sandwiches from the gramophone in the grove photo by izaiah johnson

We ranked all 40 sandwiches from the Gramophone in the Grove

With 40 sandwiches featuring all manner of fillings, breads, sauces, seasonings and other accoutrement, ordering at The Gramophone can be daunting. Given its stellar reputation as one of St. Louis’ finest sandwich-slinging establishments, you know there probably aren’t any wrong choices. But which is the right one for you?

This is the kind of question we live for at Sauce HQ, and to adequately answer it, we decided the only viable option was to try every sandwich on The Gramophone’s menu. Once a week for 10 weeks, we tried four sandwiches in their standard menu form – no substitutions – which we rated and reviewed anonymously. Our comments reflect our range of sandwich tastes: While some detest an overly saucy sandwich, for others, there can never be too much sauce. Others prioritized texture combination in their ranking, or the use of chips. Whether you’re looking for a sandwich to scratch a particular flavor itch or to determine your forever Gramophone favorite, we hope this ranking helps you navigate the myriad delicious options at one of St. Louis’ definitive sandwich spots.

Top 5

1. Philly Cheesesteak Score: 4.75
The Gramophone’s status may be a St. Louis legend, but our No. 1 Gramophone sandwich is decidedly not local. The restaurant’s Philly cheesesteak applies the principles of solid sandwich engineering with aplomb, showing why sampling a restaurant’s execution of a “simple” classic is a tried-and-true test of excellence. The bread – The Gramophone’s outstanding garlic-cheese baguette – holds its structure throughout with an enjoyably toasty crust and soft crumb. A well-tuned bread-to-filling ratio allows all the ingredients to come to the fore. Aromas of garlic from the bread and Cheez Whiz drift in and out of focus, each bite revealing a different emphasis of flavor: piles of thinly sliced roast beef, the vegetal sweetness of fleshy green peppers, and sautéed onions.

Would Philadelphians give it the thumbs-up? What does that matter? This is The Gramophone’s Philly cheesesteak, and we love it.


our no. 1 favorite sandwich at the gramophone, the philly cheesesteak // photo by izaiah johnson


2. Alcatraz Score: 4.6
The Alcatraz epitomizes all the textbook strengths of a Gramophone sandwich: There’s a satisfying range of textures in each bite as you crunch through the crisp, toasty exterior of panini-pressed, garlic-buttered sourdough into melty, gooey layers of slow-roasted beef, Swiss and Provel cheeses, and caramelized onions. A layer of tangy Boss sauce adds the perfect touch of sweet, vinegary contrast to the hearty umami bomb. Skip your usual post-Grove late night drive-thru and snag one of these bad boys for the ideal nightcap.

3. Phil & Ched’s Excellent Adventure Score: 4.5
This sandwich’s name makes perfect sense: It really is like if the Philly cheesesteak decided it needed to go on a walkabout and have an excellent adventure to shake things up in its life. It has all the things we love about the Philly – sweet, vegetal peppers and onions, shattering, garlicky baguette, gooey cheesiness, and satisfying meatiness – but Phil & Ched swaps the saucy Cheez Whiz for white cheddar’s distinctive nuttiness and subs hunks of grilled flank steak for the chopped beef. For some, the flank steak’s chewiness was a detriment, but for others the chew made the sandwich all the more satisfying. After all, what’s an adventure without a little challenge to keep things spicy?

4. Frenchy Score: 4.4
This sandwich is rich, rich. An abundance of gooey, melted Swiss cheese and a generous amount of chicken on the Frenchy is sure to give you an after-dinner dip. But this sandwich has other components to balance that richness out: an oil-and-vinegar aioli and red onion bring pops of sharpness and tang, while the crispy bacon is not at all gratuitous, bringing a salty bite and texture. The gently toasted sesame baguette it comes on is sturdy but yielding. It's definitely over the top, but it's also the kind of sandwich that will bring you calm after a long day or sustenance after a late night.

