I’m going to start with some settled case law: A hot dog is not a sandwich. Disagree? Tough. Take it up with the internet’s own Judge John Hodgman. I’m just gonna say it: A hot dog is clearly not meant to be cut in half and served with a cup of soup.
So while the new OP Wurst on Division is very good (shout out!), it is not going to make this shortlist of amazing new places to get some seriously great sandwiches. Portland has surfed a never-ending wave of fresh-baked bread and original ingredients since Bunk brought its Cubano into our lives some 10 years ago—with many glorious contributions since. Here’s the newest and best stuff between sliced bread:
While I hate that the name of this restaurant makes me think of boobs, I will say that Stacked is definitely the tits. With insanely inventive sammies on Pearl Bakery bread, like an open-faced bison tartare ($9/$18) and a deeply decadent braised oxtail French dip ($13) served warm with oodles of caramelized onion and mushrooms, Stacked is headed into what seems to be the final sandwich frontier. I’m headed back soon for the Nutella open-faced sandwich with banana and toasted marshmallow ($6/$12) and another round of the made-to- order lemon madeleines ($7), a pile of citrus in its most sugary and elemental form. 1643 SE 3rd, Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm
Güero No. 1 Tortas
Guero, which started just down 28th Avenue as a cart in 2013, has always made amazing torta sandwiches. Naturally, handing owners Megan Sanchez and Alec Morrison a full kitchen and a liquor license has led to nothing but good. This brightly painted and always busy brick-and-mortar has given them room to grow, starting with incredible sides like a $3 cup of esquites, sweet corn made subtly hot with chile and enriched with aioli and cotija. Order the unforgettable hamburguesa ($10), an ode to the street hamburgers of Mexico, with Painted Hills beef, American cheese, a thick tamarind tomato, guac, pickled jalapeno and habanero slaw, and an amazing layer of crisped chicharrón cheese that adds so much more than you’ll ever know. That same layer of crispy cheese is also on the Desayuno ($9.50) a brekkie-for-dinner (or lunch... or brunch) sandwich with scrambled egg, supes-tender beef, more pickled jalapeno, lime mayo and avocado. With two mezcal drinks, two sandwiches and two sides rounding out at less than $60 with tip, this is our No. 1 deal. 200 NE 28th, Tues-Sun 11 am-10 pm, gueropdx.com
In its first year, Pine Street Market has gone through a bit of a musical chairs act, with concepts rotating in and out at the whims of the hungry and the almighty dollar. This spring, chef/entrepreneur John Gorham sold his share in the Israeli-themed Shalom Y’all, which has moved to a stand-alone spot downtown. In its place comes BYH, or Bless Your Heart Burgers, an homage to the Carolina burger, with chili, onions, and slaw on top. With diner-worthy well-seasoned patties and its free-hand with American cheese, the single cheeseburger ($6.50) or the double ($9) were even better—especially when dipped in a side of beer-cheese sauce ($1) meant to go with the fries. The Martin’s potato rolls are appropriately squishy, the pickles are housemade, and the negroni slushy ($9) has enough booze to knock out a Belushi brother. Bless this new establishment, and may it stay. Pine Street Market, 126 SW 2nd, daily 11 am-10 pm
The Baker’s Mark
At noon on a Sunday, the spanking-new Baker’s Mark on SE Division was running like a longtime neighborhood spot: as a mail carrier grabbed the signature Godfather sub—with salami, mortadella, ham, prosciutto, capocollo and provolone—its maker told him he hoped the sandwich would get him through his shift.
It’s guaranteed to do just that: At $9, this is a big, quality sandwich. The Baker’s Mark makes all of its bread fresh on-site, an airy roll that does a good job of giving way when you bite into the stack of mostly traditional toppings that include Boar’s Head cold cuts sliced to order and Olympia Provisions. Where Stacked zigs to unorthodox, Baker’s Mark zags to the kind of sub that a long-time New Yorker would surely approve of.
That fresh-baked bread loses a bit of its structure with hot sandwiches, making the last few bites messy, but despite that, I loved the lack of pretense in the turkey and bacon ($9), with mayo, iceberg lettuce, Italian dressing and a slice of tomato that wasn’t abysmal despite being way out of season. With a $2 chocolate chip cookie and a can of regular old soda of your choice, there’s hardly a way to do this sandwich experience wrong. 1126 SE Division, daily 11 am to 7 pm