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Get your Grandwich (Part I): Narrowing down 10 contenders

Chris Freeman tries out 10 Grandwich competitors in this first installment and breaks it down for sandwich lovers.
Underwriting support from:
Chris documents his Founders Grandwich while sponsor and JGR Real Estate coworker Elaine Williams looks on

Chris documents his Founders Grandwich while sponsor and JGR Real Estate coworker Elaine Williams looks on /Denise Cheng

Grandwich brief by Denise Cheng

Chris Freeman fully buys that Grand Rapids should have a signature dish. Chicago with its deep dish, Philly with its cheesesteak, New York with its cheesecake, Freeman has taken it upon himself to wade through as many of the more than 40 Grandwich options to deduce the most likely winners of the Grandwich competition.

Started not only to put GR on the culinary map, the two-week sammich-off is also a fundraiser for local nonprofit Kids' Food Basket, which provides sack lunches to more than 3,700 school children everyday. On Aug. 1, the wealth of sandwiches will be narrowed down to the 10 most popular, and the ultimate Grandwich will be decided by a panel of 10 judges on Aug. 6. Freeman's own criteria are the following:

  1. No Grandwiches over $10 because a city's signature dish should be accessible.
  2. He's frequenting the small, local players rather than chowing down at chains like Subway and Big Boy.
  3. He'll put down as many Grandwiches as he can till his wife puts her foot down.

In this first video, he has reviewed:

  • HopCat - Homemade Sloppy Joe, jalapenos, a full order of crack fries, soft beer cheese on a brioche bun
  • 4th Street Deli - Chorizo kapusta, honey garlic mustard, queso fresco cheese and ham on a marble rye sub
  • Monarch's Club - Local fresh kielbasa, homemade kapusta, tomato and our own cole slaw snuggled with honey roasted Michigan raised turkey served on a toasted Van's Bakery bun, gently touched with a zesty Olive Oil then topped with our own tangy horseradish sauce.
  • Saint Mary's Health Care - Grilled Michigan turkey with sweet cherries, apples and fresh herbs from our garden, smothered with blueberry goat cheese, fire roasted sweet vidalia onions, greens, cabbage and carrots tossed with a light blueberry vinaigrette, all layered inside Nantucket Bakery's multigrain toast
  • Stella's Lounge - Premium roast beef, crispy bacon, swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and spicy avocado ranch on Parmesan encrusted french bread
  • Cherry Street Deli - Gouda, Red onions, Avocado, Nutmeg, Dill havarti, Roasted red peppers, Artichokes, Pastrami, Infused sriracha mayo, Dijon mustard, Salami
  • McFadden's - Thin-sliced prime rib, horseradish cheddar mashed potatoes, haystack onions, rich beef gravy, all stacked between two pieces of Nantucket cheese garlic bread.
  • Skywalk Deli - Locally made chorizo sausage topped with a homemade sweet potato pierogi, Dutch Edam cheese, roasted red pepper and olive tapenade and a spicy Asian aioli on a grilled German Kaiser roll
  • Rico's Deli - A generous portion of hand carved turkey breast topped with creamy havarti, layered with homemade stuffing on hand cut potato bread.  Accented with cranberry aioli.  Panini pressed to perfection and complimented with a turkey jus lie
  • Schnitz Deli - Sliced chicken breast, onions, peppers, portabella mushrooms, swiss cheese, feta/Greek dressing all grilled and served on a Schnitz Bakery french roll

In his quest to hit up as many Grandwich joints as possible, Freeman's friends and coworkers have stepped up to sponsor him. If you're interested in being a sponsor, contact Chris at [email protected]. And stay tuned for the next couple of installments of his Grandwich sandwich reviews on The Rapidian.

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that's taking one for the team! ... though doing the math... that's like 18 animals you've eaten there....the folks and John Ball Zoo are probably gettin' a little nervous as you work your way westward!

 you might wanna try Cherry St Deli, they even name their sammies after local streets

I think that they only butchered 1 cow, 1 pig, 1 chicken and 1 turkey.....The rest was all textured vegetable protein.


I did try Cherry Street Deli.  Watch 1st Video. :)

Do you have to be sick to eat at Saint Mary's? Seriously, that looks like a great representation of Michigan and I need to try one soon.


This is so impressive! I can't wait see more!

All 3 videos are posted on YouTube for your viewing pleasure!

Completely agree about the pricing criteria (and chains). GR has a relatively low cost of living and its signature dish should probably reflect that.


Chris, are you really eating 8-10 of these per day? Wowow. Looking forward to part 3!

I just filmed part 4 today