The Gramophone Experience Summary
Gramophone was the latest stop on my tour of St. Louis sandwiches.
The pub vibe is intense, and you feel it when you walk in.
You can taste the music.
The Gramophone was originally a music venue that made sandwiches, but the sandwiches won.
About those sandwiches. Honestly, it was my least favorite sandwich so far.
I feel bad typing that.
It's not a "bad" sandwich - still better than Subway. It just felt like it was being pretentious or post-modern like it was a sandwich that knew it was a sandwich.
And at over $18 after tip, this is the most expensive sandwich I've had thus far.
Nothing on the menu really stood out to me as being particularly noteworthy. With bacon here and special sauce there, every sandwich blended together.
So I went with the most upvoted sandwich on Yelp - The Mississippi Nights.
The sandwich was fun, but it cheated on taste. When you put crispy bacon and spicy mayo on a sandwich, the meat doesn't matter.
And that was true for the turkey half of the sandwich. The turkey from Costco would have been similar.
To be fair, the roast beef half of the Mississippi Night could have stood alone without the bacon. I would go full roast beast next time.
Maybe it's my old man baby-tongue, but I prefer a sandwich like Carl's where you just get more pastrami than you can fit in your face.
The Food At The Gramophone
As I mentioned above, all 40 sandwiches on the Gramophone menu looked the same to me.
I got the Mississippi Nights Club sandwich as it held the top two recommended sandwich spots on Yelp, would let me try the turkey and roast beef, and represents a drunk sandwich well.
A drunk sandwich is heavy, with bacon and sauce, such that you'll enjoy it when you're drunk at 11 p.m.. The meat, other than the bacon, is a relative afterthought.
The Mississippi Nights Club ended up being essentially two sandwiches, depending on whether a bite had turkey or roast beef.
The turkey side was a 4. The roast beef was a 8. The turkey sandwich plus the roast beef netted a 6.7 with sauce and bacon all in.
Subway is a 5 for baseline.
When you cheat and put bacon and spicy mayo on anything, it's gonna taste "good."
An aside into my gripe with bacon
Bacon makes everything taste better.
The same goes for avocado.
Avocado is the bacon of the vegetable world, and bacon is the bacon of the bacon world. There's no way a sandwich with bacon will taste bad, but it's a cheat code.
If you put bacon on a Subway sub - for example, add bacon to the Italian BMT - it will be better, just because it tastes like bacon.
If I put bacon on IMO's, I could probably stomach it.
The bacon doesn't make the underlying sandwich good. I'll rant about this in more detail later.
Back to the Mississippi Nights
I'll evaluate both sides of the sandwich sans bacon before returning to the bacon.
The turkey side wasn't very good. The turkey was dry and bland. On the rare occasion when I got a bite with just turkey, it tasted like Costco.
Flipside, the roast beef side was very solid with a strong, standalone flavor. The roast beef won't rival Blues City Hot Italian, but it's the quality I would expect from a specialty sandwich shop.
The sauce was a bit spicy, a 1.5 or 2 out of 5 on the spicey scale, where both sides of your mouth burn but go away quickly. Solid additional flavor without overpowering the meat. Slapping that on the turkey moves it up from a 4 to a 6.
The sauce is going to get everywhere, so you're eating the sandwich correctly if you're two napkins in by the end.
The bread was crunchy on the outside and held the sandwich together. It was actually a plus baguette and the best sandwich bread I've had outside of Union Loafers.
The bacon was actually great. Thick cut, crispy, and not burned, it's how bacon should be.
At the end of the day, I'm probably too much of a sandwich purest for the Gramophone, but if you like drunk sandwiches on a drunk Saturday, dive in.
The Gramophone Atmosphere And Miscellaneous
The vibes at The Gramophone are spot on.
You can taste the music.
The bar + patio + overall feel nail the pub atmosphere, but it's open enough that it doesn't feel claustrophobic. The patio, in particular, looked amazing. It was just too cold to sit outside, unfortunately.
Service was quick. The line when I got there was maybe ten people deep at noon. My buddies were ten minutes late, and the line was gone when we ordered.
So, ten people in ten minutes for those of you doing math at home is roughly one minute per person in front of you.
After you order, you get a number, and they bring the food to your table. The minimum tip was 18% default, which seemed a bit high considering they only bring the food out to you. I would have preferred 10%.
$18.29 all-in for a sandwich is expensive for St. Louis.
Parking At The Gramophone
Parking was super easy. I parked on a side street, a three-minute walk away, absolutely no problem. I think there were a couple of spots open directly in front of the restaurant if I was being more aggressive on parking.
The Gramophone StL Receipt
Sandwich Size Comparisons