Thursday, July 28, 2011

(Exceptional Eats: Earl of Sandwich)

It's very rare to find great-tasting, inexpensive food in Walt Disney World. Earl of Sandwich is one of the best exceptions. Located in the marketplace section of Downtown Disney, Earl of Sandwich is a franchise based out of Orlando, FL. Believe it or not, the Earl of Sandwich is a real person. The original was Edward Montagu, prominent naval commander of Sandwich, Kent. They called him Lord Sandwich - a name that I would happily answer to. (Since his name came before the lunch staple, it obviously didn't have the same connotation at the time).

So, Lord Sandwich went on to have a family, and down the line, we were given the 11th Earl of Sandwich, John Montagu. A British entrepreneur, politician and nobleman, John Montagu - along with his son Orlando and businessman Robert Earl - are directly responsible for the genius that is Earl of Sandwich. (John and Orlando Montagu are direct descendants of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who actually popularized the sandwich in Great Britain in the 18th century). If you haven't had one of these yet, I urge, even beg you to do so.  Best. Sandwich. Ever.

Before I continue drooling over how delectable these sandwiches are, take a look at the description of the restaurant from the Earl of Sandwich website:

In 1762, John Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich, had his hands full, literally. As First Sea Lord, he commanded the mighty British Navy, was a noted explorer, and also a dedicated gambler with a love of day long card games. This led to little time for food, so he came up with the ingenious idea (some say at the card table) of putting meat between two slices of bread. From then on it did not matter if you were fighting a great sea battle or laying down a Royal Flush, you could eat great food without too much fuss. Thus in 1762, the Sandwich was named after its inventor, John Montagu, the 4th Earl of Sandwich. Now 250 years later, the current 11th Earl and the Sandwich family remain passionate about the world’s most popular quick food that carries their name and have developed the sandwich everyone has been waiting for…
The World’s Greatest Hot Sandwich®

The hot sandwiches are drool-worthy.
I'd say they have something there with the World's greatest hot sandwich. Cast members of Earl of Sandwich work assembly-line-style. The restaurant is usually quite crowded - don't be discouraged, the line does move quickly. While you are standing in line however, please look at the menu and decide what you want in advance. The staff of Earl of Sandwich try to keep things moving as quickly and smoothly as possible, and it's the worst when someone hems and haws over what to order when they get to the register. Don't be that guy. Hungry vacationers can't stand that guy.

The obligatory chow-down shot 

The Earl of Sandwich does serve breakfast, but tends to be the most crowded for lunch and dinner. They offer some great looking salads and cold wraps, but I've never tried them since I'm so in love with one particular menu item. I love to try new things, but have a very hard time not ordering my Hawaiian BBQ sandwich. Served on a freshly toasted Artesian loaf, my beloved sandwich consists of roasted ham, grilled chicken, Hawaiian BBQ sauce, aged Swiss and fresh pineapple. One bite and I am in sandwich Heaven. This is coming from someone who doesn't enjoy eating too much meat. The BBQ and the pineapple are so flavorful, the bread so warm and crispy, there's just no beating it. J loves the Full Montagu: roast beef and turkey with sharp cheddar & Swiss, romaine, roma tomato and mustard sauce. He also loves ordering the Earl's Grey Lemonade: fresh lemonade infused with Earl Grey tea (kind of the British version of the Arnold Palmer). I find it to be a bit strong, but if you love tea, you'll probably love this. The drink is certainly very refreshing. Oh, and I almost forgot the most amazing part - each sandwich is only $5.99! Take a look at the full menu here.

With regards to seating: sometimes the uber-crowded dining room can make it hard to find a seat. Don't panic, you will find one eventually. Most people are very courteous and will alert a waiting diner to their empty table once they are done eating. If you are finished with your table, I recommend directing someone looking for a table your way. It helps out a fellow Disney vacationer, and will make you feel that you have done something nice (which always puts a smile on my face). If the dining room is just too crowded for you, there is always seating outside!  

So, it's clear that I may have a mild obsession with this restaurant. I would recommend it to anyone who likes a hot, freshly-made sandwich, or simply to anyone who is hungry. I would love to hear your opinions on the restaurant! Do you have a favorite sandwich, or maybe a not so stellar experience with the Earl? Leave it in the comments (and please email me your chow-down photos!)  Before I go, I will leave you with one last look at the Holy Grail of yummy...

It's a beautiful thing.

Happy Sandwiching!


  1. sandwich in Disney !!

  2. My favorite is the Full Montagu too!

  3. UPDATE - the Philadelphia airport has an Earl of Sandwich! Unfortunately, they did not offer my Hawaiian BBQ :( Guess that Disney visit is necessary!