Forget the days of paper bag peanut butter sandwiches. Forget the days you even made your own sandwiches. San Luis Obispo is full of sandwich shops just waiting for your taste buds. Here are a few spots SLO locals love best. Don’t forget to bring your appetite.
977 East Foothill Blvd.
Local favorite: “The Destroyer”
Kona’s Deli entered the SLO sandwich scene in 1989, and manager Andrea Stubbs said it’s been a Cal Poly favorite ever since.
The deli is known for “catering towards a college atmosphere,” said Stubbs, a wine and viticulture senior. “Half of the employees are Cal Poly students, and the rest are from Cuesta.”
Kona’s also offers cheap beer and a Hawaiian atmosphere that makes it stand out from other delis, Stubbs said.
Kona’s burned down in March 2010, but reopened its doors in 2011. It continues to be a top choice for Cal Poly students, Stubbs said.
Sal’s Sandwiches and Beer
1028 Chorro St.
Local favorite: “The Ex-Girlfriend”
Sal’s is the new kid in town. The business opened its doors in March 2012 in the heart of downtown SLO and have been selling sandwiches with complimentary lollipops attached ever since.
This place looks and feels different than any other place in SLO, shift leader and kinesiology junior Jennifer Rouse said.
“People are drawn to our uniqueness,” she said.
Sal’s walls are covered in a modern mural painting and quirky tables scatter the floor.
“We have a creative menu, with crazy (sandwich) names, and fun music,” Rouse said. “The place has a young vibe.”
For the best deals, Rouse said to visit during their daily “Happy Hour” (4 to 8 p.m.) when customers get $2 off all sandwiches.
Lincoln Market & Deli
496 Broad St.
Local favorite: “The Gobbler”
With an old-school vibe and plenty of organic options, Lincoln Market & Deli has been a popular choice for locals in the past five years since it opened.
Cashier and history senior Alexis Caso said what sets Lincoln Deli apart is the neighborhood.
“We know all the regulars, and we (the employees) are all a tight little group,” Caso said.
Located on a sleepy street corner, Lincoln Deli also offers plenty of indoor and outdoor seating and a relaxing environment for customers.
“We also have a really good market available,” Caso said, “and local craft beers.”
While the market and deli is a bit pricier than some of SLO’s other sandwich shops, the food and laid-back atmosphere draws in loyal customers.
High Street Deli
350 High St.
Local favorite: “Cal Turkey”
Embracing its name, High Street Deli offers a daily $4.20 sandwich special to customers from 4:20 to 5:30 p.m.
“That’s really great for college students,” employee and “sandwich artist” Kathryn Whisler said.
If it weren’t for the crowds of customers outside, the tiny deli blends right into the surrounding houses.
“It’s small — some people say too small,” theatre arts senior Whisler said, “but it’s a really nice environment.”
Even during busy peak hours, Whisler said the atmosphere surrounding High Street Deli stays relaxed — and crowds keep coming back for more.
1638 Osos St.
Local favorite: “Chicken Strip Sandwich”
As owner Ellen Stanton puts it, “You can’t miss us.”
Gus’s Grocery sells its sandwiches by the train station in an old yellow building adorned with umbrellas — and has been doing so since the 1920s.
“We have our own character and personality over here,” Stanton said. “We get to know people by first name.”
For a brief period in the ’70s and ’80s, the grocery and deli was run under a different name, but when Stanton and her partner opened the new grocery 23 years ago, they returned the shop to its original title — Gus’s.
“Our food has a lot of flavor,” Stanton said. “We use locally sourced ingredients to make our food from scratch, so it’s real food with real flavor.”
Stanton said most customers choose to build their own sandwich, but there is also a menu of popular sandwich choices such as the “Italiano” or the “Meat-Lovers Sandwich”.
Longtime locals and Cal Poly students alike make up Gus’s wide customer base, and on weekends it’s common to see the outdoor patio covered with sando-loving customers young and old.
“A lot of Cal Poly alumni will come here when they visit, and often Gus’s is their first stop on the way into town, and their last stop on the way out,” Stanton said.