Best of Kent: Best Sandwich

Dylan Reynolds

First PlaceFranklin Square Deli

There are a lot of new restaurants in Kent, but the city’s best sandwich shop is a longstanding deli on the corner of Main and Water Street.

“We’ve been serving here for 35 years and we really take a lot of pride in the sandwiches and soups we put out,” said Carl Picelle, the owner of Franklin Square Deli.

Picelle founded Franklin Square in 1983, and he’s seen three generations of customers pass through for sandwiches that “taste good and look unbelievable.” While the restaurant has been a longtime community favorite, it also sees its fair share of students looking for a high-quality lunch.

The menu boasts 40 unique sandwiches ranging from classic Italian submarines to jumbo bagel sandwiches. One of the best sellers is the cuban- ham, pork roast, salami, swiss, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and onion on a baked ciabatta roll.

Another bestseller, Carl’s Favorite Bagel (named after Picelle) comes loaded with capicola, provolone, cream cheese and onion on an “everything” bagel.

In addition to the food, Picelle attributes the deli’s success to his staff, who create a welcoming, family-friendly atmosphere and treat all customers with respect.

That atmosphere starts with the long counter where customers place their orders and watch their food being prepared. Then there’s the motorsport-themed decorations, which contribute to Picelle’s vision of a “light casual” dining experience.

Second PlaceTwisted Meltz

To the uninitiated customer, Twisted Meltz’ menu may look like a hodgepodge of weird sandwiches named after celebrities.

But experienced patrons know each item is a thoughtfully-crafted grilled cheese made with a famous Kent alumnus in mind. Like the popular James Harrison, made with 100% angus beef, hickory bacon, beer battered onion rings, caramelized onions, white American cheese, cheddar, barbecue sauce and mayonnaise.

Some sandwiches represent their namesakes in name only, but others are more meaningful.

“The Dick Goddard — he is a huge animal advocate — so we went with a (vegetarian) black bean burger for him,” said Steve Tannous, co-owner of the restaurant. “The Joe Walsh — “Hotel California” is his top song — so we went with more of a California-style grilled cheese.”

Tannous said Twisted Meltz is in the process of redoing the menu, and grilled cheese fans can expect to see four new sandwiches in the coming weeks.

Third PlaceDave’s Cosmic Subs

Dave’s Cosmic Subs proudly flies the flag of the counterculture, describing itself as “the Woodstock of the sub world.”

The restaurant’s signature item is the aptly named “The Original Dave’s Cosmic Sub”- pepperoni, genoa salami, prosciutto, lettuce, tomatoes, sliced banana peppers, onions, fresh garlic, herbs, and provolone cheese, smothered with Dave’s Cosmic Sauce.

The Kent location is currently closed for remodeling, but customers may consider traveling to one of the other Dave’s Cosmic Subs scattered across northeast Ohio.

Dylan Reynolds is a feature writer. Contact him at [email protected]