Parents have been making it for years as a way to clear out overstuffed refrigerators post-Thanksgiving, but only recently have restaurants caught on. We’re talking, of course, about the leftover Thanksgiving sandwich.
We must give a nod to the amateur chefs who, probably worn down by whines of “turkey again?” while preparing dinners following Thanksgiving, discovered that shoving every bit of their leftovers between two pieces of bread actually tastes incredible, some may argue even better than the original meal itself.
But sometimes things don’t go to plan, and your leftovers aren’t as tempting as you would like. Mom left the turkey in the oven a little too long because she’s afraid it might carry Zika virus. Uncle Eddie mixed up the sugar and salt again when making the cranberry sauce. Dad likes his mashed potatoes to have one too many lumps in it.
Whatever the case, if your leftovers aren’t up to snuff, local restaurants throughout South Jersey have whipped up their own Thanksgiving-inspired turkey sandwiches that are sure to please. Here are a few of our favorites.
Kelsey and Kim’s Southern Café
Kelsey and Kim Jackson are the owners of several restaurants throughout South Jersey, which is a blessing, because the Jacksons cook up some mean soul food. Their cornbread stuffing is some of the best you can find, so we were clucking with joy when we found out it is incorporated into Kelsey and Kim’s Southern Café’s turkey sandwich. Cranberry sauce and mayo complete the package, which is wrapped in slices of wheat bread. Located at 201 Melrose Ave., Atlantic City. Go to KelseysAC.com.
Rose’s Garden Grill
The folks at Rose’s Garden Grill are anything but modest when talking about their Foghorn Leghorn sandwich, claiming they “started it all” when it comes to leftover turkey sandwiches. With 10 years serving this sandwich, they very well might have. The Foghorn Leghorn features cranberry and walnut ciabatta bread, which holds together the hand-plucked turkey, specialty stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and their jalapeño cranberry sauce, for a little kick. Located at 2605 New Road, Northfield. Go to RosesGardenGrill.com.
Sam’s Rialto Grill
If you have never had a bite of chef/owner Brenda Hunter’s homemade cornbread stuffing (and you likely have not, because sightings of it at her restaurant are as rare as Jersey Devil attacks) you need to rush over to Sam’s Rialto Grill for their take on the post-Turkey day treat. For a spot that is known for traditional soul food, this sandwich actually offers a bit of the unexpected. A deep fried turkey chop is served on a slightly sweet Hawaiian bun with horsey mayo, whole-berry cranberry sauce and, of course, that legendary stuffing. It’s available Nov. 24 through Christmas. Sam’s Rialto Grill is located at 18 S. Main St., Pleasantville. Go to EatSams.com.
Jon & Patty’s Coffee Bar & Bistro
At Jon & Patty’s Coffee Bar & Bistro it’s all about the bread when it comes to their Thanksgiving-inspired creation. The Harvest Turkey sandwich is made with fresh roasted turkey, cranberry sauce and homemade stuffing doused in gravy, all served on cranberry-nut bread, ensuring maximum autumnal flavors. Located at 637 Asbury Ave., Ocean City. Go to JonAndPattys.com.
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The turkey sandwich at the Sandwich Bar in Ocean City is likely to sell out quickly, so don’t sleep on it! The folks at Sandwich Bar layer old fashioned roasted turkey, Swiss cheese and fresh homemade cranberry sauce with a few spears of grilled asparagus and a bit of their incredible honey cup honey mustard. This sandwich hits the menu on Black Friday and will be offered until the ingredients are used up. Located at 955 Asbury Ave., Ocean City. Go to SandwichBarOC.com.
Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House
Just about everything that comes out of the kitchen at Vagabond Kitchen & Tap House is top notch, and its Thanksgiving sandwich is no exception. Vagabond specializes in bar food that always manages to have some kind of twist taking it to the next level. The secret to the Thanksgiving sandwich here is the cranberry sauce. Instead of going with the traditional home-style — or God forbid that gelatinous goop that takes the shape of the can it came out of — they infuse their version with a not-so-secret ingredient: Grand Marnier. The addition of this fancy pants French liqueur adds complexity and a hint of citrus to the flavor while boosting the whole thing to the level Vagabond sandwiches are known for. Vagabond Kitchen and Tap House is located at 672 N. Trenton Ave., Atlantic City. Go to VagabondAC.
Last year, Wingcraft’s post-Thanksgiving love letter consisted of an open-faced behemoth of a sandwich that absolutely required a knife and fork. This year’s version is even better. As far as structure is concerned, it skews a bit more traditional, fitting the monstrous stack of perfectly seasoned white meat turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberry sauce neatly between two of the most delicious pieces of grilled bread you are likely to eat this year. It’s buttery, it’s comforting and it’s one of the best things to come out of the kitchen at Wingcraft. Wingcraft is located at 2010 Baltic Ave., Atlantic City. Go to WingcraftAC.com.