Eating Adventures

Three Pilgrim Sandwiches to Get You in the Mood for Thanksgiving

If Grandma owned a bar, these are the sandwiches she'd serve.
If Grandma owned a bar, these are the sandwiches she'd serve. Mark Antonation
With just a couple of weeks left before it's time to sit down with friends and family in front of a bountiful spread of turkey with all the trimmings, we're already smelling the aroma of stuffing, gravy and roast bird wafting through the chill November air. Why wait for leftovers to build a beauty of a sandwich when these three eateries already have a jump on the cooking? Here are three places to get that seasonal specialty, or a tempting variation thereof, most often called the pilgrim sandwich.

Pony Up
1808 Blake Street
Sheamus Feeley, the chef/co-owner of this downtown cocktail joint, is obsessed with dip sandwiches. Variations on the French dip are the specialty of the house, but this month the kitchen goes all-American with its Thanksgiving dip. The house airy, pillowy bread engulfs house-roasted turkey sliced paper-thin, Italian sausage stuffing and cranberry mayo. Plunge the surprisingly light sandwich into sage gravy to trigger your favorite holiday dinner memories. If Pony Up served this sauce in shot glasses, we'd never leave.

click to enlarge Hopdoddy transforms Thanksgiving into a burger. - COURTESY HOPDODDY
Hopdoddy transforms Thanksgiving into a burger.
Courtesy Hopdoddy
1747 Wynkoop Street
We already knew that this Texas burger transplant had a way with beef, but turkey can be a little trickier. Give thanks that Hopdoddy sticks with what it knows, transforming the pilgrim sandwich into burger form and calling it the Mayflower. The ground-turkey patty stays moist thanks to the addition of dried cranberries and ham, but there's also "deconstructed" sausage stuffing (so all the best aromatics and rich flavors stand out), something called "holiday aioli" (which is just mayo spiked with fried herbs), and — brace yourselves — sweet potato marshmallow butter. Now pick yourself up and pull yourself together, because that's not all. All that goodness is lovingly cradled in a walnut cornbread bun.

click to enlarge Backcountry is there for you all year when you need a little holiday comfort. - RACHEL RAE RODERICK
Backcountry is there for you all year when you need a little holiday comfort.
Rachel Rae Roderick
Backcountry Delicatessen
1617 Wazee Street, 303-534-7900
444 17th Street, 303-534-2100
4919 South Newport Street, 303-927-6248
Backcountry Deli has been extending Thanksgiving leftover season to a full twelve months for nearly a decade, offering a pilgrim sandwich on its regular menu all year. So if you're feeling wistful and in need of a little comfort, you can pick up this very traditional stack in the heat of the summer, the dead of winter — or right now. This one comes with shaved turkey, stuffing, romaine lettuce and mayo, along with smoked gouda for a little extra richness and cranberry chutney from the owner's family recipe. It's a handheld dose of edible Turkey Day nostalgia.
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Mark Antonation is the former Westword Food & Drink Editor. In 2018, he was named Outstanding Media Professional by the Colorado Restaurant Association; he's now with the Colorado Restaurant Foundation.
Contact: Mark Antonation