Nick Rallo

Sandwich Hag

Sandwich Hag is the little bánh mì shop that could. Its tiny building, which dates from 1964, has just a walk-up window for ordering and a couple of picnic tables under a shaded canopy. Inside, a tiny staff led by chef Reyna Duong assembles perfect sandwiches built around pork, sausage patties or ginger tofu. Earlier this year, we recognized Sandwich Hag for the seriousness with which it takes coronavirus safety; during the pandemic, ordering is online only and, when your sandwich is ready, the employee at the window will place it on the ledge and then close the window before you approach.

Top pick: Choosing a favorite bánh mì is a bit like taking a personality test, but when the price of lemongrass rocketed upward due to the pandemic, Duong improvised a minor miracle of a new item in the form of a grilled pork shoulder sandwich with so much garlic -- fried and in the sauce -- that your mouth will taste good for hours afterward.

Fun fact: Sandwich Hag is a local leader in advocating for the employment of people with disabilities. Duong’s brother Sang has Down syndrome and works at the restaurant; she calls him “the hardest worker I have.”