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Sandwiches so good it’s not even funny

Citizen Staff Writer
Cheat Eats: Daggwood Cafe



What: The Daggwood Cafe

Address and phone: 736 E. Fort Lowell Road, 903-9663

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays

What was ordered: Daggwood’s Caliente Cock-A-Doodle-Do sandwich ($6.99), The Big Ragu sandwich ($6.99) and two fountain drinks ($1.65 each) for a total of $18.68, within our Cheap Eats goal of a meal for two for less than $20.

Comments: I unfavorably compared Subway to a local sandwich shop in a review about a year ago and was a little surprised at how much ire it elicited from card-carrying and closet Subway fans.

It was so much fun that when I recently got yet another pair of excellent sandwiches at The Daggwood Cafe, I decided it was high time to go there again.

I understand that you can’t always go local when you’re hungry and in a hurry, and I don’t expect people to patronize independent, locally owned eateries over megachains just to be philanthropic.

But when it comes to a good sandwich, compared to locals – such as Bumsted’s, Luke’s, East Coast Super Subs, Frankie’s South Philly Cheesesteaks, PJ Subs and The Daggwood Cafe – Subway just plain sucks.

There. I said it. All you fundamentalist Subway lemmings have a week to get me fired before the lights go off at the Citizen, so give it your best shot.

Daggwood has been serving a creative collection of 40 or so overstuffed sandwiches from a small shop next to a laundromat since 2002.

On our last visit, we went with the Caliente Cock-A-Doodle-Do and The Big Ragu, two of Daggwood’s more popular offerings.

The Cock-A-Doodle-Do teamed a mild, creamy chicken salad with thick slices of peppered bacon, avocado, cheddar, lettuce and tomato, and – if you like – jalapeƱo slices. Like all of Daggwood’s sandwiches, there was no skimping on the ingredients as the sandwich was a good 4 inches thick. For such a large affair, the assembly process is somehow done in such a way that the sandwich is notably easy to eat without spilling its contents.

Daggwood is just as careful with the way the ingredients are combined, as the demure and pristinely fresh-tasting chicken salad was nicely offset by the peppered bacon, neutral avocado and slightly tangy cheddar.

The Big Ragu’s formidable lineup of ingredients reads like a shopping list. That so many items can be tucked between two slices of bread and still complement each other without turning into a morass of confusion is further evidence of Daggwood’s considerable acumen at sandwich crafting. The Ragu featured smoked turkey, ham, hard salami, pepperoni, Provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers, mayonnaise, spicy mustard and a “secret sauce.”

The overall effect of the mayo, mustard and secret sauce was one we likened to thick, mild, creamy Italian dressing. The meats and Provolone were of good quality, and every bite of the Ragu gave a little different payoff with the cast of characters revealing themselves in varying hierarchy.

Rare are Daggwood customers who leave the joint without a brown paper bag holding half of the sandwich they ordered, and its sandwiches and salads hold up notably well in the company fridge for finishing later in the afternoon or on the way home. Try saying that about Subway.

Service: Friendly and prompt, despite the fact that the place had been robbed the night before (the entire cash register had been stolen, among other things). The staff had cleaned the place up, gotten an old cash register up and running, and were open for business as usual.

Bar: No

Children’s menu: Yes

Web site: No

Most recent health inspection: An “excellent” rating Jan. 9, 2008. No critical violations were reported. The cafe has received 11 consecutive “excellent” ratings on every inspection it has ever undergone since opening in September 2002.

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