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When he’s high (or, honestly, even when he’s sober), Kip Wilson loves nothing more than biting into a big, meaty sandwich. If he’s really got the munchies, he’ll eat the whole sub in one go, but he also likes to eat half for lunch and save the other half for later.
Wilson—who co-hosts the popular Stoned Appétit, a podcast featuring self-professed stoners interviewing guests about food, booze, weed, and more—has eaten his fair share of sandwiches from Denver restaurants and eateries, so we asked him to share a few of his favorites. For him, a great sandwich meets three main criteria: It’s affordable (relatively speaking), the bread is sturdy and has integrity, and it’s piled high with meat.
When it comes to ordering, he likes to first evaluate a restaurant’s Italian sandwich. Then, if he’s impressed, he may come back and order something else on the menu. “I’ve tried just about every damn Italian sandwich in the city,” says Wilson.
Wilson always orders sides with his sandwiches. His favorites? Spicy chips and Italian pasta salad. And to drink, Wilson tends to grab a soda or a Gatorade. “It’s not necessarily a beer dish,” he says. “And while I may drink a lot, there’s no reason to be cracking an IPA for the sake of it when you’re eating this heavy, bread sandwich.”
Wilson, who is 36, started the podcast back in 2018 as a fun side project while working full-time in technology sales. In March 2022, he quit his day job to focus more on Stoned Appétit; he also recently became the life and leisure correspondent for Mile High Life, an offshoot of Mile High Sports. “I get to talk about food and goof off and be myself,” he says. “Quite literally, I’ve been living the dream for the last year and change.”
Stoned Appétit continues to reach new listeners, thanks in part to new events like a cannabis-paired formal dinner series that Wilson and podcast co-host Chris Byard launched last year. So far, they’ve collaborated with Denver chefs like Penelope Wong, Merlin Verrier, and Long Nguyen. “We try to show that cannabis can be seen the same way as wine,” Wilson says.
Looking for your next 4/20 snack (or, you know, just lunch)? In no particular order, here are the best sandwiches in Denver, according to Wilson.
The Uncle Greg Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak
Where to get it: Little Arthur’s Hoagies, various locations, though popping up regularly at Sunny’s right now, 2339 W. 44th Ave.
What’s on it: Ground chicken thighs, fried onions, American cheese, Little Arthur’s “spicy smooth” Buffalo sauce, “funky chunky” blue cheese dressing, and chives, all served atop a sesame semolina roll.
Why: “I know Buffalo chicken is not the traditional Philly [cheesesteak], but I’m not from Philly, so I don’t give a s***,” says Wilson. “It’s so good, I literally think about it on a regular basis. The bread has a little texture and oomph on the outside, and it holds the integrity of the sandwich beautifully.”
Where to get it: Antojitos La Poblanita, inside Federal Mexicana Mall, 2970 W. Barberry Pl.
What’s on it: Breaded beef, ham, Oaxacan cheese, avocado, salsa, and papalo (a cilantro-esque Mexican herb) on a sesame roll.
Why: “The cemita poblana is heavenly,” Wilson says. “You will definitely be walking away full and happy.”
Carmine’s Italian Combo
Where to get it: Carmine Lonardo’s, 7585 W Florida Ave., Lakewood
What’s on it: Capocollo, salami, pepperoni, ham, and provolone. Follow Wilson’s lead and order yours with extra peppers.
Why: “I just fell in love with it,” Wilson says. “The sandwiches are the size of your leg; they remind you of a party platter. They have hot sandwiches as well—with meatballs and Italian sausage—that are also delicious.”
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Where to get it: What A Sub, 5680 Greenwood Plaza Blvd., Unit 120, Greenwood Village (no website, call 303-694-6920)
What’s on it: Breaded chicken breast, ham, and melted cheddar and Swiss cheese on a wheat or white roll. Wilson also recommends asking for the “Stoned Appétit special,” which is the Italian sandwich with extra jalapeños.
Why: “If you’re working in the DTC, this place is a gem that you have to check out,” says Wilson. “Every single sandwich is $9 and under. It feels like it’s 2012 in there in all the best ways.”
Focaccia & Mozzarella
Where to get it: Leven Deli, 123 W. 12th Ave.
What’s on it: Mozzarella, roasted tomato pesto, and arugula on sea salt and rosemary focaccia.
