I’m a sammie girl at heart, and a Brooklyn-bred, East Coast one at that. While I thrive on the incredible array of local food, there are times when my inner Tina Fey takes over and craves a stack of juicy meat, cheese and fixings on crusty bread. On days like these, nothing tames the hangry beast like a well-formed sandwich from EARL’s.
Eat A Real Lunch – That’s what the EARL in EARL: A Sandwich Experience in Kaimuki stands for. A fast casual sammie shop where nothing is too processed and almost everything is made in-house. Those who have been will attest to the savory, au jus-dripping goodness.
Justin Parvizimotlagh, owner and chef, hails from Baltimore, Maryland and brings legit East Coast sammies to the 808. With a visually pleasing and teasing Instagram feed (@earlkaimuki) as its main marketing tool, EARL’s has had a dedicated following since it opened three years ago. Parvizimotlagh says he wanted “a cool, genuine and inviting place. I want customers to say, ‘Oh man, I like that place.’”
Recipes are a product of lots of collaboration between Parvizimotlagh and his team. A self-taught chef, Parvizimotlagh uses all kinds of media and travel for his inspiration. The result is the flave that I crave — stone-cold yummy sammies that are hearty and full of soul.
I’ve tried nearly every item on his menu, but there are those that I keep on coming back for. Here are my top 5 EARL sammies:
A consistent fave, the French Dip ($12.50) just has so many things right with it. The striploin beef is medium rare, thinly sliced, tender and moist, the bread is mad crusty, and the garlicky mayo and herby chimichurri add a flavor punch in your face. Dip this beefy goodness in au jus and you will be ordering it over and over again.
The Beer Braised Brisket ($12) is the French Dip’s chubbier frat brother. I have nothing but cheesy love for this sammie, tho. EARL’s braises all their meat every day for hours. With horseradish mayo, house pickled onions and roasted green chilis, you almost don’t need the au jus … almost.
There are two appetizers available if you want something light and vegetarian. The Spicy Caprese ($7.25) is the perfect snack. Creamy mozzarella balances well with the lush local tomato, sweet reduced balsamic and bright spicy pesto. Sliced for bites, it’s easy to share.
The avocado toast ($7.25) is great for vegans and more than just insta-pretty. The avos are always evenly sliced at perfect firm ripeness and drizzled with balsamic reduction and chili flakes. Love the lemon zest on top.
The Italian ($14) is filled with every conceivable deli meat plus pulled pork and cheese. Order this when you are hangry and about to commit a crime. The cold mozzarella really goes well with the salty deli meats and vinegary pepperoncini.
Tip: Call in your order so you don’t have to pay for parking in the municipal lot. There’s some space to eat but it’s probably best to order out. They also cater!
EARL: A Sandwich Experience
1137 11th Ave.