Field Guide: Sandwiches

Leave last night’s dinner in the fridge, slip out of your cubicle for a bit and treat yourself to these scrumptious sandwiches in town.

Photo: David Croxford

1. Covenant Books and Coffee

You already know Covenant Books has the Best Soup (2008 Best of Honolulu) but the bookshop/café also boasts delicious sandwiches. While Covenant sells reading material as part of the Honolulu Bible Church, the majority of its customers stop in for lunch. Manager Dave Yoshimura is in the kitchen at 5:30 a.m. helping make the soup of the day from scratch. “We use local produce and, in addition to the soup, all of our sandwich spreads are homemade, too,” he says, including the the pesto, hummus, salsa, garlic herb and tapenade. On a recent visit, we devoured a bowl of creamy asparagus with bacon and croutons and half a smoked- chicken-pesto on ciabatta. Yum. 1142 12th Ave., 732-4412,


Ken Takashi, owner of the Honolulu Burger Co., says the Philly dip has been a bestseller.

Photo: David Croxford

2. Honolulu Burger Co.

Yes, it says burger in the name, but owner Ken Takahashi serves up some mean sandwiches, too. “Some of my burger ideas didn’t include a burger,” he laughs. Takahashi opened this small Beretania eatery in July, and already he has a regular clientele. “People love the Philly dip sandwich,” he says. It’s Philly cheesesteak meets French dip with au jus. Better yet, the sandwich is made with a half-pound of sliced, Big Island, free-range beef, sautéed onions and bell peppers, melted Swiss and horseradish cream. “I like to showcase Big Island beef and its quality,” says Takahashi, who grew up in Hilo. He also uses local produce and breads from The Patisserie, and hopes to feature local cheeses and butter soon, too. Don’t forget a side of homemade fries and a chocolate shake. 1295 S. Beretania St., 626-5202,




Photo: David Croxford


3. Downtown

Tucked in a back corner of the Hawai‘i State Art Museum’s ground floor sits this panini oasis. Owned by chef Ed Kenney—also the owner and chef of Town in Kaimuki—Downtown is both a tasty takeout joint, and, if you’ve made a reservation, a relaxed lunch spot. The made-to-order panini menu offers pastrami, ham or turkey on warm, crisp wheat. We fell in love with the peppered turkey version with provolone cheese, mango and tatsoi. Manager Keoni Willing says Downtown strives to live up to its motto, “You are where you eat,” by working with local farmers for fresh, organic produce. “All of our food is local; we don’t want to rely on shipped products.” The takeout menu changes daily, says Willing. “You can come in every day and eat something different.” 250 S. Hotel St., 536-5900, lunch is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Saturday.


4. This Is It Bakery and Deli

When it comes to sandwiches, bread is important. The freshly baked bread and bagels make sandwiches at This Is It worth it. The original Cooke Street location makes classic turkey sandwiches on Kaiser rolls, while the hot pastrami sandwich at the Bishop Street location—This Is It Too—is a must-try. Mona Gelson owns This Is It Too, while her husband, Stephen, owns and operates the Cooke Street bakery, where the ovens are running every morning Monday through Saturday and the deli meats are sliced. (The bread and meat are then delivered to the Bishop Street eatery.) Stephen is from New York and our East Coast co-workers agree that This Is It is, indeed, an authentic New York bakery. 443 Cooke St., 597-1017, 1001 Bishop St., 526-2280.

Photo: David Croxford


Did you know?

Mix Café, winner of the Best Sandwiches category in our 2010 Best of Honolulu, is a sandwich lover’s heaven. Owner Bruno Iezzi roasts the beef, pork, chicken and turkey for his Alakea Street sandwich bar. The sandwiches are then warmed in small ovens; the melted cheese will soon melt your heart. 1025 Alakea St., 532-5440,