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A Sandwich a Day: Chivito from Fast Gourmet Inside a D.C. Gas Station
In this great city of ours, one could eat a different sandwich every day of the year—so that's what we'll do. Here's A Sandwich a Day, our daily look at sandwiches around New York. Got a sandwich we should check out? Let us know. —The Mgmt.
How often do you eat something at a gas station, then feel compelled to gush about it all weekend to friends? Hm, us either. Until trying the Chivito sandwich at the Lowest Price gas station on 14th and W Streets in Washington D.C. At any given time, there are easily more people here for the sandwiches inside the attached Fast Gourmet than for the petrol outside.
This sandwich is also probably the most expensive thing you'll buy at a gas station that's not gas. The Chivito is $13, but includes the following (get ready): beef tenderloin, slices of black forest ham, bacon, green olives, melted mozzarella, a hard-boiled egg, lettuce, tomato, house-made (gas-station-made?) escabeche (comprised of red peppers, onion, and garlic in olive oil), and a swipe of creamy mayo. All that is somehow contained between two flat grilled halves of a roll, which has a soft doughy-ness reminiscent of Pillsbury crescent rolls. Also, that roll was baked there—can you remember the last time you went to a gas station with bread-baking ovens?
Fast Gourmet opened in October of 2010 by two brothers who were used to seeing gas stations all over South America with really good food. They were curious how the D.C. locals would feel about this unexpected partnership, but so far customers seem to dig the sandwiches (the Cuban is also a hit) and the "sketchy" element, said one of the employees. Especially the post-barhopping crowd at 2 a.m. (Fast Gourmet is open until 5 a.m. on weekends) that form lines snaking out the door.
Be prepared to wait a bit. Making one of these sandwiches to order takes longer than buying a Slim Jim, but the Chivito is worth it: beefy, salty, cheesy, warm, and a little bit of I'm-not-sure-what-I-just-ate-but-it-was-awesome. And if the sandwich is somehow not filling enough, it also comes with a side of fries.
1400 W St NW, Washington DC (map); 202-448-9217