Sandwich Showdown: Subs, steak and more

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  • LockNKeyprimerib

    2045 North Beach Road, Englewood.  (941)474-1517. Click here to see our guide to this restaurant.

    Prime Rib Sandwich, Lock ‘N Key Restaraunt:

    Price:  $12   Scouting report: The Lock ‘N Key has become an Englewood gem, offering steaks and seafood right on Manasota Beach. But it’s the Prime Rib Sandwich that hooks customers from the first bite. “Every time I come home for break,” said Florida State University student Max Brandow, “my parents know to take me to Lock ‘N Key for the Prime Rib Sandwich.” Lean cut, certified angus beef is oven roasted, then lightly seared to preserve its natural juices. The sandwich is  topped with au jus and is served open-faced with fries. “No other sandwich can compare,” Brandow said.

  • Nelliesroastbeef

    15 S Beneva Road, (941) 924-2705 Click here to see our guide to this restaurant.

    New York Roast Beef, Nellie’s Deli

    Scouting report: Roast beef on a fresh-baked Kaiser roll with mayo, Swiss, tomato, onion and horseradish. Nellie’s sales and marketing director Nina Lakatos describes the sandwich as “absolutely delicious.”  What separates it from other roast beef sandwiches, she says, is the seasoned roast beef, made by Nellie’s, the Kaiser roll, purchased from a local bakery, and the homemade horseradish. “I recently became a vegetarian,” Lakatos said. “And no longer being able to enjoy this sandwich is probably my only regret.” Price: $7

  • TonySoprano

    2128 Gulf Gate Dr, (941) 923-2202 Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.

    Tony Soprano, Piccolo Italian Market

    Scouting report:  Prosciutto, hot sopressata, fresh mozzarella, tomato and hot giadiniera. Owner Antonio Dirende says the combination of spices and seasonings make this sandwich “totally spicy and delicious.” It is the top-selling sandwich at the popular eatery, which has been open six years in Sarasota. The sopressata -- a coarse ground salami -- is also an uncommon ingredient. While Piccolo’s will serve the Tony Soprano hot, most customers like it cold. Price:  $7.50 large; $5.99 half

  • SONY DSC

    850 Pinebrook Road, Venice, 484-6804.

    Sausage and Pepper Parm, Angelo's Italian Market

    Scouting report:  This Venice market and restaurant prepares fresh sausage in house each morning with a bold secret recipe. “I could tell you what it was,” said the owner known as Mr. P, “but than it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.” The sandwich is then topped with a traditional, homemade marinara sauce, peppers, and fresh onions specially delivered to the Italian market. “We know that anyone who tries it will be back again for more,” added Mr. P. One warning: Angelo's sandwiches take some time to make, but the wait is worth it. Price:  $8-$12

  • ilpanificio

    1703 Main Street Sarasota, (941) 366-5570 and 6630 Gateway Avenue Sarasota  (941) 921-5570. Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.

    Focaccia, Il Panificio

    Scouting report:  Il Panificio’s Italian Focaccia is for the hungry and the frugal. For $8 you get provolone peppered ham, salami, capacola, crushed tomato slices, oil and vinaigrette between two thick slices of house baked focaccia all pressed on a grill. Split it with someone, save it for tomorrow's lunch or eat the whole thing and satisfy your hunger for the next eight hours. Price: $8

  • MainBar

    The Main Bar Sandwich Shop, 1944 Main Street, Sarasota (941) 955-8733. Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.

    Our Famous Italian, Main Bar

    Scouting report:  This is the signature sandwiches of one of the region’s beloved eateries. Owner Chip Beeman says that Our Famous Italian -- with its combination of ham, salami, provolone, tomatoes, chopped peppers and other seasonings on a toasted hoagie roll -- accounts for nearly one-quarter of the Main Bar’s sandwich sales. “No other sandwich in the nation has its flavor profile,” Beeman said, adding that customers come from near and far to savor it, such as the customer who stopped in recently to order eight sandwiches to take back home to Pennsylvania. The Main Bar website says the sandwich was born with the restaurant: “The Main Bar was established as a sandwich shop in 1958 by retiring circus performers Antonio (Charlie) Borza and his wife Thea. Inspired by her home town of Florence, Italy, Thea created what has now become ‘Our Famous Italian.’” Price:  $6.95

  • SONY DSC

    261 South Tamiami Trail, Venice, 486-0988

    Spicy Italian Sub, Obee's

    Scouting report:  For more than 12 years, Obee’s central location has been feeding the hunger of Venice islanders with mammoth  submarine sandwiches. “The subs are massive,” said manager Tim McGivern, who offers 8- and 16- inch sandwiches, “and no sandwich on our menu tops the Spicy Italian.” Obee’s packs over a pound of fresh cut ham, capicola, pepperoni, and cheese and tops it with a homemade oil and oregano blend. The Spicy Italian,which measures four times the diameter of an average Big Mac, is then topped assorted veggies, fresh tomatoes, and dressing. “You’ve got to be hungry to take down this sandwich,” added McGivern. Price:  $7.69

