What Is a Sandwich Bar?

A sandwich with deli meat and cheese.
Sandwich made with ciabatta bread, ham, lettuce, Swiss cheese, and tomatoes.
Bread for sandwiches.
A bottle of water from a sandwich bar.
A woman eating a sandwich.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 27 July 2014
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A sandwich bar is a type of restaurant that focuses on a menu primarily of items appropriate for the creation of different types of sandwiches. There are several different ways to structure this type of restaurant, with some owners opting for a dine-in experience while others focus primarily on setting up as a take-away food shop. Typically, customers have the option of ordering one of the sandwiches offered on the menu, with the ability to add various toppings as desired. An alternative approach to setting up the sandwich bar is to provide a buffet with various sandwich ingredients along with some side items, allowing customers to prepare their own sandwiches exactly to their liking.


One of the benefits of a sandwich bar is that customers are normally able to enjoy the same speed of service offered by fast food restaurants while having more control over the fat and carbohydrate content of the meal. For example, if the restaurant is structured as a buffet, the customer can choose to go with whole-grain breads that are typically better options in terms of fiber and complex carbohydrates for diabetics, lean meats with relatively little fat, and a range of vegetable toppings and condiments that are considered relative healthy options. Many sandwich bar configurations will also include options like low-fat potato salad, vegetable chips or coleslaw made with oil and vinegar. When coupled with water or some type of unsweetened tea, the end result can be a meal that is relatively low in calories and fat but still tasty and filling.

With a sandwich bar that focuses primarily on takeout or take-away services, there is usually a minimum of seating in the establishment. The main focus is a cafeteria style line that allows customers to choose a basic sandwich from a preplanned menu, then customize the sandwich by informing the server which toppings and condiments are desired. It is not unusual for bars of this type to offer sandwiches with a choice of different breads, toasted or untoasted, and a small line of side items such as chips to go with the meal. For beverages, customers can usually choose from a selection of fountain or bottled sodas, tea, and bottled water to go with the meal.

In many nations, there are a number of sandwich bar options available. These include national and international chains that offer a set menu or restaurant model that is utilized uniformly by all franchises as well as any restaurants that are directly owned and managed by the chain. There are also a number of locally owned sandwich shops that could easily be classed as sandwich bars, owing to the menu selections and the focus on sandwiches as the main item on the menu. Relatively inexpensive, opting for this type of mealtime fare is often a good choice for anyone who is attempting to cut back on calorie or carbohydrate content but still enjoy a nutritious meal without preparing something at home.


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