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Best Sandwiches

Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches
Seven Locations

READERS' PICK: Anyone who's been called for jury duty knows Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches as the one bright spot from the drawn-out days at the courthouse. Lunchtime rolls around, and all those waiting in the second-floor juror room escape to the blissful sandwich haven just across the street at the shop's downtown location. Baggin's stacks its specialty sandwiches with lean meats (roasted or deli-sliced), crisp garnishes and a choice of fat-free or full-fledged mayo. Add to it a side of coleslaw, pasta, or potato salad, and top it off with a sinful dessert, and you can return to your daily duties contented and appeased. Hot off the grill are Baggin's Anasazi Chicken (seasoned chicken and green chili on sourdough) and Navajo Chicken (with avocado, bacon, tarragon and mayo); and with selections ranging from the Baggin's Grinder (salami, ham and pepperoncini soaked in Italian dressing on a sub) to a crisp Baggin's Veggie on 12-grain bread, all tastes are amply catered to. And with seven locations around town, you don't have to wait till crimes and misdemeanors are committed. If you haven't tried a Baggin's sandwich yet, one will surely summon you soon.

READERS' POLL RUNNER-UP: Even TPD bicycle officers can be spotted waiting for a table at this hip, bustling, no-frills Fourth Avenue lunch spot, where the usual crowd is an amalgam of downtowner business types, students, tourists and neighborhood residents. Featuring a wide variety of monstrously huge sandwiches, Bison Witches Bar & Deli, 326 N. Fourth Ave., has long been a haven for the hearty eater. Mondo-thick slices of soft, chewy bread--white, wheat or rye--are the hallmark of the Bison Witches 'wich.

Choose among 23 combinations, from the expected Rueben, corned beef, B.L.T. and club varieties, to house specialties like their veggie sandwich--easily the heartiest in town--which includes black olives and marinated artichoke hearts in addition to the usual tomato-and-sprouts fare. The tasty chicken Jayhawk and grilled peanut butter and jelly are also favorites. The good-natured kitchen staff will make anything to order, even when they're insanely busy (which they usually are). And if that's not enough--and rest assured, just half of a sandwich is more than enough--sandwiches always come with a soup-or-salad option and your choice of Poore Brother's chips. Bear in mind those jalapeño chips are really damned spicy.

A REAL SCREAM: Initially regarded as an upscale patisserie, The French Loaf (four locations) has since expanded its image to include gourmet coffee and a sandwich board that gives an elevated stature to the typical midday repast. Standard deli fare, such as ham and cheese on rye, soars into the stratosphere with the use of prosciutto ham and provolone, not to mention other variations of the cured meat with fontina, lettuce, onions and tomatoes; or Monterey Jack with sun-dried tomatoes served between slices of a zesty Southwestern chile-herbed bread. Smoked turkey with havarti and a savory basil pesto is also an excellent choice, as is the French Loaf version of the roast beef sandwich: thin slices of rare beef, roasted and marinated peppers, lettuce and Dijon mustard on a crusty baguette. A simple vegetarian offering of Roma tomato, basil and mozzarella on The French Loaf's trademark sourdough baguette is also a favorite. If none of these is enough of a deviation from tradition for you, try one of the bagel sandwiches. Tempting fillings include Nova Scotia salmon, cream cheese and capers, smoked turkey, hummus and crumbled feta. For less adventurous palates there's peanut butter and jelly. In true Renaissance fashion, the French Loaf offers sandwiches for all seasons.

A REAL SCREAM: Time Market, 444 E. University Blvd., offers about a dozen specialty sandwiches, roughly 16 fresh or prepared meats (like meat loaf and tuna salad), a bevy of cheeses, and innumerable additions like hummus, olives and a variety of vegetables. Its vegetarian version, the Pete's Sake, is a mouth-watering combo of tomato, avocado, cucumber, red onion, pepper jack cheese, jalapeños and honey-Dijon on an onion roll. Six or seven bread choices hold it all together. Order by phone or wander in off the street and lose yourself in aisles of specialty items while you wait.

Case History

1998 Winner: Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches
1996 Winner: Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches
1995 Winner: Baggin's Gourmet Sandwiches

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