As reader-voted best-in-the-city lists go, the Washington City Paper‘s Best of D.C. has long been my list of record, if only because I tend to be an alt-weekly kind of guy. That said, the Washington Post Express‘s Best of 2012, the results of which were released last week, earned instant cred by being the first of these lists I can recall (or at least since this blog has launched) that has included a Best Sandwich category. I generally consider the experience of history’s greatest ever unit of consumption far too personal to be subject to such certitudes, but despite my bristling at any declaration of a “best” sandwich, I was intrigued.

There is no shortage of truly great sandwich shops in D.C. (we’ve mapped out favorites here), and the Best of 2012 winner, Taylor Gourmet, was not my first pick. I’ve sampled a fair bit of Philly-style hoagie shops’ extensive menu and have found their sandwiches occasionally exceptional and never less than satisfying.  While none of Taylor’s hoagies are among my personal favorites in the city, and although there are fancier, perhaps more creative sandwiches available elsewhere, there’s no doubt these guys know their hoagies. And at Taylor there’s a hoagie for everyone.

These lists are, quite literally, popularity contests, and Taylor was an unsurprising, if not obvious winner. Even before President Obama ate there earlier this year, with three locations across D.C. and one in each of Maryland and Virginia, Taylor has cultivated a fanbase that is as widespread as it is devoted. I’ve wrote previously about my instinctive skepticism towards over-enthusiasm, but in this case, although it didn’t get my vote, I must admit that the fanboys got it right.

If there is one word to describe why Taylor Gourmet is the right choice for D.C.’s best sandwich, it’s service. And I don’t necessarily mean the people working behind the counter, who are friendly and helpful enough. Rather, the chain offers everything a great sandwich shop should. In a city where breakfast is sadly neglected, Taylor boasts thoughtful, unique breakfast options. The multiple locations mean wide accessibility, and reliable delivery service extends that range even farther. Not least, the large menu offers good value and, indeed, consistently great sandwiches. In these ways, the chain is without equal in D.C.

So to Taylor Gourmet, a tip of the cap and a congratulations on this well-deserved recognition. You do D.C. proud, and you are a more than worthy representative of our growing local sandwich scene.

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October 26, 2012