The Great Gatsby (Sandwich)

May 29, 2013 8:34 am


You’ve read the book, anabolics you’ve seen the movie… but have you eaten the sandwich?

Here in Cape Town, ambulance a Gatsby is far more than an iconic literary figure. While the character Gatsby was elusive, somewhat mysterious, his sandwich alter ego pretty much puts it all out there for everyone to see. Take a giant hoagie, stuff it with curried meat, French fries, and the kitchen sink, and voilà: you have a different kind of (but equally great) Gatsby.


My go-to Gatsby haunt is Mariam’s Kitchen, a delicious, low-key halal takeout joint with two locations: one on St. George’s Mall, and one on Heerengracht Street. Another solid variant is from Cosy Corner. You can find perfectly passable Gatsby’s on hundreds of menus at no-frills spots across the country, but it’s something like the raging chicken-and-rice debate of New York City: fringe foodies love claiming the best one is found on some random corner near Wall Street, or in a godforsaken wasteland in Queens, but true connoisseurs know the halal-cart kings reign from their thrones on 53rd Street and Sixth Avenue. Mariam’s is 53rd and Sixth. (I apologize if that analogy means nothing to you. But I can’t help it, I am a New Yorker in Cape Town.)

And what of that name? This item from Saveur claims that the birth of this particular Gatsby was a serendipitous accident, conceived when a fish-and-chips proprietor ran out of fish and stuffed a roll with whatever he had lying around. He’d taken a fancy to the 1970’s Robert Redford version of the film that had released around that time, and named it in his honor.

Is that fiction? Who knows. But the Gatsby’s deliciousness is confirmed fact.

Gatsby at top, Mariam’s Kitchen. Bottom Gatsby, with chips (French fries) and Viennas (sausages): Cosy Corner.


  • Loved your post! I’m also from new York (state) just vacationing in cape town looking for gatsby inspired jewelry and accessories, which I create, happened upon your inspiring post about a sandwich! Loved it!!! Check out my gatsby fav’s on my website:

    • sarah

      Awesome, love your work! Hope you found some inspiration here in Cape Town, there’s tons of great vintage finds here!

  • Tarsha

    Hi there Sarah. Love this article. Are you based in CT now? Will you be here around early October? I am working with the HSF on a heart-healthy challenge – that features the Gatsby and thought it may interest you. Should you like to know more, please drop me a mail and I will fill you in.

    • sarah

      sure thing, shoot me a line at bysarahkhan [at] thanks!

  • So excited to eat a Gatsby… after much reading about SA (there is so much to do…) I came across so many articles about this sandwich and I MUST try one (or some?) while I am in town this spring!