Hidden Gems

The Secret Menu at Central Market’s Sandwich Bar

A former sandwich artist shares some of the best bites you haven't tried.

By Justine Hernandez May 19, 2016

The felicia lxuyhd

The Felicia

Central Market is a Texas staple widely recognized as a marketplace for peak-of-season produce and a purveyor of rare grocery goods. The twisted aisles and secret passageways lead to many a gem, but the Sandwich Bar makes up a sizable percentage of Central Market’s entire profit and that is no coincidence. Access to acres of produce, the freshest ingredients, an adjoined deli and a bakery that never stops are the ingredients that make up the Sandwich Bar’s success.

What most people don’t know is that Central Market has a secret…a secret menu, that is. Before I was writing about food, I was building it behind the counter of the prestigious Sandwich Bar. During my tenure, I learned about these creative customer modifications and off-the-menu items that would give anyone in line behind you a mad case of food envy. Here are some of the best:

The Felicia

Employees come and go, but great ideas are forever. I never had the pleasure of meeting Felicia, a former Sandwich Bar employee (or “partner” as CM employees are so lovingly referred to), but bless her for leaving this significant sandwich behind. For those familiar with Central Market’s most popular sandwich, the California Connection, the Felicia is a far superior update.

How to Build It:
  • Bread: Three-seed bread
  • Sauce: Basil pesto, salsa pesto and chipotle mayo
  • Meat: In-house baked chicken, sliced
  • Toppings: Caramelized onions, roasted red peppers, pickled jalapeños
  • Cheese: Swiss cheese
  • Heat level: Toasted 
The justine skyfhk

The Justine

The Justine

Call it narcissistic. Call it vain. I’m going to call it the best secret sandwich of them all. My dad and I dreamt up this muffuletta-inspired sandwich when I was only 16. Over the course of 10 years, the Justine has been honed into the most gluttonous, meat-filled, saucey sandwich that a carnivore could wish for. This double meat, double cheese, quadruple sauce creation will have you groaning for more.

How to Build It:
  • Bread: Italian bread, with the insides scooped out
  • Sauce: One side garlic spread and chipotle mayo; one side basil pesto and salsa pesto
  • Toppings: Olive salad
  • Meat: Half rare roast beef, half pastrami
  • Cheese: One side Havarti; one side Manchego
  • Heat level: Toasted open-faced, then half-toasted while closed
The goblerone jyfhu7

The Goblerone

The Goblerone (“go-blur-own”)

Another employee-conceived masterpiece makes the list, showing love to the underappreciated cold sandwich. The Goblerone showcases Central Market’s ultra-fresh produce, then bites back with the addition of pickled jalapeños and pepper jack. Add bacon and avocado to transform this into the ultimate club.

How to Build It:
  • Bread: Three seed bread
  • Sauce: Basil pesto and stone mustard
  • Meat: Turkey
  • Toppings: Cucumbers, pickles, pickled jalapeños, arugula, tomatoes, salt, pepper, oil and vinegar
  • Cheese: Pepper jack cheese
  • Heat level: None 

The Grilled “Toast Chee”

Think back to the good ol’ lunch box days, when kids used snacks as currency on the playground. The Grilled “Toast Chee” is an ode to the beloved peanut butter cheese cracker. Your taste buds will travel back in time with these familiar sweet-and-salty flavors. Don’t forget the napkins though: This butter-basted sandwich is a little meltier than its cracker counterpart.

How to Build It:
  • Bread: White bread
  • Sauce: Peanut butter
  • Cheese: American or Cheddar cheese
  • Heat level: Buttered, then grilled on the panini press

Additional Sandwich Hacks:

  • The Breadless Sandwich
    Whether you’re gluten-intolerant or simply getting your body right for the summer, subbing bread for lettuce as the binder for your sandwich is a great way to skip out on carbs while retaining all the flavor.
  • The Kitchen Sink
    For a completely customized meal you can pick up meats, cheeses, and offerings from the deli or Chef’s Case. Bring your ingredients to the Sandwich Bar and let your imagination run wild! Note, you have to pay for the miscellaneous components separately.

  • Event-Driven Menus
    Central Market’s themed events transform the whole store into a culinary adventure. The Sandwich Bar stays follows suit during these events, so make sure not to miss their fleeting menus.

  • The Passport Destination Event
    This annual celebration showcases a single country for two weeks towards the end of April or beginning of May each year. Pasaporte Mexico ended on May 3, during which time the Sandwich Bar dished up items like the torta de Salvador, torta de pastor and torta de tinga.

  • The Hatch Chile Festival
    This enormous Hatch chile party brings the heat every August. Discover unique fixings like Hatch pesto and Hatch cheese alongside Hatch chile riddled sandwiches before this pepper’s short-lived season ends.


Filed under
Show Comments