5. Taco Del Score: 4.2 (tie)
Nearly everyone loves tacos and sandwiches, but have you ever had a taco sandwich? On this specimen, a generous portion of the quintessential seasoned ground beef is accompanied by creamy nacho cheese, crisp red onion, along with tomato and shredded iceberg lettuce. A touch of tangy sour cream cools some of the heat from housemade hot sauce, while a light smattering of tortilla chips adds subtle crunch. All ingredients are enveloped by a hearty sesame baguette for a robust meal that truly embodies the beloved fast-food taco in sandwich form.

All Up In Your Grill
We cling to any excuse to eat cheese, especially when it’s four types of melty, gooey goodness. This sandwich takes your standard grilled cheese up several notches with Provel, mozzarella, white cheddar and gouda. A thick slab of tomato and a few pickle slices add vegetal complexity, while a mild, creamy avocado spread lends depth and richness. Amply buttered garlic sourdough bread rounds out this satisfying sandwich for a delightful, toothsome bite.


the alcatraz comes in second place, with a score of 4.6 // photo by izaiah johnson


Score: 4.0

The Beef:
“Platonic ideal dip. Flavorful jus, garlicky, melting, crusty. Yum!”
“Love the garlickiness of it and the cheese.”
“Simple – allows the beef to shine.”

Chicka Chicka Parm Parm:
“Love everything about this, except I wish it didn’t have bacon.”
“Bacon is a fun twist. Not too messy and the sauce has great flavor.”
“Love the sauce and how much there is; it’s a generous amount but still structurally sound.”

Beefy Popper Crunch:
“Love the crunchy chips and sweet-hot flavor. Jalapeno popper sauce is great. Not as full-flavored as other beef sandwiches on the menu.”
“Sturdy, and I like the soup – needs something else though.”

Mushroom Mississippi Nights:
“Mushrooms are so good.”
“Doesn’t really come together as a cohesive sandwich to me. Mushroom feels like a substitution.”
“I love the pepper jack [cheese] and cucumber in this, such a nice contrast of textures.”

Score: 3.8

Spicy Mac Daddy:
“Good flavors and textures but could use more acidic punch.”
“Oddball sandwich, but I love it. Fun texture and flavors.”
“Pasta in sandwiches is bizarre but it is cooked well. Spicy and so good. Love the chips even though they’re soggy. What a weird and delightful hit!”

Spicy Portobello:
“My favorite of the veggie sandwiches. They said spicy and they meant it! Love the Boss sauce and jalapenos. Love the cook on the mushrooms. Love the brioche!”
“Not unique or flavorful enough sauce. Heat is the biggest flavor.”
“Love the brioche and the spice, a neat, compact sandwich.”


phil & ched’s excellent adventure, score: 4.5 // photo by izaiah johnson


Score: 3.75

General Patton:
“Love how rich and creamy it is. Love the ranch, love the bacon.”

Score: 3.6

The Club:
“Nice heat from pepper sauce, and the baguette has a good crust.”

“Love the mild heat from the pepper and Cholula mayos, the combination of meats and the sourdough. Very solid take on a club. Construction holds up.”

Score: 3.5

Big Willie’s Meatball:
“Very solid meatball sandwich. Not too messy. Love the sesame bread.”
“Meatball tastes pretty good, love the garlic buttered bread.”
“Love the meatball. Construction of it is dense for the sake of stability, but it’s not dry or overdone. Sauce flavor is good.”

“Love the flavor of the cheese sauce but the sandwich doesn’t need it.”
“Love the soup as a side dip for the meatball – great heat, rich but awesome.”

The Jive:
“The avocado spread and pepper mayo make this sandwich solid.”
“The tender turkey and crisp veggies are a good combination.”


frenchy, score: 4.4 // photo by izaiah johnson


Score: 3.4

Mississippi Nights Club:
“A bit much in terms of ingredients, but love the bacon in particular.”
“For the sauce averse, too saucy.”
“Love the chips, they give it a spicier note, which is nice against all the meats.”

The Veggie:
“Love a salad-as-sandwich.”
“Too sour and acidic, and too many bites feel like a wad of cream cheese.”
“A lot of cheese but balanced by vinegar and pickles, so it’s totally working.”

“It’s good, a little sweet.”
“Great take on a Reuben – love the flavor of the sauce and sauerkraut.”
“Really like all the corned beef – just a solid sandwich.”

