knows me knows this. It's become almost embarrassing given the fact that I'm on the wrong side of 40 and I still get giddy over a food item designed almost specifically for children. And I'm not really all that picky. A good P, B and J is perfectly awesome. I probably would even dive back into a bologna and Miracle Whip on Wonder Bread if it were served with some Hawaiian Punch, like when I was 10. I have a problem.

Okay, maybe that's stretching it, but you get the picture. So, with November 3 being National Sandwich Day, I really had to drop my list of my 10 favorite sandwiches in Houston. I omitted hamburgers, hot dogs, gyros and anything that you wouldn't call a sandwich if it were listed on a menu. Frankly, I had a tough enough time narrowing it down without having to include burgers.

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Photo by Matthew Dresden
The potato salad at Nielsen's is as good as the sandwich.
10. Baked Ham and Swiss - Nielsen's Delicatessen

Nielsen's is one of my favorite places to grab a sandwich and go. The tiny little storefront on Richmond barely has any seating, but the food is fantastic. I opt for the baked ham and swiss cheese. The only thing that is typically served on it is their homemade mayonnaise, which is the stuff of legend. If God loved mayonnaise (and I assume He does), He would slather his sandwiches with this stuff. You can choose your bread, but I always go for white in honor of my Scandinavian genes (all 25 percent of them). You'd be nuts not to grab a small cup of their potato salad, which is rich and creamy, like what you'd get at a picnic...in heaven.

9. Turkey, Bacon and Avocado - Natachee's

Sometimes, a simple sandwich is the best answer. Turkey, bacon and avocado doesn't sound all that incredible, but Natachee's makes it work, particularly on warm, toasted sourdough bread. The creamy avocado and touch of mayo are the perfect foil to the thick, crunchy bacon and bread. With all the good things they offer, including the delicious open-faced meatloaf sandwich, I almost never get anything else there. Grab some of the best fried pickles in town to go on the side.

8. Fried Shrimp Po' Boy - Calliope's

A good fried shrimp po' boy is nearly an art form and, for my money, no one does it better in Houston than Calliope's. The shrimp are fried to golden perfection and the trimmings are simply lettuce, tomato, pickles and mayo. But, the reason to order any po' boy here is the bread. From what we hear, the folks at Calliope's are sworn to secrecy about the origins of their bread and with good reason. It's a nearly-perfect sub roll with a bit of bite on the outside and warm soft dough inside. It is very difficult to find bread this good, let alone a po' boy to match.

7. Sliced Egg - Cricket's Creamery

Years ago, I discovered this little coffee shop on 19th Street. When I lived in the Heights, I visited with regularity and my sandwich of choice was the sliced egg on sourdough. Layers of hard cooked eggs are placed on romaine and tomato. The fresh bread is covered in a smoky tomato mayonnaise they make in-house. Add a pinch of salt and you are good to go. I recommend a cup of their potato soup, which is made using a creamy cauliflower base, as a side. Yum!

6. Smoked Turkey and Swiss - Antone's

If there is such a thing as a sandwich institution, Antone's is probably ours. Unfortunately, there is only one original left, but it is worth the trek to Bellaire to grab one of their amazing po' boys. As much as I love the "super," my favorite is still the smoked turkey and swiss. The smokey flavor of the turkey and the twinge of tangy sweetness from the sweet pickles turn what would otherwise be a boring turkey sandwich into something much more interesting. While the imitators, located in various spots around town, are not bad, the original is still the best, even if there is only one.

Location Info

Venue

Map

Natachee's Supper 'n Punch

3622 Main St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

The Cajun Stop

2130 Jefferson St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Cricket's Creamery & Cafe

315 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Antone's Import Co Original

8057 Kirby Drive, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Carter & Cooley Company

375 W. 19th St., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Jeannine's Bistro - CLOSED

106 Westheimer, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Maria Selma

1617 Richmond Ave., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Bowl

607 Richmond, Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pappa Geno's

1801 Ella Blvd., Houston, TX

Category: Restaurant

My Voice Nation Help
39 comments
Yummm
Yummm

Beaver's Pit Boss "Chickwich" - fantastic for brunch or whenever!

elroy
elroy

Jeff...you owe me one trip to Pappa Geno's. The Chicken Philly is not in the the same league as the Cheesesteak. And honestly, it's not even close.

And...how did you miss BB's and Kenny and Ziggy's? I digress...

Hbeard85
Hbeard85

Best sandwich I ever had was not in Houston. Not even in Texas. Or the USA. The best sandwich I ever put in my mouth was a 2,30 euro sandwich from a boulangerie in Normandie. Picture it folks: Fresh, warm, thick baguette filled with REAL cuts of spiral ham, thick slices of holey swiss cheese, and the best part: glorious chunks of real butter.  My heart is broken I cannot find a single shop in Houston to replicate this. Any suggestions short of buying a whole ham to eat sandwiches for the next month? God bless the French.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Try Specs.  Or Honey Baked Ham.  Go to both, if necessary.  It still will beat the shit out of flying to France for a sandwich.

sugarpie
sugarpie

Try French Riviera Bakery on Chimney Rock.  Great bread of all sorts, and oh baby, their cream puffs.

ace simmons
ace simmons

how about going back toy Europe and staying there?

Mag
Mag

ok, I'm not saying its the same as your sandwich but this brings to mind a liitle place on 1960 by Red Oak called the Tea Cake French Bakery.  Its worth a try...

