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ALTOONA, Pa. -- The anticipated Alleghenies annual Signature Sandwich Contest featured regional hopefuls vying for top honors and bragging rights.
In total, four restaurants including McIntyre's Candies, Allegro Restaurant, Jethro's and Sheetz Inc. competed for a chance to create the official 2008 Signature Sandwich of the Alleghenies.
Sheetz was awarded first place for its "Forgetaboutit Italian Ciabatta," a spicy sandwich featuring Italian meat, provolone cheese, lettuce and roasted red peppers seasoned with basil pesto, spicy sport pepper relish and Italian dressing.
"It's quite an honor, considering the other contestants," Keith Boston, director of culinary development at Sheetz., told the Altoona Mirror. "I hope there's more competition next year, but I think that will happen, the more people hear about it."
Boston's strategy was to take an existing Sheetz sandwich and tweak it in hopes of making it a contender. "It lends itself to a portable gourmet experience that's more diner friendly," he told the Altoona Mirror. "It's got some nice layers of cheeses and meats, and the flavors all blend real well."
At just under $5 dollars, the winning sandwich, whose actual store name is "The Spicy Italian Ciabatta," is currently available at Sheetz stores with "Made To Go" bins. Boston told the paper that by September the award-winning sandwich will be available at all locations.
Jethro's took second place honors with its "The Big Jethro," an Italian specialty sandwich comprised of three homemade meatballs, pulled pork, several breaded, deep-fried vegetables and a side dish of ranch dressing, the paper reported.