Ohio Deli: Dagwood Sandwich – 1, Gourmand – 1
Posted by cmh gourmand on December 25, 2007
3444 South High St (North of 270 (South) at intersection of Williams Road)
Columbus (South Side – about 3 miles south of German Village)
Another Update: December 24
Since I am getting about 1300 hits a day on the post I am linking all you need to know about the Dagwood below.
Update: December 2nd, 2008 – there is a lot of buzz on the Dagwood because the Travel Channel program – Man vs. Food has a Columbus segment on the Dagwood (and the Thurman Burger – go figure I wonder where they found out about those two sandwiches). For more Dagwood information and a link to a video – check my March 2008 Dagwood Challenge post.
I made recent trip to the Ohio Deli with Members of the Men’s Super Gang (MSG), a group of gentlemen that try to meet once per month to sample the fare our fair city has to offer and to introduce one of our members (an upstate New York Transplant) to the best dining destinations. It had been while since I was at the Ohio Deli. On my previous trip there I consumed their famous Dagwood Sandwich for the reward of a photo on the wall and a free T-shirt. I made it – but just barely. For a couple years I told stories (all true) of how big the sandwich was. When the MSG and I walked in for my recent visit – I convinced them to get one sandwich we could all share. When it arrived, I was disappointed – it was about 1/2 of the size I recalled from my last visit – but – it is the same price, still comes with a T-shirt and is even better tasting than I remembered it. I was kind of incredulous. I kept asking staff about ” what happened”. Most were kind of surprised by my questions..”don’t you think it is big enough”, etc. Finally, one of the employees told me that the bun had changed. They used to order (giant) individual sandwich buns for the sandwiches, now they just cut the bread from a long loaf of sourdough. And it turns out, the size of the sandwich can vary depending on who makes it. This helped me feel better, I did not want to think my previous effort with the sandwich was in vain or not the accomplishment I recalled it to be.
Here is the tale of my first tangle with the Dagwood
Here is tale is about a man, a sandwich, and what happened when the two met.
Desperate for anything that resembles an accomplishment, I ventured out to eat the much-ballyhooed Dagwood sandwich at the Ohio Deli.
The mission was undertaken some time ago (2004?) – but it took a while to recover and come to peace with what I had done. As has been for most life choices – I cannot be a good example – but I can be a horrible warning.
To protect the two people I conned into my mission I will refer to them as Mr. Scarlet and Mr. Gray
This is the Deal: eat the Dagwood and the fries served with it in 30 minutes and you get a T-shirt and your photo on the wall. While waiting for our table we looked at the pictures of past Dagwood eaters – most seemed kind of troubled yet relieved. The record time is 12 minutes. The bus boy – who looked like a combination of the teenager character and the Cletus character from The Simpson’s told us that the true “champion” is the guy who ate it in 13 minutes then had a piece of pie. (Sir, I salute you – there should be a beer commercial about that!) The busboy was a true supporter. He called us the three stooges and checked on our progress frequently.
Mr. Scarlet and Mr. Gray decided to make a go at the Sandwich as well. Mr. Scarlet did not think he could do it, Mr. Gray was ready to show he could.
The sandwich could best be described as gigantic fist sized portions of ham, turkey, and roast beef served with garlic mayonnaise, American and Swiss cheese in a bun that is as large as my head (my head is not small, one of 170 reasons I am single). The sandwich is the size of a hefty dinner plate. I regretted eating breakfast and lunch and not really being hungry at dinnertime, I worried about the task at hand.
I ordered my Dagwood without tomato or onion but offered to eat some extra fries to make up the difference.
As a benchmark I would say the sandwich equals two double beanie burgers (at the Gahanna Grill) or 1 and 3/4 of a Thurman burger (duh, from Thurman’s). I asked Cathy our waitress about the size. She thought the sandwich has two pounds of lunchmeat. The sandwich is big – everyone agrees on that.
A couple bites into the sandwich I felt good. A couple bites in Mr. Scarlet felt bad. At the 10-minute mark I had eaten the first half of the sandwich. Mr. Scarlet had 1/4 completed; Mr. Gray was near the 1/2 way point.
Three bites into the second half, I started to falter. The ham was very
salty and was going down slow. I disassembled the sandwich and started making mini sandwiches out of the pieces – each mini was the size of a white castle. A few more bites into the sandwich I realized I needed to pee. I decided not to go for two reasons. First, Cathy might think I was cheating. Second – the temptation to throw up would be too great, I had to press on.
I continued, somewhere around the 19 minute mark I had a panic attack and possibly went into a fugue state – I lost sense of time. Around minute 23 I came out of this state and saw that Mr. Scarlet was almost done. I still had a solid 1/3 to consume and Mr. Gray was really struggling. At 24 minutes, Mr. Scarlet was done. I burped which gave me the extra strength and belly room to carry on.
The feeling I had was similar to what I have read about marathon runners – after you hit the wall and pass through it you know you will make it and a strange nirvana sets in. I moved forward with gusto and finished at 27 minutes. Mr. Gray, still struggling made a bold move and dipped the remaining bun in his orange drink for the extra moisture needed to get that behemoth down. (This is the same tactic used by professional eaters at hot dog eating contests – Eye of the Tiger, baby). He finished at 29 minutes and more than a few seconds – he still had a good number of fries left but Cathy seeing that he had gone the extra mile let that slide. I later learned that Mr. Scarlet – during my fugue episode – had done a series of yoga moves to stretch his stomach, which allowed him to finish strong.
You can see the photo of the three of us together on the wall – we are listed as Curly, Larry, and Moe. The “I defeated the Dagwood” t-shirt is a good shirt. That sandwich destroyed me. In the photo, I would not say we look sad, but we do not look happy either.
Some suggestions for when you go.
1) Don’t eat lunch if you are going for dinner, don’t eat breakfast if you
are going for lunch.
2) Use the pickle on the side as an eating aide – (something I discovered a little late) – a small bite of pickle every 8-10 bites seems to help things go down better.
3) Make sure you have someone with you – you really need the moral support to push through. And you need someone to drive – but that is another story.
4) Consult your physician
5) Exercise, doing a triathalon would be ideal.
6) Have that orange drink ready – no way you want to fall short at the end.
Thanksgiving week 2007, I went back to do battle with the Dagwood again. Another thing I forgot, Ohio Deli has awesome fries. I ordered my sandwich. I ate it with plenty of time to spare (you have 30 minutes) and even had time to be interviewed by Kevin Joy from the Dispatch while eating the Dagwood. When I was done, a woman sitting nearby asked me to stand up because she wanted to see where I put the sandwich because she figured someone would have to be bigger than me to put a sandwich away “that fast”. What can I say, I am task oriented.