sammies, boozy slushies, and ideal al-fresco dining
by the Offline team
Eastcut Sandwich Bar 101
This sandwich shop isn’t your average grab-n-go lunch spot. Opened in 2018, Eastcut Sandwich Bar is a bit off the beaten path, but it’s a journey that’s definitely worth the 10-minute drive out of downtown. It’s a neighborhood spot with a full bar, sleek wood accents, metal signage, and a gorgeous garden patio that’s covered and heated so you can dine al-fresco, year-round. They’ve got a chef-driven menu and everything is homemade. Seriously, these guys roast their own meats, pull their own fresh mozzarella, and craft their own sauces EVERY. DAMN. DAY.
Eastcut was started by two Yankees who fell in love with Durham while studying at Duke. They were intent on staying but one major thing was missing: a solid sandwich (fellow Northern transplants can sympathize with the pain of a bad sub). So, they decided to take it upon themselves to bring Durhamites the craveable, affordable, and delicious sandwiches they so deserve.
But, in the spirit of “y’all means all,” Eastcut’s sammys aren’t strictly sandwiches from up North. Their menu is designed to speak to everyone’s individual regional traditions: there’s a Southern fried chicken breast (dipped in hot buffalo sauce) for locals, and an indulgent Cheese-Fry Steak Hero ($12) to satisfy homesick Philly Cheese Steak fans. Each sandwich is an elevated classic, honoring traditional eats, and putting a modern twist on them. Moreover, Eastcut is devoted to their chef-driven menu full of homemade food that’s affordable and accessible to all. Here, price does not equate to quality: you can snag a top-notch sandwich for under seven bucks.
They serve lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday and they’ve also got an additional little brunch menu on the weekends. Beyond their impressive lineup of salads, sandwiches, shareable, and sides, they’ve got a full bar that’s NOT to be overlooked (but more on that later). The menu is full of options that’ll satisfy all—including a menu for the kiddos, as well as veggie, vegan, and gluten-free options.
The space (two-thirds of which is outdoors) has got a hip, welcoming vibe, with just enough of that signature Durham sass to keep it feeling authentic. It’s great for groups, for upgrading your sad-desk lunch, a casual date night, or family affair. The garden patio has tons of seating and TVs along the walls for when there’s a big game on so feel free to grab some drinks and just hang. We wouldn’t be surprised if it became your new fave patio.
What to order
At a place that’s famous for their sandwiches, choosing and committing to just one can spark a heated internal debate. Heaven forbid you opt for Dagwood Turkey ($6.5+) just before someone at the next table gets served an enviable the Kimchi Ruben ($10+), which is made with gochujang marinated kraut—the horror!
Enter the Flight to Sandwichtopia ($18), here to solve just this very problem. This godsend lets you choose three sammys from a list of their nine most popular options. We’re gonna go ahead and jump to a pro-tip here and tell you now to make sure you include the Spicy Gabagool ($6.5+) in your three. The Buff Chick is another fan favorite, with everything (from the buffalo sauce to the pickles) made in house. It’s buttery, tangy goodness with a strong kick.
In true Bull City fashion, they’ve got all your fave local craft brews, plus wine, cocktails, and—drumroll, please—ADULT SLUSHIES. There’s always Frose ($6 for 8oz, $8 for 12 oz), while the liquor slush ($5 for 8oz, $7 for 12oz) rotates. Past flavors have included: Cherry Cola Bourbon, Prickly Pear Margarita, Orange Crush, and Peppermint Patty. But be warned, they’re all strong!
By far the most popular order here is the Mozz Sticks ($8.5)—and for good reason! Forget the sad, frozen mozzarella sticks of your youth. Eastcut makes their own mozzarella, then hand-breads and fries ‘em up to give you the crispy-on-the-outside, creamy-on-the-inside Mozerella Stick all other mozzarella sticks aspire to be. And don’t even get us started on the perfect cheese pulls you’ll get—they stretched longer than our arm span!
And coming up hot the heels of Mozz Sticks’ popularity are the Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($7.5). Admittedly, we didn’t get it until we tried them. It’s by far the most delicious way to get your greens here.
Lastly, the real regulars know the best deal on the menu is the Merry Meal ($13). Available exclusively to those 21+, this deal gives you a burger or Buff Chick, side, any $5 beer, and koozie—it’s perfect for wallet-conscious, hungry, and thirsty grown-ups who miss their Happy Meal days.
- They’ve got daily drink specials! Check their chalkboard inside for deets.
- Check out their daily food specials when you arrive, too. Here’s where chefs flex their creative muscles and dish out the unexpected. While their standard menu is primarily all-American, their specials get run the international gamut.
- They’ve got two regular events held in the garden:
- Bingo on the first Tuesday of the month and every round has a winner who gets rewarded with food—we like those odds!
- Trivia on the third Tuesday of the month with one major grand prize at the end. Bring your smarty-pants friends.
- If you want to take things up a notch, ask for the Buff Chick done “Nashville Hot.” It’ll get tossed in a spicy vinegar and hot dry rub that’ll leave some serious heat in the back of your mouth.
- The patio is dog-friendly.
- There’s plenty of parking out back should the front lot be full.
- Fun fact: Eastcut was previously Finch’s (a now-closed Raleigh institution that moved to Durham for a short stint) and prior to that it was a garden center. Once you see the garden patio, it’ll all make sense.
- Lastly, there is a signed photo of Brad Pitt (in all his 90s glory) in the bathroom. It just felt like shoddy journalism not to tell you about it.