  • Luna

    200 St. Augustine, Venice,  (941) 412-9898

    Luna Steak. Luna Ristorante

    Scouting report: Eight ounces of shaved ribeye with mozzarella, mushrooms, onions and, its owner says, “a secret spice.” Located across the street from Venice Little Theater, Luna has built an almost fanatical following around its mountainous portions and richly flavorful food. All sandwiches are cooked to order, which means it takes a few minutes. But the restaurant keeps it customers from getting restless with servings of bread and Luna’s signature lava sauce. The Luna Steak is a meal -- or two -- in itself, filling almost an entire plate in hot, oozing flavor. Price:  $9

  • sandwich showdown logo

    1734 Bamboo Lane, Sarasota, 955-9434, starkeepercafe.com

    Goat Cheese, Basil and Fig Jam, Star Keeper Cafe

    Scouting Report: Give the Star Keeper, a one-year-old eatery in downtown Sarasota quickly building a reputation with foodies, credit for creativity on this sandwich, which features goat cheese, basil, fig jam. The jam and goat cheese are melted on cinnamon toast. The addition of fresh basil cuts some of the sweetness and creates a mouth-watering flavor. Price: $6.95.

  • IMG_20120203_131029

    2336 Gulf Gate Dr., Sarasota, 922-2253

    Candied Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato, Jim's Small Batch Bakery

    Scouting Report: Jim Plocharsky fries the bacon, then bakes it with maple syrup, brown sugar and a dusting of red pepper before constructing this sandwich, but the real star is the fresh bread baked in-house daily.

  • IMG_2493

    454 E. Venice Ave., Venice, 488-9567

    Banh Mi, KT's Corner Deli

    Scouting Report: This tiny spot churns out some of the best Vietnamese sandwiches in the world, with fresh roast pork, pickled veggies, mayo and herbs stuffed into crusty French bread. If you've never had a banh mi, start here.

  • Libby's

    1917 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 487-7300, libbyscafebar.com

    The Libbstacker, Libby's Cafe + Bar

    Scouting report: Rarely do you find something like this two-handed monstrosity at a fine dining spot, but Libby’s is willing to satisfy its patron’s baser natures with a touch of elegance and a huge amount of flavor. The Libbstacker consists of truffled meatloaf, sweet and smoky Berkshire ham, sharp cheddar cheese, deep-fried onions, roasted mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and a dollop of truffle aioli.

  • surfersandwich

    Multiple locations, surfersandwich.com Click here to read our guide to this restaurant.

    The Surfer Sandwich, Anna's Deli

    Scouting report: At a deli known for its variety of standard and exotic sandwiches -- the Fiesta combines salami and liverwurst! -- The Surfer is "hands down" the biggest seller. The Surfer combines ham, turkey, Swiss, cucumber and Anna's special sauce, with five different bread options. "It's how all the flavors come together," an employee said. "It's a delicious sandwich." Price: $7.29

  • FatSandy

    6639 Superior Ave., Sarasota, 929-9893, munchies420cafe.com

    The Fat Sandy, Munchies 420 Cafe

    Scouting Report: How about this for a combination: Mozzarella sticks, potato wedges, chicken fingers, onion rings and two cheeseburgers topped with macaroni and cheese on a hoagie roll. Asked how many calories this sandwich has, an employee replied, "Probably a week's worth!"

  • Tony's Chicago Beef

    6569 Superior Ave., Sarasota, 922-7979, tonyschicagobeef.com

    Chicago Beef Sandwich, Tony's Chicago Beef

    Scouting Report: Beef roasted in-house with Italian seasonings, shaved thin and piled high on a doughy-fresh bun, then dipped (yeah, the whole sandwich) into the flavorful roast drippings makes this one killer sandwich. Order it with "hots" for the real Chicago vibe.

  • Charlie's

    2854 Ringling Blvd.,  Sarasota, 366-2221

    Cheesesteak, Charlie's Steak & Hoagie

    Scouting report: Employee Steve Santiago says two things make this sandwich stand out: 1. All the ingredients are fresh and prepared after order. 2. The rolls, which are shipped in twice a week from the legendary Amoroso Bakery in Philadelphia. “A lot of places toast their rolls; we serve untoasted because our’s are so soft and fresh,” he said. Charlie’s has been in business for nearly 30 years.