Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, May 11, 2005
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Not bigger, just tastier: Sandwackers’ eponymous sandwich (Photo by Vishal Malhotra)
Sandwackers
The Sandwacker
$4.95
Honey Clucker
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk

Though it misses some pitches, the silly sandwich shop Sandwackers does deliver
some hits.

By JIMMY FOWLER

Sandwackers 553 W Pioneer Pkwy, Grand Prairie. 972-642-6769. All major credit cards accepted.


On the corner tv screen with VHS tapes stacked beneath it, Gene Wilder teaches a group of snotty British kids about the merits of “pure imagination.” Along one wall are framed Southwestern landscape photos from an exhibit by the great Ansel Adams. Across the opposite wall are pictures matted on colored construction paper of cinematic comedy legends frozen in black and white: Laurel and Hardy, The Marx Brothers, The Three Stooges. The menu includes preparations with names like Mae West, Buckwheat, John Wayne, and Harpo.
Welcome to Sandwackers, a locally owned specialty sandwich operation with locations in Grand Prairie and Duncanville. (The South Arlington spot closed a couple of years ago to make room for a franchise of the Beef O’Brady’s chain.) As the zany name suggests, Sandwackers takes its thematic inspiration from the great pratfallers and word-twisters of yore. Happily, the owners’ sense of restaurant decorum is better than Groucho’s was in A Night at the Opera.
Every sandwich comes on a wax paper-lined plastic plate with salty Ruffles potato chips and a cold, sour dill pickle spear. Specialty items — listed on paper menus at the tables and on boards at the counter — include a variety of diet-conscious wraps as well as egg, tuna, and chicken salad. A hearty, tasty egg salad is difficult to find in North Texas, but in warmer seasons, when its bacterial volatility edges toward a public health threat, the stuff is as precious as gold. Enter: the Zeppo, which features a medium-thin spread of yellow mustard-based egg salad, with more filmy yolk than small shards of white, atop folded ham slices with lettuce and sliced tomato on an onion roll. The salad was undeniably fresh, and if you like tangy mustard (though we prefer mayo) then this should hit the spot. Unfortunately, the onion roll appeared to have been mashed near the bottom of a store bag, a reminder of how easily you could’ve whipped this up at home.
Ditto the Moe, which offered pastrami, corned beef, and lightly melted Swiss cheese on a toasted light rye bun flecked with chewy, pesky caraway seeds. The beef was quality — pleasantly leathery but still juicy when hot — but the sandwich itself was disconcertingly flat and appeared thrown together like a hasty, Saturday a.m. pre-emptive strike against a hangover.
Two of the hot ’wiches fared better. The Sandwacker, with a mile-long stretch of deli fave ingredients — corned beef, ham, turkey, salami, pastrami, Swiss, cheddar, American, provolone, yellow mustard, and Italian dressing on 8-inch-long toasted submarine bread — sounds as if it could have required a ladder and a hard hat just to get started. But the meat stack was so relatively slender that it made you want to examine the sandwich closely just to make sure everything advertised was there. A couple of bites later, my guest and I overcame our American urge for abundance and decided this was a tastier experience with less rather than more.
The Honey Clucker was the smallest of the hot sandwiches sampled and probably the most appealing — a baked chicken breast given real zest by lemon pepper seasoning, along with lettuce, tomato, and the thinnest knife-swipe of honey mustard sauce, between slices of a toasted onion roll. (Made crispy, the roll lost much of its grocery store blahs. The white meat breast was utterly lean but so tender that one good chomp separated each bite effortlessly. A few short chomps after that, and the whole thing was gone.
Cherry cobbler and brownies were the available desserts. The cobbler, nuked until it almost bubbled, was served in frustratingly small Styrofoam cups. It was surprisingly the freshest-made item tasted on the premises, with resilient cherries retaining their shape, sour-sweet flavor impressively in the red goo, and soft brown chunks of crust.
Sandwackers also serves “Little Rascals” — kid-friendly sandwiches, such as PB&J on white bread and grilled cheese, at couch-change prices — as well as stuffed baked potatoes (“Spudwackers!”) and garden salads prepared before the doors are opened for each business day. The place was a couple of notches above satisfying, although for sandwich aficionados it was probably not worth more than a short drive. So, bottom line, if you’re hungry and in the neighborhood, is a stop at Sandwackers worthwhile? Soy-tainly! l


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