Behind the Story: The Great Sandwich Wars of San Luis Obispo

Around the world, cities ant towns have their “thing.” For San Luis Obispo, California, it’s clear that “thing” is sandwiches. Anyone who comes here would note a seemingly disproportionate number of sandwich spots compared to other small town staples like pizza or tacos. Why does San Luis Obispo need more than ten distinct deli sandwich places? You’ll find the answer as soon as you ask a local. Few things in this world are as hotly debated as which sandwich shop locals prefer, and most of the others involve uranium.

We wanted to know just makes people so passionate about certain sandwiches and their deli. A poll was disseminated on various social media platforms and garnered almost 200 legitimate answers, and about 50 amateur comics. We polled only for local, independently owned delis, cutting out about five shops and narrowed down to our top five. 

A Dutch Punch sandwich at High St. Deli. A local Favorite

In at number one was High St. deli. This result was not too surprising as High St. is widely acknowledged as a student and local favorite. In total, it received a massive 54% of the vote. What was truly interesting about our survey was always going to be second through fifth place.

A Pastrami Sensation at Lincoln Market and Deli. A recommendation by the sandwich makers.

Second place went to the perhaps most distinctly anti-High St., Lincoln Market and Deli. Lincoln fans are fairly vocal about their support for the deli and showed up to give their _____ just under 13% of the vote. A relative newcomer, Kona’s Deli squeaked in third with 10%.

A Beach Break sandwich at Kona’s Deli. Designated on thier menu as a Cal Poly and local favorite.

A particularly rewarding part of conducting this survey was getting to relay the results back to the appreciative, and sometimes sour voters. After posting the results on reddit, one /u/ProfDocworm graciously commented, “I love delis and am new to the area so this list is my new bucket list, thank you so much for doing this! So much sandwich, so little time!” But of course for every /u/ProfDocworm, there’s a /u/strbeanjoe who didn’t care for the results, saying, “I called it! High St wins because “lol weed”!” To me, entertaining all the same.

Audio/video maestro, Kassidy Clark had this to say about her time working on Sandwich Wars “I feel like the topic of this project was way better than the last one. It was more fun and light-hearted, which made creating the content more fun and intriguing for me. I think finding sources was a lot easier this time around because people actually want to talk about it. Overall, I’m happy with the way it turned out and I think I would like going for the more fun “Buzzfeed” type stories.”

Our wordsmith Julia Glick said, “Sandwiches was an awesome topic to write about. It was fun and light-hearted, and I think we could use more of those kinds of stories in the news. The word portion was extremely foreign to me, but with help from my group members, it made me feel a lot more confident in the final product.”

Finally with our interactive interests, Lena Binley said, “I really enjoyed doing a project on delis in SLO. What’s not to love about sandwiches? I was in charge of the interactive components of the project , which is something I don’t have much experience with. I had fun getting out of my comfort zone and creating an interactive story map. Food is so visual, so the most important part to me was to keep readers and viewers engaged with plenty of photos and interesting descriptions of each deli.”