You had me at B… BLT, that is

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File photo. File photo.

The BLT, that divine triumvirate that defines the taste of summer, makes good use of the late season tomato whose flesh isn’t quite as taut as it used to be and whose juices need little coaxing before they’re dripping down your arms. These eight places have their own takes on this glorious sandwich that’s a whole lot greater than the sum of its parts.

Ask for a BLT at the Barbeque Exchange and you’ll need to decide between “chewy” and “crispy.” If you think it’s a no-brainer, think again. Chewy’s the only answer if you want Craig Hartman’s housemade red-eye bacon—pork belly dry-cured with a spicy, Shenandoah Joe coffee rub then hickory smoked for 18 hours.

Blue Moon Diner serves up the tasty trifecta on your choice of bread, with regular or artisan bacon, and a heaping of regular (or Old Bay-dusted sweet potato) fries. Or, get your fix in liquid form with the bacon-garnished BLTini.

You get two Bs for the very low price of one at Bodo’s Bagels, where the standard trio of ingredients is piled atop your bagel of choice.

At Boylan Heights, the B is thick-cut, the L is bibb, and the T can be classic sliced beefsteaks or fried green ones. A generous swipe of Hellmann’s seals the deal.

Catch the BLT when it’s on special at Calvino Café and you’ll be one happy luncher. Nueske’s bacon joins house-roasted tomatoes, arugula, and lemon aioli on Albemarle Baking Company’s pain au levain before hitting the grill.

There’s nothing fancy about the BLT at the Cavalier Diner and that’s precisely why we like it. It’s just crispy bacon, crunchy iceberg, ’mater slices, and mayo on white bread—plain and simple.

The late night menu at C&O offers a lily-gilded, open-faced version with smoky bacon, bibb lettuce, aioli, gruyère cheese, tomato, and a fried farm egg.

Toasted sourdough from Breadworks provides the foundation for Rapture’s BLT that’s built with house-cured and smoked Rock Barn bacon, green leaf lettuce, heirloom tomatoes, and roasted garlic aioli.

Rich sammy, poor sammy
When money’s no object, a BLT gets fancy when pancetta subs for bacon, lettuce is traded for arugula, a rainbow of heirlooms replace just red ones, and a spread of burrata (cream-injected mozzarella) stands in for mayo.

If you’re not exactly bringing home the bacon, skip the B and even the L. A straight up T can be divine as long as you toast your bread, salt and pepper your slices, and don’t skimp on the mayo.

Put up your Duke’s
Whether you consider Charlottesville Southern or not, our mayonnaise of choice certainly is. The Duke’s mayonnaise production facility relocated from Greenville, South Carolina to Richmond in 1929 (12 years after the company’s inception), and has everyone from top chefs to home cooks hooked on its distinctively tangy, no-sugar-added recipe ever since.

Pickin’ pig
The BLT’s America’s second favorite sammy losing out only to the humble ham.

  • Paul Ward

    Duke’s is the best! We grew up with it and it makes the best sandwich. And I agree with the budget version of the BLT that omits the B and the L. I grew up in Hanover, and their tomatoes are famous for their flavor and juice. Salt, pepper, even a drizzle of white vinegar, on a toast sandwich with Duke’s. Heavy sigh.

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