Shut Up and Eat
Who, besides the gluten-free crowd, doesn’t love sandwiches? It’s the perfect vessel for delivering meat, cheese, and vegetables to your mouth. Even those who ally with the burrito side in the famed burrito-sandwich debate admit that a complete meal can be found between two pieces of bread. Portland, Oregon certainly loves its sandwiches, with multiple restaurants and chains selling them.
For the purpose of concision, we’ve omitted burger places; though they are technically sandwiches, they fall into their own category.
This local chain of restaurants has, along with Lardo, come to define the sandwich scene in Portland. Like Lardo, Bunk specializes in deliciously greasy sandwiches, and offers possibly the best grinder in the city. The menus vary slightly from location to location, and a few spots, including the appropriately named Bunk Bar, also feature a full cocktail program. Try a slushy margarita or Negroni during one of the concerts or parties that Bunk Bar occasionally hosts.
Double Dragon may not be the most authentic banh mi in town, nor the cheapest (purists will balk at paying $9 for bánh mì), but the pork belly banh mi here is arguably the best version of the sandwich in town. There are only a few sandwiches on the menu here, including a vegan banh mi made with fried chickpeas, and all of them are excellent. The rice bowls, burgers, and fries are good too, if you don’t feel like a banh mi for some reason. Of course, it wouldn’t be Portland without a full cocktail menu and tap list.
The popularity of pork belly and pork fat may be waning in town after its peak in 2014, but it is still ubiquitous. Partial credit is due to Lardo for establishing it as Portland’s favorite meat, if at least for a time. What started as a foodcart now has three locations, in SW, SE, and NoPo. The Korean pork shoulder is a staple here, as well as the pork belly, of course, but don’t overlook specials like the cold fried chicken, or the Korean-style gyro (trust us, it’s delicious). For a truly sodium packed lunch, grab a plate of the dirty fries to split, with pork scraps, peppers, and parmesan. Again, all three Lardo spots have great bars.
Laurelhurst Market is celebrated for its two in one butcher and steakhouse, where the cuts you eat that night were butchered earlier that day in house. The excellent dinner menu may be out of reach for some patrons, but during the day, while the butchery is open, Laurelhurst Market offers a sandwich menu. This poorly kept “secret” menu has items reflective of the dinner menu — pork rillettes, cold cuts, Laurelhurst Market bacon, hot pastrami, and more. Go on a Tuesday: it’s the only day they serve fried chicken sandwiches.
Shut Up and Eat
Relatively newer to the sandwich scene, Shut Up and Eat focuses on more Italian-American-style sandwiches, like grinders and meatball subs. While the lunch/dinner sandwiches are solid (and huge), the breakfast sandwiches are where the menu truly shines. The arugula, squash, sausage, and fried egg on a scratch-made biscuit is amazing, and the bacon cheddar fried egg is probably the best bacon sandwich in PDX.