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Sandwich contest draws 250 in the city

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About 250 people turned out for Fredericksburg’s inaugural Sandwich Invitational, a competition to determine who serves the best sandwich in town.

The showdown was at Hurkamp Park in downtown Fredericksburg Thursday evening, where the temperature was just right—70-something degrees and just enough sun.

For about two hours, people wandered from tent to tent sampling different sandwiches, from burgers, to roasted pork belly to a spin on the classic peanut-butter-and jelly.

Everyone had the chance to try each dish, plus a few bonus offerings. Each person also got a vote—for their favorite sandwich.

The two winners were announced at the end of the evening by Karen Hedelt, the director of economic development and tourism for Fredericksburg.

The winner for the judges choice award was Foode.

Joe Duplan, one of Foode’s sous chefs, was at the event to prepare the entry. It was a chili-rubbed short rib with espresso aioli and arugula on a brioche roll. It was served with a ginger-basil lemonade.

Duplan said the dish selected for the competition was the winner of an internal competition at Foode. He said the employees voted and Joy, the chef of the restaurant, won.

The aioli was made from espresso from Hyperion.

He said the coffee and chili flavors pair together well.

Foode won a $750 check.

The people’s choice winner was Sprelly, a gourmet nut butter business opening an eatery in October.

Sprelly, run by local entrepreneur Adrian Silversmith, entered what was called “Maui Wowi.”

It was a sandwich made with an almond/cashew/coconut triple blend butter, an “aloha jam” of pineapple and coconut, Virginia smoked ham and provolone cheese.

Silversmith said it was a mash-up of Hawaiian pizza and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Sprelly won a $500 prize.

Three honorable mention winners were also named.

Those were:

Capital Ale House, with hickory smoked salmon, Hanover tomato, Virginia cucumber, pickled onion, chive and dill cream cheese on a hickory and pecan smoked egg bagel, paired with either cucumber mint water or cucumber mint limeade

Brock’s Riverside Grill, with “The Italian Job”, which was an Italian sandwich, on ciabatta bread, olive oil, herbs, ham, salami, prosciutto, banana peppers, tomato, onion, fresh mozzarella, and basil

Lizz Creative Juices entered a Mexican wrap in a collard leaf, with nut-based meat, seasoned with carrot and Mexican seasonings, and raw vegan nacho cheese and tropical salsa.

The other entrants to the competition were Bistro Bethem, 25 30 Espresso, Eileen’s Cafe and Bakery, J. Brian’s Tap Room, Kenmore Inn, Mason Dixon Cafe, and The Bavarian Chef.

Three judges tried each restaurant’s entry before selecting a winner.

The judges were Bob Whittingham, the owner of Whittingham and The Kitchen at Whittingham in downtown Fredericksburg; Chef Ricardo Willis, a chef instructor at Stratford University Falls Church; and Aaron Spicer, a professional photographer who covers the food scene for Northern Virginia Magazine.

This was the first time the event was held. It’s a kick-off to the city’s Summer Restaurant Week, which begins today and runs through Aug. 10. For a full list of participating restaurants, go to

Robyn Sidersky 540/374-5413


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