The Dollar-Wise Gourmet: Between Two Slices of Bread


This month’s challenge: Skip the usual suspects and find some new (to Dollar-Wise) sandwich spots serving tasty, wallet-friendly ’wiches. Here are five I savored —all under $6. 

Stacked with salami, mortadella, provolone and fresh, crunchy produce, the Giuseppe Combo at Better Foods Deli is the real deal: a substantial, old-school sandwich from an old-school institution. (Better Foods has been around some 45 years.) I got mine on a roll with the works—mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles—and it was love at first bite. The line was long here even on a Sunday, so go early (or order in advance). Price: $5.75, and it’s big enough for sharing. Or opt for a half sandwich for $4.05. 

Better Foods Deli, 900 Douglas Blvd., Roseville; (916) 782- 2841; 

Nana’s Cafe & Bakery is a hidden gem with homespun fare, just a stone’s throw away from Arden Fair (and oh so much quieter). Most sandwiches are just $5.95, including the one I tried, the Roasted Eggplant, a mouthwatering Mediterranean melange powered by pesto, provolone and roasted red bell pepper. I had mine on toasted wheat bread—a good call. 

Nana’s Cafe & Bakery, 1555 River Park Drive; (916) 564- 3633; 

Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches are a dime a dozen in the Sacramento region, but it’s hard to top Gio Cha Duc Huong, where bread is king: The place doubles as a bakery. My favorite was the Banh Mi Thit Nuong, tasty grilled pork with a pile of produce including crispy cucumber, pickled carrots, daikon and cilantro, served on a long, fabulously fresh baguettelike roll. For this huge sandwich (serves two), you’ll pay—are you sitting down?—only $3.75. A small is $2.50. 

Gio Cha Duc Huong Sandwiches, 6825 Stockton Blvd.; (916) 428-1188 

Heads up, Mexican-food lovers: The torta sandwiches at Super Tortas Chilangas “El Abuelo” turned out to be one of the brightest spots of this Dollar-Wise journey. The boyfriend and I shared the Argentina, a behemoth sandwich on a brioche-style bun boasting breaded steak, sausage and mozzarella and garnished with mayo, avocado, tomato, lettuce, onion and jalapeno. It was as authentic as it was unusual, and we instantly vowed we’d be back to try some of the others. (The long list of selections is mind-blowing.) Admittedly, El Abuelo’s tortas exceed the $6 ceiling established for this month’s column—most, including the Argentina, are $8.50—but since it was perfect for two, I’m calling this a $4.25 deal. 

Super Tortas Chilangas “El Abuelo,” 5045 Franklin Blvd.; (916) 452-0126 

You’ll pay only $4.75 for most sandwiches at Le Croissant Park Cafe—a bargain anywhere, but especially in the heart of downtown, where this cute corner shop (at 11th and P) operates. For a few pennies less ($4.50), the Greek-Style Chicken Kabob special (Wednesdays and Fridays only) is a steal. Loaded with shredded shards of flavorfully seasoned chicken, mine came on a roll with all the standard toppings (mayo, lettuce, tomato, pickle). Also a plus: There’s a smattering of outdoor tables so you can enjoy your ’wich alfresco on a fair-weather day. 

Le Croissant Park Cafe, 1036 P St.; (916) 446-7954