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Top 10 sandwiches

Best places to eat fixings between bread in the South Sound

The fresh marbled rye puts this Rueben over the top at The Harbor General Store in Gig Harbor. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

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Of all the available foods across the South Sound, my favorite has to be the sandwich.  It's the simplicity of it all - bread, meat, and cheese - the formula for success.  However, there are a handful of places nearby that have elevated this to a new standard.  
Magical Sandwich Makers is not new to a "can't miss list" of sandwiches to anyone in Tacoma. MSM, as the sign outside says, has been serving top quality hoagies for years, and though it is usually the Mike's deluxe or BBC that get all the attention, it is the Italian Cold Cut that moves me to tears.  Under the East Coast Subs side of the menu, this is piled unbelievably high with the four Italian meats of genoa salami, mortadella, ham and capicolla, then layered with provolone, pepperoncini and red wine vinegar.  All this surrounded by a soft hoagie roll.
MSM DELI, 2220 6th Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.4814

True to Olympia's wholesome reputation, 5th Ave Sandwiches bakes all their bread in-house so that it is guaranteed fresh with every order. With a huge selection of bread and sandwiches to choose from, do not pass up the Hot Oly, which boasts tons of roast beef, onions, jalapeno peppers, melted cheese and even banana peppers.  It takes a big hoagie to support all this, and 5th Ave delivers enough to almost feed two people.
5TH AVE SANDWICHES, 117 5th Ave. SE, Olympia, 360.705.3393,

The Fish House in Tacoma's Hilltop neighborhood is best known for its fish and chips and a no-frills atmosphere, however, take the same success and stick it between two buns and add some tarter and you have yourself one of the best fish sandwiches around.  The secret to this sandwich is simple; they use whole cod filet and bread it with cornmeal and Cajun spices. Additionally, because it is served so quickly, you are guaranteed a fresh and hot sandwich.
THE FISH HOUSE, 1814 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma, 253.383.7144

The Fish House’s fish sandwich. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

Right in the heart of Tacoma's Stadium District is the Arthouse Café, known for its drinks and creative menu, has a flavorful and healthy sandwich hidden on the burger list.  The steelhead sandwich combines fresh grilled steelhead with a lemon dill cream cheese spread and crisp shredded cabbage.  Served on a warm brioche bun and a side of broccoli apple slaw, the Arthouse Café proves you don't need to sacrifice flavor to eat better.
ARTHOUSE CAFE, 111 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2011,

The Bread Peddler in Olympia presents several croque-style sandwiches which are open-faced and topped with assorted French cheeses, then broiled until golden brown.  The Croque Monsieur is perfect for lunch and includes sweet ham, Dijon mustard, a mornay cheese sauce, swiss cheese and other assorted cheeses, and served on rustic potato bread.  The soft middle surrounded by crunch - bread on one side and cheese on the other THE BREAD PEDDLER, 222 Capitol Way N., #103, Olympia, 360.352.1175,

The Bread Peddler’s croque monsieur. Photo credit: Dutch Randall

Gig Harbor still has areas that have a small town feel to them, and the downtown waterfront is one of those neighborhoods.  A large part of this community is The Harbor General Store, which has groceries and gifts in addition to coffee and a small café.  This small café has an amazing Rueben sandwich that is stacked beyond belief with thin, sliced corned beef, and then adorned with plenty of sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing.  And if that isn't enough, the fresh marbled rye will put it over the top.
THE HARBOR GENERAL STORE, 7804 Pioneer Way, Gig Harbor, 253.358.3241,

Though I normally don't give a second look to a veggie sandwich, Nuckle Sandwiches in Tacoma makes a grilled veggie sandwich that will make you forget that there isn't any meat stuffed into this hoagie.  Officially the Sautéed Veggie Sub, a fresh bun is piled high with grilled onions, mushrooms, both red and green peppers, tomatoes, and then topped with rich melted Swiss cheese and Parmesan.  Full and flavorful, this is not your normal meatless sandwich.
NUCKLE SANDWICHES, 4312 6th Ave., Tacoma, 253.302.5709,

The Independent Sandwich Shop in Lakewood has a quirky, fun atmosphere and sandwiches that are guaranteed to add some spice to your day.  One such sandwich is the Garlic Beef Cheddar Melt that works piles of beef, grilled peppers and onions, melted jack and habañero cheeses, a garlic habañero spread, and topped with fresh tomatoes, lettuce and oregano onto a deli pub roll.  It will be difficult to keep everything in the bun without it falling out; this is something I look for in a sandwich as it makes me feel as if I got my money's worth.
INDEPENDENT SANDWICH SHOP, 10240 Bridgeport Way SW, #106, Lakewood, 253.589.3354

Undergrounds Java-Deli is one of the hidden gems of Tacoma, located on the bottom floor of the Tacoma Mall office building, with a very early closing time of 3:30 p.m.  However, you will surely want to grab lunch here with the Sweet and Spicy sandwich of chicken, bacon, pepper jack cheese, and a spicy house-made sauce served on your choice of sliced bread, pub bun or a hoagie.
UNDERGROUNDS JAVA-DELI, 4301 S. Pine St., #46, Tacoma, 253.472.0100,

Last but not least, The Lucky Lunchbox in Olympia serves a ham and pear sandwich that is unlike any other you have ever tasted.  Served hot on an artisan roll, this sandwich features oven-roasted ham with sliced poached pears, walnuts, melted sharp cheddar cheese and spicy mustard.  All this for only $8 is hard to pass up, so you shouldn't.
THE LUCKY LUNCHBOX, 2826 SE Capitol Blvd., Olympia, 360.529.8164,

Cruising around the South Sound, a sandwich is never too far away.  If you find yourself near one of these locations, make a quick detour and give one of these a try. I'm certain that you will not be disappointed.

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