Hannah Palmer Egan
The Fairbanks roast beef sandwich at Eastern & Main Market-Deli
Let's face it, we live in a world where $15 sandwiches are increasingly the norm. Of course, I'm well aware that quality ingredients don't come cheap — and that customers now demand fresher, more local foods, which cost more than frozen or heavily preserved ones from China or wherever. Still, I'm always super stoked to find a solid stacker for less than $10.
Enter St. Johnsbury's Eastern & Main Market-Deli
, which opened across from the firehouse on Main Street several years back. Walk in most mornings and the cashiers will greet you as if they've known you for years — even if it's your first time in. Place your order and the deli workers make your sandwich in about three minutes flat, unless there's a big line ahead of you. It's the kind of quick and friendly service that makes you know you'll be back.
Then there are the sandwiches themselves, which cost $6.99 (for a six-inch sub) to $10.99 (12-inch sub), and owe their monikers to local legends and landmarks. The Top O' the Hill (named for the rise between Railroad and Main streets) layers Black Forest ham with provolone, pickles, tomatoes and lettuce, and a tangy smear of honey mustard that pulls it all together.
The Fairbanks — so dubbed for the museum, and the prominent St. Johnsbury family for whom it is named — packs juicy roast beef, sharp Cabot cheddar, lettuce, tomato and a zingy slick of horseradish-wasabi mayo. In my book, it's a total winner.
For me, a standard sandwich ($7.29, on a hefty LaBaccia roll) might have sufficed for two meals, particularly if I'd paired it with a cup of soup ($3.59) or one of the scrumptious jumbo cookies at the check-out counter. Instead, I ate the whole thing in one sitting — and was quite full thereafter. The reason for that definitely had less to do with hunger than it did with flavor — it was so good I couldn't help but eat it all
Hannah Palmer Egan
The Top O' the Hill