PANAMA CITY BEACH — A sandwich is perfect for springtime, whether hanging out at a cafe or eating on the beach. But just because a sandwich is portable, it doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice any flavor.
Liza’s Kitchen on Thomas Drive has become a destination for its original creations by Chef Mike Meek, including the selection of specialty sandwiches — 10 cold and 18 hot, such as the popular Hot Turkey (turkey, bacon, Caesar and provolone on foccaccia).
Chef Mike goes big with his dishes and options, making this whimsical kid-friendly café a top choice for sandwiches in the area’s Best of Bay Contest. For the B.Y.O.S. (Build Your Own Sandwich or wrap) option, choose from five homemade breads, 10 meats, seven cheeses, 12 veggies and fruit and 13 spreads — from Pesto to Hot Sriracha. But before you branch out, you first must try the warm Hippie Chick with roasted chicken, goat cheese, spinach, roasted red pepper and spicy mayo on foccaccia.
Relax on the deck under brightly-colored umbrellas and enjoy the mild temperatures. Chef Mike’s wife, sommelier Cat Meek, also is known for hand-picking a great wine selection, as well as organic beer, sold at the café. Chef Mike is known for coming out of the kitchen to serve his heaping platters of culinary marvels, and their daughter, Liza, often can be spotted during Weekend Brunch.
If you are in Pier Park or hanging out by the City Pier, then you are in walking distance from Fatty’s Sandwich Shop. Located one mile east of Pier Park on Front Beach Road in Calypso Towers, Fatty’s is a mellow retreat heavy on flavor. You can take off your shades in the psychedelic dining area with hanging lanterns, surfboards and rock posters of Jim Morrison and Led Zeppelin. Regulars and tourists are greeted from behind the counter by owner Charlie, who recommends such specialties as the Midnight Toker — Boar’s Head roast beef, ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni, bacon and cheese with lettuce, tomato and honey mustard.
About $5 is all you need to fill up and satisfy cravings. You can create your own fatty, a Free 4 All, but if you are in a hurry, you just might want to skip decision making and go for a Whole Lotta Muffuletta, Itallion Stallion, Great Meaty Balls, Albuquerque, Workin’ Class Gyro or I’m Cuban. The Heart Stopper is filled with ham, turkey, salami, Muenster, jalapeño havarti, mayo and spicy mustard on a toasted hoagie.
Relax in the lounge area with a giant hand chair, coffee table and couches from a different era, then slip through the hanging beads to hit the restroom before you head back to the beach.
And if you just can’t make the walk, or drive, you even can get it delivered from the Fatty’s van painted with “PEACE”, suns and ’shrooms.
Wheelhouse Sandwich and Deli is a place you hear about, try and then wonder if you should keep the find only for yourself. The first time I stopped in happened to be on one of the two days they were serving the Meridian Sandwich — lucky me. The Meridian is available only on Mondays and Tuesdays, because the owners smoke the prime rib over the weekend. Warm smoked prime rib topped with mayo, horseradish, mozzarella, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion and pickles on soft bread is a mix of temperatures, textures and deliciousness. You can only talk about it so long before going back for another.
With seven specialty sandwiches and 12 designer subs, the chalkboard is filled with plenty of other choices to find your staple for other days of the week. Whether you go for the Cuban or the Reuben or decide to build your own, you will be glad you found this sandwich spot.
The family-run deli caters to the crowd from the nearby Navy Base during lunch, but being located in the Shell Plaza, it gets plenty of traffic from visitors and locals.
Fatty’s Sandwich Shop: 15900 Front Beach Road No. 105, in Calypso Towers in Panama City Beach. Details or delivery: (850) 249-1515 or FattySandwichShop.com.
Liza’s Kitchen: 7328 Thomas Dr., in Mirabella Square in Panama City Beach. Details: (850) 233-9000 or LoveLizas.com.
Wheelhouse Sandwich and Deli: 2907 Thomas Dr., in Panama City Beach. Details: (850) 249-3354.