Here, Eat This

Houston's Best Sandwiches: The River Oaks at The Sandwich Shoppe

The River Oaks at The Sandwich Shoppe in Alvin is a good, solid sandwich without the house-made condiments. With them, it's one of Houston's best.
The River Oaks at The Sandwich Shoppe in Alvin is a good, solid sandwich without the house-made condiments. With them, it's one of Houston's best. Photo by Jeff Balke
We are in search of Houston's best sandwiches because we love sandwiches and we love Houston!

Some sandwiches are about the meat. Others are mostly filler for the bread. But rarely have I come across a sandwich that was all about the condiments until I tried the River Oaks at The Sandwich Shoppe (1701 Fairway Drive, Suite 3A, Alvin, Texas) — officially The Sandwich Shoppe at Medic One Pharmacy — inside a tiny retro-style pharmacy down 288 in Alvin.

Virtually everything about this place and its sandwiches is simple. Checkerboard floors and a soda fountain, toasted white bread and Boar's Head meats. It's uncluttered and pleasant. Then you look at some of the condiments on their sandwiches and things change.

The truth is, I wasn't really sure about the place. In fact, I'd never heard of it. But, I was visiting a friend in the general area and looking for a good lunch spot. This had loads of good reviews. The River Oaks, ultimately my choice, is nothing remarkable to look at. It has good, fresh ingredients: turkey, lettuce, tomato and avocado (bravo!) on fresh, white bakery bread. But, my eye was caught by "sun-dried tomato mayo" and "strawberry mustard."

If these were not part of this sandwich, this would still be a good place to grab lunch, but it might not make this list. The condiment additions are, however, game changers.

I don't know if they sell these in jars, but I would absolutely buy some of that strawberry mustard. The sweet and tangy addition is perfect for a standard turkey sandwich. I'd have to believe it would make a killer substitute for honey mustard as well. The sun-dried tomato mayo was equally as tasty with an added earthiness from the tomatoes.

I got a side of each along with my sandwich and vigorously dipped my plain potato chips in them. I could have eaten two pounds of french fries doused in a mix of those sauces.

The place may be a long way from the neighborhood for which this sandwich bears its name (roughly 45 minutes without traffic), but with Pearland nearby (thanks to Ronnie Killen, on the culinary map), it doesn't feel that far and those sauces are worth it.

If you have a sandwich you think is one of the best in town, hit us up. We're always looking for new options.
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Jeff Balke is a writer, editor, photographer, tech expert and native Houstonian. He has written for a wide range of publications and co-authored the official 50th anniversary book for the Houston Rockets.
Contact: Jeff Balke