Score: 3.3

Cold Smoked Salmon:
“Wish the bread was toasted. Cute sandwich version of a bagel and lox. Fish is fresh and good.”
“A bit too much going on. Let the salmon breathe!”

Dijon Don:
“Very mustard-y. Good tang from sweet pickles.”
“A little too sweet for my taste but the fillings play well together.”

Score: 3.2

South Austin Melt:
“I like that it’s pressed. Love the Boss sauce!”
“Solid turkey sandwich. Good texture, tangy Boss sauce gives good sweet/savory balance.”

“Very salty, but I like the sweetness from the pickles.”
“Standard Cuban-style sandwich. Not much to say – safe.”

“Love the mayo. Love the bread. Bacon is a little fatty sometimes… whatever.”
“Very good, standard BLT. Crispy bacon, good sauce.”


all up In your grill, score 4.2 // photo by izaiah johnson


Score: 3.0

Crustacean Nation:
“Fresh crab is great and a rare treat in St. Louis. Would have rated higher but the chips detract a little for me.”
“Generous with the seafood, not too mayo-y, like the crunch from the chips.”
“Solid seafood salad. Big chunks of shrimp.”

The Yogi:
“Big and messy but good flavors and textures. Very solid Italian sub.”
“I think this is my favorite so far. A classic Italian deli sandwich, but prosciutto makes it stand out. Well balanced, and I like the dressings.”
“Very saucy.”
“Too much mayo!”

Buffalo Soldier:
“Kind of one note, Buffalo sauce flavor. Too wet and mushy.”
“Liked the ingredients, pretty well-balanced though maybe a little sauce heavy. The chips ended up a bit of a dud for me – a bit lifeless.”
“Love the sauciness! Chicken is moist, bacon crispy. Love it!”

Upstream Dream:
“Salmon works so well with the bacon! Good mix of textures. Salty, smoky, very flavorful.”
“Like the salmon, bacon and red onion together with leafy greens – good balance, not too saucy.”

Score: 2.8

Fight Club:
“The blue cheese is subtle – it tasted like feta. Caramelized onion adds flavor without salt.”
“Couldn’t taste horseradish or blue cheese.”
“Love the blue cheese and beef combo.”

Score: 2.6

Lou York:
“Sweet and tangy.”
“Love the slaw and Boss sauce, but the sandwich falls apart.”
“Pastrami was much tougher than the bread.”

The Steak Out:
“The steak is way too chewy. But I like the sauciness.”
“I like the bite from the jalapeno. Dressing is a bit overpowering.”


taco del, score 4.2 // photo by izaiah johnson


Score: 2.4

The Helper:
“The mac and cheese is bland. Not enough chips.”
“I like the flavors but not as a sandwich.”

“Solid sandwich. I like the spicy meats with the chicken.”
“Like the combination of meats, but who wants a sandwich this wet?”

Score: 2.25

Italian Yardbird:
“Chicken is tender and juicy and mushrooms have good flavor, but overall sandwich lacks flavor.”
“A good enough sandwich, I like the flavors of the individual ingredients but don’t think it all quite hangs together, a bit off-balance. A bit too much garlic butter on the baguette.”
“I think it’s very, very rich. Buttery bread and bacon and Provel – too rich.”

Boy Howdee:
“I like all the different textures, but the flavor is too one-note.”
“Love the heat level, but it feels like it’s missing something acidic like onion or pickled jalapenos.”

Score: 2.0

Enzo Gorlomi:
“Too many fatty meats causing texture landmines. I do like the spicy flavors.”
“Love this, all the meat, the dressing, but loses a point for the fatty excess [on the meat].”
“It’s a no for me. The fat scares me; I cannot fully commit.”

“Just a pile of meat without enough bread to support it.”
“This combo of meats was a bit much for me. I did like the heavy pickle and sauciness. The sourdough is too weak of a bread choice for this meat and sauce – needs a sturdy hoagie.”

Score: 1.8

When Pigs Fly:
“Good textures with crunchy bacon and bread combined with soft pulled pork and sauces.”
“Buffalo sauce doesn’t have enough heat.”
“Promising flavor but ended up feeling like I ate a pizza topping after it slid off the base.”

The Gramophone, 4243 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.531.5700,