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Central Cabot Little Rock North Little Rock
Central Food 1

Welcome to the Club (Sandwich)

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A restaurant’s mastery of a club sandwich tells me a lot about what to expect with the other menu items. Let’s face it, if you can’t nail the club, what chance do you really have of hitting a home run with the other dishes? But some Arkansas places go above and beyond. They do not look at the sandwich as just slices of bread, ham, turkey, fried bacon, lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise held together with a few cocktail toothpicks. Making a great club is an art. It’s all about attention to detail and quality ingredients. These three restaurants sit atop the pinnacle of the club-making mountain.

Pea Farm Bistro

What separates a Pea Farm Bistro club sandwich from the rest?

“We layer delicious, thinly sliced Petit Jean ham and turkey with Petit Jean bacon between grilled, not toasted, sourdough bread. Then we add real mayo, Swiss cheese, fresh-cut romaine, sliced tomatoes and a healthy sprinkle of love! We cut it into halves because it’s large and in charge. Nobody leaves hungry after our club. We want every visit to Pea Farm Bistro to feel like coming home and a good ol’ fashioned club will usually hit the spot,” says co-owner Andrea Wilson.

Just be careful, the temptation to order the club every visit will be strong. Don’t. As good as the sandwich is, the other offerings at Pea Farm Bistro are just as wonderful, so consider diversifying every now and then.

Crazee’s Café

One thing about Crazee’s club sandwich stands out: the fried bacon. And let’s face it, if you are going to have one defining quality, it might as well be spectacular bacon. That goes for anything in life. Thin, crisp, yet not too crispy, this bacon is the shining star of the sandwich. Everything else is standard, but again, executed right each time. And believe me, I’ve had this sandwich a time or twenty. I also enjoy how this club is not overwhelmingly massive. It is the perfect size, leaving just enough room for me to devour a side of fries, which Crazee’s also does particularly well.

Gadwall’s Grill

At Gadwall’s Grill, choose between wheat, rye, sourdough, or Texas Toast for the club. I contemplated the Texas Toast but was slightly concerned about getting a bread-heavy sandwich, so opted for the wheat. Make sure to ask for the sandwich to be grilled.

“We grill everything including the meat and cheese. It’s layered with ham, American cheese, turkey, Swiss cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato, pickle and bacon a certain way, so all the flavors are mixed perfectly. The bread is brushed with butter to add that extra touch of flavor,” says owner Shea Bryant.

Gadwall’s club is even famous.

“Our club was featured on people.com for the best sandwich in the state.  I was contacted by a photographer that freelances for People magazine to submit professional pictures of the club. So, I did, and we won! Larry Barnes Photography did an amazing job of capturing the sandwich,” says Bryant.

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Kevin Shalin is a food writer living in Little Rock with his wife, Sara, and two daughters, Natalie (12) and Sydney (7). He started his own blog, The Mighty Rib, seven years ago while living in Houston. Six months later, he began writing for Eating Our Words, a Houston Press food blog. After a year in Boston, he moved to Little Rock, where he’s been for almost five years. During that time, he’s written for Little Rock Soiree, Rock City Eats, Treatsie, and Bourbon and Boots.

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One response to “Welcome to the Club (Sandwich)”

  1. Brian Pavlas says:

    Well written! And I agree, it’s an art.

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