During this past summer in Chattanooga, I had grand plans for going to a bunch of new restaurants, eating tons of delicious food, and writing all my articles for the year ahead of time. But since when does life ever go according to plan? Instead, I spent the whole summer in the hospital with a friend and eating the only thing that was there — Subway. And I mean a lot of it — the same sandwich every other day for two months. I’m pretty sure I single-handedly kept the company’s stock up and I think it will be a few years before I can enter a Subway again. However, it did get me thinking (and dreaming) about my top three favorite sandwiches in Chattanooga and thought I would share them with you for your eating pleasure.
#3: Macho Man (The Terminal): The sociologist/feminist within me despises this title — why does food, of all things, have to be gendered? This lil woman can love this sandwich too! Despite its controversial name, this sandwich has it all. It’s got a killer Cajun-style chicken breast paired with hot sausage and pepper jack cheese for some kick, as well as all the regular sandwich toppings to add texture and freshness. This beauty comes with a Cajun mayo that I am all about, and I recommend getting extra to add moisture and creaminess. This sandwich and an appetizer of their Twisted Hummus or Pot Roast Nachos (yes, you read that correctly) are all you need to be happy.
#2: Country Ranch Sandwich (The Yellow Deli): We need a moment of reverence for this sandwich. All the sandwiches at the Yellow Deli could make this list, but this one has a special place in my heart. Truthfully, I hate being that person at a restaurant who orders and says, “but without onion, lettuce, and tomato,” but I swallow my pride and do it for this sandwich. While it’s great as is, if you remove these vegetable obstacles, you’ll be left with the most messy, creamy mess of a sandwich ever. And it is wonderful. It’s a glowed up grilled cheese that is all that is good in the world. After kicking out the veggies, you are left with a homemade Kaiser roll, buffalo chicken, both cheddar and pepper jack cheese, and a sweet garlic mayo that pulls everything together. The sauce and cheese drip all over your chips and it’s just such a beautiful time. I can’t fully explain why this sandwich is so good, but it might explain why the Deli always has new converts to their religion.
#1: The KFC (Clyde’s On Main): If you’ve been an avid Pugh Review reader for these many years, you’ve heard about this winner before, but it is worth the extra praise. Not only is this joint one of the most Chattanooga-esque restaurants, but it has a sandwich so good that it’s now the only thing I order. The KFC or Korean Fried Chicken Sandwich packs in the flavor and is just a perfect experience. They take their specialty fried chicken, cooked with precision, and put that bad boy on a Niedlov’s bun with daikon slaw, cucumber, carrot pickles, Korean barbeque sauce, garlic mayo, and cilantro. The result is a highly flavorful, perfectly harmonious sandwich that balances sweet and spicy, softness and crunch. It’s a twist on a classic that is a party of flavors and textures in your mouth and is so well executed that it must be top of the list.
After writing about those beautiful sandwiches, my mouth is watering and my stomach rumbling, which means it might be time to make a grilled pimento cheese and jalapeño sandwich on Niedlov’s sourdough here at home. But knowing myself, it will probably end in a late-night trip to the Yellow Deli to people watch and eat that glorious Country Ranch. Any of you all are welcome to join — just don’t ask me to stop at Subway.