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Happy National Sandwich Day! I’ve always loved sandwiches more than burgers (don’t @ me), and in honor of this foodie holiday, I rounded up a few of my favorite ones.

Meat ballin’

Earl Kakaako’s (400 Keawe St.) wagyu meatball sandwich ($16) is a monthly special. This footlong features a ciabatta baguette filled with pork and wagyu beef meatballs, San Marzano marinara, Parmesan, mozzarella, provolone and fresh basil. The shop imports the San Marzano tomato sauce specifically for this sandwich and the meatballs boast a 2-to-1 beef-to-pork ratio for added fat and flavor. When these sandwiches are featured as a weekend special, get them early — Earl usually sells out by Sunday. Learn more at

Italian stallion

The hoagie Italian ($17) — comprising salami, mortadella, soppressata, mayo, mustard, lettuce, tomato and pepperoncini — is one of the most popular sandwiches at Ili Ili Cash & Carry (2065 S. Beretania St.), according to business partner Alejandro Briceno.

“It’s a classic Italian sandwich; everybody knows it,” he says. “That’s the sandwich I miss most from New York.”

Keep an eye out for seasonal specials like the Eleanor ($18), a hoagie stuffed with roasted turkey, mayo, cranberry sauce and stuffing. Learn more at

The big cheese

Honolulu Bistro, located within Ohana Hale Marketplace (333 Ward Ave.), is known for its pastrami melt ($12.50), which comes with mozzarella cheese, lean pastrami sliced thin, and caramelized onions with housemade special sauce for dipping and Kosher dill pickles on the side. My fave sandwich is the pesto ($8.50), a melted medley of mozzarella cheese, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes and pesto.

Pro tip: Make your sandwich extra cheesy for $2 more. Stay updated with the eatery at

Kelli Shiroma Braiotta’s column features a variety of tips and insider knowledge about Oahu’s dining scene. Follow Kelli on Instagram (@kellishiromabraiotta).

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