Bacon-heavy St. Louis sandwich earns TV nod

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis’ famed Crown Candy Kitchen may be best-known for its thick malts, but the BLT sandwich is attracting national attention.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Travel Channel’s Adam Richman has picked Crown Candy’s “Heart-Stopping BLT” as a contender for the nation’s best sandwich. The program “Best Sandwich in America” will feature the St. Louis favorite in an episode airing 8 p.m. Wednesday.

The sandwich crams 14 pieces of bacon — at least — lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise between slices of toasted Wonder Bread. About 125 of the sandwiches are served to customers every day.

Crown Candy Kitchen co-owner Andy Karandzieff said on a typical day, the north St. Louis restaurant uses up to 200 pounds of bacon. They order the meat by the case, which is then “kettle fried” in vegetable oil, 10 pounds at a time. It’s a process so crucial that Karandzieff recently hired two new employees to make sure the bacon supply never runs low.

The bacon monster was born by accident, when employees began loading more bacon onto a sandwich that was intended to be filling, but not absurdly so.

“I can’t control my employees,” Karandzieff said. “They just piled it on.”

It’s Richman’s second visit to Crown Candy Kitchen. He took the “malt challenge” — five malts in 30 minutes — in 2008 for his “Man vs. Food” show. Richman made it through 41⁄2 before getting sick, failing to win a T-shirt and his name on Crown Candy Kitchen’s wall.

Karandzieff sent a BLT to Richman’s hotel room after the malt challenge, a sandwich Richman told the owner “may have saved his life.”

Karandzieff got a call from producers earlier this year, saying Richman wanted to return in March for the bracket-style sandwich competition.

Harry Karandzieff, Andy’s grandfather, opened Crown Candy Kitchen in 1913. Andy’s father, George, passed it down to his sons in 1991.

Crowds are out the door on most days, so Crown Candy Kitchen won’t have time to savor its second moment in the spotlight.

“I’ve got to work that night,” Karandzieff said.

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