Local vendors offer fresh variation on sandwiches


Maddie Magruder

Finding the Perfect Sandwich

On a Saturday afternoon, all I could think of was trying sandwiches from downtown. As soon as the clock turned from 12:59 to 1:00 p.m., my shift at work ended and I was free to wander the streets with my friends.
The crisp breeze of a winter afternoon filled our lungs as we headed to Flat Branch. It was the first time I had ever been, even though I’ve lived in Columbia my entire life. The heavenly smell of fries instantly surrounded us, making me feel even more famished. We waited at the crowded bar, as the restaurant was filled of Mizzou fans watching a basketball game, for our first sandwich of the day: the Hobgobber.
After enjoying the sandwich and fries at Flatbranch park right across the street, we decided to go to Uprise Bakery next. After a several-minute long walk through the warming winter air, we arrived at our destination adjacent to Ragtag.
Uprise was crowded as well; while I ordered the sandwich, my friends searched for a table. We decided on the BLT, adding a classic to our array of sandwiches.
We waited several minutes for our order to come, observing the interesting bunch of customers coming and going from Uprise.
When our sandwich finally came, I knew our wait was worth it. The freshly cooked bacon made my mouth water.
After finishing the best BLT I’ve ever had, we headed to our final stop, Main Squeeze.
I had never been to Main Squeeze, or let alone any vegetarian restaurant, so I didn’t know what to expect. We ordered the hummus wrap to add a vegan-friendly item to our sandwich variety.
Sitting at our table awaiting our wrap, I was admitted very nervous. I was almost afraid to try this vegetable-filled wrap. I knew I didn’t dislike hummus, but I didn’t know if I liked it enough to eat it in a wrap.
To my pleasure and surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed the hummus wrap. The fresh vegetables made me feel fresh myself, leaving me feeling cleansed. Even though we were all full from the other sandwiches and we had to take part of this one to go, I was satisfied.
This was one afternoon that wasn’t wasted. While doing work for a story, I got to eat at three places I’d seen, or even been inside of, but never eaten at.
The only thing better than the taste of these sandwiches is the look.
[heading style=”1″]Main Squeeze: Hummus Wrap[/heading]

Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes.
Owner Leigh Lotkhart opened Main Squeeze in 1997 on 9th Street in downtown Columbia. The vegetarian cafe is home to quite an array of menu items, the most popular of which is the white cheddar & avocado sandwich.
Senior Rachel Volmert said she first went to Main Squeeze as a little kid, and now she goes on her own. She loves the variety of options on the menu.
“I appreciate that they get a lot of ingredients locally and that they offer vegetarian and gluten free options,” Volmert said. “I personally love the Curious George smoothie.”
Another popular item is the hummus wrap (shown), a vegan-friendly item made of hummus, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, carrot and onion. Lotkhart said hummus, made from garbanzo beans, olive oil and sesame oil, is popular with vegans, so it made sense to have a hummus wrap on the menu.
“It’s not really a meat alternative, but it’s real high in protein and has a good kind of a fatty texture, so a lot of vegan folks like that,” Lotkhart said. “They’ll substitute actually the hummus on that white cheddar sandwich.”
One of the best things about the hummus wrap is its portability, she said. It keeps well and can easily move with someone on the go.
“If somebody has to get back to their office or try to eat between classes or something like that, it’s cold and holds up well,” Lotkhart said. “All the vegetables inside are organic, which matters to a lot of our customers.”
[heading style=”1″]Uprise Bakery: B.L.T.[/heading]
Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes
Uprise Bakery, located on 10 Hitt St., is a quaint restaurant adjacent to Ragtag Cinema. Open for over a decade, the bakery offers many selections, including sandwiches, freshly baked bread and homemade cookies.
Senior Marie Fulcher said she loves the atmosphere of Uprise, as the people and layout of the restaurant give the customers a homey feel.
“I always try to go out to a local place, like Uprise, because there is quality food that tastes better,” Fulcher said. “It’s a perfect place to have the Ragtag at because you can grab a bite to eat before you see a film.”
Uprise’s most popular sandwiches include the Cuban pulled pork, the Reuben and the BLT (shown).
The BLT, or bacon, lettuce and tomato, is made with only the ingredients in the name, but Uprise makes the ingredients as fresh as possible. They use Pepperidge bacon and local vegetables, season permitting, and get as many local products as they can for their menu.
Employee Anna Wilson said the owner of Uprise “wanted to expand what he could offer to Columbia and sort of combine forces with Ragtag, so they bought this building a few years ago and now it’s a venue for [the] True/False [Film Festival] and we get a lot of really neat customers in here.  We just continue to try to see what Columbia wants and try to stay local.”
Since finding its home in downtown Columbia in April 1994, Flat Branch Pub and Brewing, 115 S 5th St., has become a local stand-by. From their house-brewed drinks to juicy burgers, the restaurant has something for everyone.
[heading style=”1″]Flat Branch: Hobgobbler[/heading]
Photo by Maria Kalaitzandonakes
Paul Huesgen, manager of Flat Branch for five years, said the bacon chicken wrap is their most popular sandwich — if a wrap is considered a sandwich. Their burgers follow the wrap, the Reuben and finally the Hobgobbler (shown).
Junior Hallie Galvan said she personally likes Flat Branch’s burgers the best.
“They have so many different types of burgers that are all really unique,” Galvan said. “They’re … amazing and they give you a lot of food.”
Huesgen said the Hobgobbler, a sandwich consisting of a generous pile of turkey topped with Swiss cheese and sauteed onions and mushrooms, has been on Flat Branch’s menu since nearly the beginning.
Flat Branch has “an onsite bakery that we make all the bread everyday, so we always have fresh baguettes,” Huesgen said. “Then we slice the turkey here and do everything else pretty much from scratch.”
He said the restaurant tried to replace the sandwich a few years ago by making a “create your own” sandwich option, which was met with an outcry from hungry customers.
“People thought we took it off because we had deli sandwiches that were [with] roast beef, turkey, ham, with your choice of cheese, so you could build a Hobgobbler yourself,” Huesgen said, “but people thought we got rid of it so we brought it back the next year.”
[heading style=”1″]B&B Bagels: Bacon, Egg and Cheese special[/heading]

Photo by Asa Lory
Only a couple minutes from RBHS, B&B Bagels, located on 124 E Nifong Blvd, is a household name at RBHS. From their popular lunch time pepperoni pizza bagel to leafy bagel sandwiches, the simple menu at B&B brings a sort of basic comfort.
While B&B offers lunch selections, including club sandwiches, Baja chicken wraps and cheese steak sandwiches, one can’t forget their breakfast sandwiches as well. Owner and manager Brad Newkirk said the most popular is the bacon, egg and cheese sandwich with an original bagel (shown).
Senior Robert Benad said he loves to go to B&B. His personal favorites are the chicken noodle soup and cookies, but he said he enjoys the breakfast sandwich as well.
“I mean, there’s eggs in it, so there’s your protein,” Benad said. “B&B is simply amazing.”
The basic sandwich is a staple at most breakfast restaurants, but Newkirk said the bagel makes the simple bacon, egg and cheese sandwich special.
Even though none of the sandwiches boast any particularly abstract ingredients, Newkirk said what makes the sandwiches good is in the restaurant’s name.
“In the business we call [the bagel] the carrier,” Newkirk said. “Since we make all our bagels from scratch, and we’re the only place that makes real bagels, I think it makes a huge difference. I think what makes the sandwich is the bagel.”
By Maddie Magruder