If you’re not from the Midwest, you might wonder why anyone would keep a sandwich shop open until 3 am. But drunken college kids without much to do require massive sandwiches to soak up the booze. So such shops are everywhere in Champaign, Bloomington, Madison and Lawrence. Chris Serena, the young man running Devil’s Dill, a Southeast Hawthorne Boulevard delivery and counter sandwich shop, brings them to Portland—along with the required upgrade from Jimmy John’s quality.
The prize of Devil’s nine-item menu is the five-spice pulled pork ($9.50), served with sesame slaw and a chili-garlic barbecue sauce that’s sweet with a mild bite. “We perfected that recipe over years,” Serena says as the sandwich slops sauce onto my hands. “We used to come home from the bar and work on sandwiches instead of watching movies.”
The crusty roll—baked
by Fleur De Lis—was soft enough to make me worry about the contents
spilling out the back end. (It proved remarkably resilient, with enough
nooks to soak up the juice.) The pork was soft and smoky, perfectly
complemented by the slaw on top. The sesame flavor was lost in the slaw,
but served as a textural counterbalance. This is the kind of sandwich
you eat while walking backward lest you want a drippy red mess all over
your trousers—necessary because you can’t sit down and eat it there. The
house-roasted turkey ($9.50) sounds great in theory, but may have been
better without the fancy fixin’s. The kale was great for adding texture,
but the tomato jam mingled with the herbed aioli to taste more like
Hunt’s tomato paste than an actual tomato. Instead, grab the pork and a
pickle (well worth $2), and get home before something weird happens.
- Order this: Smoked five-spice pulled pork.
- I’ll pass: House-roasted turkey, provolone, kale, herbed aoli, tomato jam.
EAT: Devil’s Dill, 1711 SE Hawthorne Blvd., 236-8067, devilsdill.com. 5 pm-3 am Tuesday-Sunday. Delivery until 2:30 am. $.