This January, Uptown Hospitality Group’s beloved sandwich spot Bodega will host its first-annual “Best in Bread” sandwich competition, where nine restaurants from across the Lowcountry will compete for the title, including chefs from Brown Dog Deli, Circe’s Grotto, Indaco, Malika Canteen, Maya, Renzo, Rue de Jean, Slightly North of Broad and Storey Farms. Each week, three creative, crave-worthy sandwiches will go head-to-head, and attendees will cast their vote for their favorite to advance to a final showdown where they’ll have the chance to be named “Best in Bread.”
"While we won’t be competing, organizing Bodega’s ‘Best in Bread’ competition represents a long-awaited dream of mine as a way to bring together Charleston’s diverse F&B community for good food and a good cause,” says Uptown Hospitality Group executive chef Alec Gropman. “We’re looking forward to seeing how each chef brings their personality, experience and passion to create an amazing array of sandwiches for you to judge.”
The South’s best condiment, Duke’s Mayo, is Bodega’s premiere partner for the series, supporting each chef as they incorporate one of Duke’s famous mayonnaises or sauces into their sandwiches. Exclusive Duke’s Mayo and “Best in Bread” T-shirts will be available for purchase for those looking to further support the hospitality industry, as a portion of proceeds from all ticket and merchandise sales will benefit local nonprofit Pay It Forward, which supports members of the food & beverage community in times of crisis.
Each Monday from Jan. 9-23, Bodega will host a preliminary round where three sandwiches will compete during a ticketed tasting event. Attendees will receive a half-size portion of each sandwich and a ballot card to cast their votes. Then, on Feb. 6, winners from each round will showcase their sandwiches in a finale, with the most votes receiving a grand prize and the coveted title of “Best in Bread”—along with a chance to return and defend their title next year. Tickets, available HERE, are $25 for each event or available as a special $80 bundle for all four events. Hospitality workers are invited to email firstname.lastname@example.org with proof of employment for an even further discounted ticket bundle. Follow along on Instagram @eatdrinkbodega for results from each competition.
The full schedule of events is as follows:
First Preliminary Round, January 9
Brown Dog Deli: Chef Wes Denney
Indaco: Chef Josh Begley and Chef Mark Bolchoz
Rue De Jean: Chef Marcus Shell
Second Preliminary Round, January 16
Malika Canteen: Chef Maryam Ghaznavi
Maya: Chef Brett Riley
Storey Farms: Chef Forrest Hogsette
Third Preliminary Round, January 23
Circe’s Grotto: Chef Nick Stella
Renzo: Owner Nayda Freire and Chef Colin Marcelli
Slightly North of Broad: Chef Hunter Pugh
Finale, February 6
Finale party showdown at Share House
Uptown Hospitality Group is the vision of New York transplants Keith Benjamin, Kara Graves, Bryn Kelly, Brian Dodd, Kat Moore and chef Alec Gropman, all of whom bring their unique professional experiences working with a diverse portfolio of successful bars and restaurants to the venture. Bodega and Share House combine the group’s industry expertise with warm, Southern charm, and are located at 23 Ann St., Charleston, S.C. 29403. More information can be found at uptownhospitality.com.