Jesse Rodriguez
Jesse Rodriguez

I'm sure these are all great but the only one that catches my eye is El Capitan. I must try that. While I do that, you should head to Nundini Import Store on Shepard just south of 11th street. Their Parma sandwich is my absolute favorite. Prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, olive oil, ciabatta. Pressed of course.

Jeff
Jeff

I love Nundini. Haven't been there in a while, but it's time to go back methinks.

Mag
Mag

What, no banh mi??  my favorites - bbq or a pate' and veggie at the Hong Kong City Mall.  For a couple of bucks a sandwich you can't beat itand if you have not tried the pork semita at the Guadalupana, well, you are missing out

Jeff
Jeff

The Cali barbecue pork was about #12 for me. Very close to the top 10 and a fave of mine.

TM
TM

 Kudos to the semitas at La Guadalupana! They rock!

guest
guest

sandwiches from French House are the shiznit. i usually get a pint of egg or chicken salad to go for late night sandwich needs. 

LLT
LLT

I gotta give props to the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches which are awesome. 

Jeff
Jeff

Cali's barbecue pork BARELY missed my top 10. It was like 12. Love me some Banh Mi.

Brooke Viggiano
Brooke Viggiano

god i love sandwiches, cant wait to give some of these a try

my current fav is at K&Zs, the one in a minyon, turkey, swiss, slaw and russian dressing special ordered w/ grilled bread... the pit boss chickwich at beavers is also bangin, shredded bbq chicken, fried egg, onion straws, slaw and a pickle...maybe i just like slaw on my sandwiches

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

From Memphis, I take? 

I do need to try this sandwich, though.  I recall you mentioning it before.

Brooke Viggiano
Brooke Viggiano

jersey actually! oh and there's corned beef on the k&z sandwich too of course

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Mine would be:

Habenero Shrimp Sandwich at CaboOriginal at AntonesMuffaletta at Jason's Deli (trust me)California Dreamin' at Spec'sOlajuwon Special at Kahn's Oyster Po Boy at Goode Co. SeafoodNo sleep til Philly at Eatsie BoysChicago-style beef with peppers at Pappa Genos (went with several friends and this was the consensus favorite)Veggie Melt at Weslayan CafeHot Pastrami and mustard at Kenny and Ziggy's

Beat THAT list!

Jeff
Jeff

I've had a handful of these. The Original, the California Dreamin', the Olajuwon, the Oyster po' boy, the veggie melt. All very good. I've got to get to Eatsie Boys.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Good to know most of these were taken into account.  Let us know what you think of Max's fried egg sandwich (and don't be offended by the $14 price tag.  It is big enough to split.)  Here's a video of how they make it.

http://blog.chron.com/cookstou...

Mai Pham
Mai Pham

Thanks for this list, Jeff. Several new ones for me to try. I actually love the hot sandwiches from Central Market deli.  The California Connection with turkey, and caramelized onions on Three Seed Bread is the bomb. Their hot chicken portobello sandwich is also awesome. 

The fried egg sandwich at Max's is one of those things you have to try at least once, and the BLT at Revival Market, Brasserie 19, and Beck's Prime are all delicious if you like BLT's.  

Jeff
Jeff

All good choices. I'm a block from Central Market and I like SOME of their sandwiches, but sometimes their bread is not great. It varies. I'll need to hit Max's.

FattyFatBastard
FattyFatBastard

Ooh, I forgot Max's Fried Egg sandwich.  Definitely makes my top 5.

Corey
Corey

Ahem antones (the real one) uses smoked cheddar not swiss on the smoked turkey, yours sounds like a special order to me.. :)

Jeff
Jeff

Jeff - hey if you are ever in Kingwood, Chelsea's Deli serves its sandwiches on this French bread . . . it is just awesome, plain and simple.  Been eating there since high school!

Thanks for the list.  I've several new sandwich adventures coming!Jeff

Jeff
Jeff

Good to know. Thanks.

Robin
Robin

Glad you mentioned the torta at Maria Selma's!  I always get one with beef, but I will definitely try the fish one next time.

ace simmons
ace simmons

I'd nominate several of the sandwiches at Mandola's Deli on Leland – the Super Deluxe, for sure

and if you're talking Neilsen's, you gotta' consider the egg salad sandwich

Jeff
Jeff

Mandola's is really, really good. Generally, I substitue the egg salad for just plain potato salad at Nielsen's, but I'm with you.

MM
MM

There are two original Antone's left.

Bellaire and Stella LinkKirby and OST near the Dome

Both are the 'old school' Antone's, not the chain versions.

Corey
Corey

Kirby is a corporate location, alas.. Look at the tiny menu, no piggy salad, no proscuitto, no smoked turkey...

MM
MM

The Kirby location is a relocation of the Antone's that used to be in the rail car, then in the Fiesta parking lot, then in this new location. I don't believe it's a corporate location because their sandwiches do not reflect the horrible corporate sandwiches those other places offer. Also they don't display the crappy corporate signage.

Mister Kay
Mister Kay

Papa Antone must be rolling in his grave just knowing how his greedy kids screwed up a thriving enterprise......

CMN
CMN

El Capitan - Bowl - yes! Delicious. And I like saying it.Why is this place always empty?  Good, fresh food.  Cool place. Really nice employees.  Try it people!

ec
ec

cause the food is very average.

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