- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Did you think bread was out for good in this era of the Atkins diet and its spinoffs? Certainly not, say they people behind Coggins’ Sandwich Manufactory in Foggy Bottom.

This newly opened sandwich shop features 10 types of sandwiches, six soups and six salads, all very kind to the wallet. The most expensive item on the menu — a salad — is $5.49.

Then again, the portions are small. One guy said he needed three sandwiches, which run $3.99 each, to fill up. The sandwiches are six inches long and three inches wide — much like their counterparts at other shops — but the filling, while mostly quite tasty, tends to be a little sparse.

Served on oven-baked French bread, the sandwiches come with a wide range of ingredients, from tuna to marshmallow (not on the same sandwich). Some combine as many as eight ingredients, such as the Guido, a meat-lover’s delight, while others sport four, such as the Fluffanutter. The flavor combinations can be very successful, as in the Guido, and not so, as in the Fluffanutter.

But the first place for bad flavor combination goes to the Brawny Beef sandwich. It consists of roast beef, caramelized onions, portobello mushrooms, horseradish mayonnaise, cheese and garlic. It’s too rich and the flavors are too conflicting — horseradish and garlic? Overall, the flavored mayo favored at Coggins’ should be dropped. It’s too rich and not very original.

And the Tunacado tries to be more than just a tuna salad sandwich, combining tuna salad with pepper dressing, avocado and tomatoes. But there is no dressing up in the world that can disguise the flavor of tuna from a can.

The tastiest sandwich is the Memphis Morrie’s Pulled Pork, which includes spicy, barbecued pulled pork, pepper jack cheese and slaw. The meat is tender and nicely seasoned and the slaw is tasty. Since the sandwich is prepared on the spot, the juiciness of the ingredients never has a chance to saturate the bread, which stays nice and firm.

The Guido, which consists of capiolla, salami, mortadella, pepperoni, provolone, fresh basil, pepperoncini and roasted garlic mayo, is also a good choice.

The salads are fresh, but not very original. They include Greek, Thai chicken and Caesar. The soups are OK and the sides, which include red-skin potato salad, slaw and kettle-boiled potato chips, are adequate.

Also featured are fresh-baked, very tasty cookies and brownies, incredibly sweet smoothies and frappes and a selection of strong coffees.

The interior surrounds the cog and has an industrial look that features distressed woods, forged metals and utilitarian furniture, with 1920s ragtime music flowing from the speakers.

The shop is a first, for the owners intend to expand and a second eatery is planned for Fairfax Town Center in Virginia. It is expected to open in November. Others are to follow.

With the George Washington University campus so close, the clientele is almost 100 percent collegiate. If the rush during a recent Thursday evening is any indication, Coggins’ is headed for success, overcoming the Atkins challenge and ample competition.

Does it deserve it? Well, the industrial look is cute, the quality control good, the prices low, the service adequate and the sandwiches pretty good. So, the answer would have to be — probably.

RESTAURANT: Coggins’ Sandwich Manufactory, 616 23rd St. NW

HOURS: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day

PRICES: Sandwiches $3.99; salads $4.29 to $5.49; soups $2.59, sides 89 cents to 99 cents; desserts 89 cents to $2.39.

CREDIT CARDS: All major cards accepted

PARKING: Street parking

METRO STOP: Foggy Bottom

ACCESS: Wheelchair accessible

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