Sandwich Circus

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The area just south of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way is lively at almost all hours of the day, but it really comes alive weekday afternoons when the sidewalks fill with students seeking to satisfy the hunger they accrued while in class.

Restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world — like pasta from Gypsy’s Trattoria Italiano or Indian curry from House of Curries — present a whole host of options, but the most common one may seem plain by comparison: the sandwich.

Sandwich shops have a prolific presence on Telegraph — with two Subway stores literally across the street from each other — and Durant Avenue, serving everything from traditional deli sandwiches to cheesesteaks to Greek flatbreads.

There’s a sandwich to suit any taste.

Cheese ‘n’ Stuff, the elder statesman of the shops, has been selling deli sandwiches next to the Unit 3 residence halls since 1986. Owner Sam Juha said the area has changed over the years, including the opening of more sandwich shops.

“There used to be a variety of things on (Telegraph), shoe stores, a travel agency, a hardware store, women’s clothing stores. Now it’s almost all restaurants,” he said. “We have to compete a little bit, but prices are still good.”

A deluxe Cheese ‘n’ Stuff sandwich piled high with zesty pepper turkey, cheddar cheese and fresh veggies costs a little under four dollars and should satisfy even the hungriest dorm dweller.

The Toaster Oven, a San Francisco chain, opened up on Telegraph in January, offering toasted subs that can be topped with their out-of-this-world house-prepared peppers.

Despite the fact that most of their sandwiches are topped with deli meats much like the ones at Cheese ‘n’ Stuff, the style of sandwich is different enough to attract diners.

“We’ve developed a lot of loyal customers who eat here every day and love the place,” said manager Nicholas Davidson.

Although the meatball sandwich at Toaster Oven costs the same as and is a little smaller than the one at Subway across the street, the savvy sandwich fan will appreciate that the meatballs taste fresh and match up perfectly with the peppers.

Another new chain, The Melt, will be opening up on Telegraph and Channing Way sometime before the fall semester.

The Melt features high-end grilled cheese sandwiches. Chief Marketing Officer Paul Coletta said management isn’t worried about sandwich saturation in the area because of the quality of the food they serve.

“We understand that the Berkeley customer appreciates good food, and that’s the experience we try to deliver,” Coletta said.

Unlike most of the area sandwich shops, Coletta said The Melt will serve students breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even offer beer and champagne to those old enough to purchase it.