Why: “A lot of times I’ll just go there for the bread itself, but this sandwich is my favorite,” Wilson says. “You can add meat to it as well, like prosciutto … But realistically, you don’t have to because it’s that good.”
Where to get it: Tortas ATM, 3143 W. 38th Ave.
What’s on it: Carne asada, al pastor, cheese, avocado, chipotle, tomato, and onion.
Why: “The bread has this sweetness that is so damn good, and the sandwich doesn’t break the bank,” Wilson says.
Saigon French Dip
Where to get it: Pony Up, 1808 Blake St.
What’s on it: Garlic pork, cilantro, basil, jalapeño, and spicy mayo on toasted ciabatta; served with pho broth.
Why: “Pony Up’s bread is possibly the best sandwich bread in Denver,” Wilson says. “They cook it properly, put a little butter on it so there’s a crunch on the outside but it’s so soft on the inside that it doesn’t cut the roof of your mouth—the purists out there who love some good sammies, they know what I’m talking about.”
Where to get it: Cuba Bakery & Cafe, 15028 E. Mississippi Ave., Aurora
What’s on it: Ham, roasted pork, pickles, mustard, and Swiss cheese.
Why: “These are dank-ass sandwiches in a strip mall,” Wilson says. “They also have a hot bar, so you may go in for a Cuban sandwich and end up leaving with beef ribs or oxtail.”
Where to get it: Gates Deli & Grog, 1875 S. Pearl St.
What’s on it: Pepperoni, Genoa salami, ham, Italian prosciutto, shredded lettuce, Italian vinaigrette, tomatoes, sunflower seed basil pesto, and fresh mozzarella served on ciabatta.
Why: “The Italian sandwich has to be done properly for you to have a fighting chance in the sandwich industry,” Wilson says. “The reason I love this sandwich is they have a sunflower pesto that’s fantastic. It’s got fresh cheese, it’s piled high with meats, you get those premium, nice, cured salty meats. And then, heavens, that pesto. I dream about it, I’m not kidding.”
Corned Beef and Pastrami Combo
Where to get it: The Bagel Deli and Restaurant, 6439 E. Hampden Ave.
What’s on it: Hot corned beef, pastrami, and Swiss cheese (Wilson likes to doctor his up with a little yellow or brown mustard).
Why: “The meat is piled high and it’s like having two sandwiches—that’s what hits, but it’s also a nostalgic sandwich,” he says. “There’s a hustle and bustle there, and the customer service is second to none. You just get this corned beef piled high to your face. You have to lean over it to see your partner on the other side of the table. Everybody in this day and age is trying to make some upscale, fancy version of stuff—just church stuff up—but something like the corned beef and pastrami, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it. Don’t [insert expletive] with what works.”
Where to get it: Vinh Xuong Bakery, 2370 W. Alameda Ave.
What’s on it: Your choice of grilled pork, barbecue pork, spicy avocado, ham, meatball, roast chicken, tofu, or combination pork with various toppings.
Why: “It’s the best banh mi you can get in Denver,” Wilson says. “Not only do you get an unbelievably great bang for your buck (it’s less than $10), but they have great bread.”
Severino Grande or Roman Fiesta
Where to get it: Lou’s Italian Specialties, 3357 N. Downing St.
What’s on it: The Severino Grande has hot soppressata, Italian prosciutto, hot coppa, mortadella, provolone, lettuce, and giardiniera, while the Roman Fiesta features Genoa salami, pepperoni, ham, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, mixed greens, olive oil, and balsamic.
Why: “While these might be a higher price point out the door, these are definitely two-fers,” Wilson says. “You eat half when you can and then you eat the second half after you smoke, so it’s perfect. It covers your bases for munchies. It’s not cheap ($13–$15) and it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s a big undertaking if you’re going to call that your lunch, but it’s delicious.”
Where to get it: Il Porcellino Salumi, 4324 W. 41st Ave.
What’s on it: Capocollo, soppressata, Berkeley ham, aïoli, pickled peppers, local greens, and red wine vinaigrette served on a ciabatta roll.
Why: “It’s just loaded to the gills with meat,” he says. “When you go into a place and see meat hanging everywhere, you know the sandwich is going to hit so hard. It’s just piled high with cured salty, artisanal meats. The meat is delicious. It’s a real solid location.”