Groucho Deli’s STP Dipper, which features roast beef, turkey and bacon smothered in cheese with a special sauce. (Photo by Dylan Ortuno)
On National Sandwich Day, Anne Postic, local “foodie,” recalls her first memorable restaurant sandwich.
She was in the 5th-grade hanging out with a friend of hers. Her friend’s family was well-versed in food, with the mother being a chef.
They took Postic to a gourmet shop for an experience and taste she never forgot.
“I ordered the brie and bacon croissant, which is something I still order today,” Postic said. “Because there’s absolutely nothing to argue about with bacon and melted brie … That was my first Columbia sandwich.”
Postic is no stranger to Columbia sandwiches now. Since 2008, she has covered the city’s food in her own blog, in the Freetimes, Cola Daily and Southern Living magazine.
Postic and two other experienced, local foodies spoke about downtown Columbia’s sandwiches on Thursday, in commemoration of National Sandwich Day. All of the shops are locally owned, and most are in Five Points.
“There’s so many different spots in Columbia where you can get a little bit of everything,” said Lynn Luc, a local foodie who runs a food Instagram account.
Luc’s Instagram account, called Go Cola, has 12,100 followers. The page highlights Columbia’s food and beverage scene.
When asked about her thoughts on the Midlands’ sandwich scene, Luc said she immediately had to face a hurdle — What qualifies as a sandwich?
Luc contemplated whether subs counted. She did have a clear favorite for traditional style.
“I love The Gourmet Shop (in Five Points). … They have the classic deli-sandwiches,” Luc said.
Despite the varying takes on sandwiches, Luc said the type doesn’t matter to her.
The city found its own style despite all the variety.
Eva Moore, who once wrote about food for a living, said Columbia’s signature sandwich has “five or six” versions around town. Two of them are from Five Points: the Andy’s Special from Andy’s Deli, which has turkey, roast beef and Swiss cheese with bacon crumbled on top, and the STP Dipper from the original Groucho’s Deli, which features roast beef, turkey and bacon smothered in cheese with a special sauce.
“You think of cities like Chicago having one — wild that Columbia has its own sandwich,” said Moore, a former food writer and editor for the Freetimes for almost a decade.
Postic and Luc also mentioned the Five Points delectables as standouts, saying they’re definitely signature sandwiches.
All three had other favorites around town.
For Luc, it’s the sandwiches served at Enzos, also in Five Points.
“(Enzo’s) is really great because the meat to bread ratio is pretty perfect in terms of their sandwiches,” Luc said. “You can get their regular-size sandwiches and have 10 different options, all named after (the owners’) family friends.”
Moore’s favorites are the sandwiches served at Immaculate Consumption, on South Main Street, and Swanson’s Deli, in Main Street’s Arcade Mall.
“I love the Immaculate Consumption’s sandwiches,” Moore said. “Swanson’s, too. Just good vibes. I mean, they must bring through, like, 300 people at lunch, and they’re just so friendly.”
There was another unique sandwich shop, also in Five Points, that stuck out for Postic.
“Just about three years ago, there used to be a place … Rising High Bakery, (my husband and I) used to always go there after church for sandwiches,” Postic said.
Though the three foodies had different preferences on where to eat in town, one idea remained the same.
“In Columbia, people really know how to make a sandwich,” Postic said.