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Jonathon Erdeljac on the Perfect Club Sandwich

Cozy and welcoming, Jonathon's in Oak Cliff is known for putting out top-notch versions of indulgent comfort food classics like chicken and waffles and chicken-fried steak. Owner Jonathon Erdeljac admits he has a tendency to gild the lily a bit, and that's part of what keeps his loyal customers coming back for over-the-top dishes like peanut butter and jelly waffles and "The Kure," a hangover-curing plate piled up with bacon, eggs, cheese and various breakfast meats and smothered with Tabasco gravy.

With that in mind, it makes perfect sense that Erdeljac's postage stamp-sized kitchen is putting out a damn fine club sandwich — and as a firm believer in the institution of such a time-honored sandwich, he's pretty adamant about what should and should not be on it.

Says Erdeljac: "I'm real adamant about this [the way it's constructed] — like new guys will start and they might put the tomato on the bottom and mess up the order of things. Then it goes in the trash. [laughs] I remember sitting on my couch writing this menu thinking to myself, do I have what it takes to put this club sandwich on the menu? Do I have the guts? And so I did it, and it's been a huge success. ... When we first opened I was so protective of [the club], like if someone asked for it without the onion I was like 'NO! You have to eat it this way! I'm telling you I've made the perfect club. just believe in me.' And I've definitely let up on that whole mentality, now it's like alright, if you want to make changes we'll do it. It's your sandwich. But you're ruining it. [laughs]"


THE BREAD: "I like sourdough bread. It's got to be toasted, every piece on every side, for structural rigidity. Each piece is buttered and grilled on the flattop. Every piece of bread has mayo on it, that's important too. I've seen some people do mustard on a club, but I'm strictly mayo. If I wanted to do a crazy club variation, like chicken then I'd maybe use Dijon, but for this definitely mayo. It doesn't argue, it just kind of agrees with all the other ingredients. I don't like mayo and mustard on the same sandwich, either — I'm not that guy. I know some people will do their burgers on both but I'm either one or the other. "

THE BASE: "The bottom layer is red onion and avocado. I like the texture combination of soft and crunchy."

THE MEAT: "Then of course turkey and ham. We do our turkey breast roasted in-house with a chili spice on it. The ham is just a great pit ham we use."

THE CHEESE: "American and Swiss, it just seems right. When I was a kid I loved hot ham and cheese and also turkey and Swiss sandwiches, so we've got both of those going on."

THE DIVIDER: "Then you've got your middle piece of bread. I get mad when people call it a club and only use two pieces of bread. I think the third piece of bread is pretty important. It's kind of a pet peeve. We get people that come in and ask if they can get it without the third piece of bread and I'm like 'No, you can't!' Then you wouldn't be ordering a club. If we're gonna do this, we're gonna do it the right way — use 3 pieces of bread and really stack it up, like you gotta unhinge your jaw to eat it."

THE BLT: "Lettuce, tomato, crisp bacon, and Jonathon's egg. We usually go over-medium for the egg, because otherwise it's a little too runny. I find if I go over-easy, you get a lot of good yolkiness but then you kind of lose the egg on the sandwich. Over-medium, it keeps its shape and still does its job."

[Photo credit: Jonathon's Oak Cliff/Facebook]