Food You Can Eat: Anthony Bourdain’s Bodega Sandwich

The true breakfast of champions

A feast for all five senses

This, allegedly, was one of Anthony Bourdain’s favorite meals. Also known as “a bacuneggacheeze,” (that’s how it’s pronounced, it’s never written “bacon, egg, and cheese”) these sandwiches are indeed found all over New York in corner stores, called bodegas here. 

What is a bodega? I think the term is spreading, but in New York a bodega has certain characteristics. The person behind the grill is a Spanish-speaking man. The aisles are very narrow and the shelves full of an eclectic and eccentric array of foods. At least 50% of the items on sale will be soft drinks, beer, and snack foods. The topmost shelves are where the paper towels and toilet paper are stored, and someone will have to use one of those extended sticks with a clamp on one end to retrieve these items for you. Nothing will have a price tag on it (it is at the cashier’s discretion.) The cashier, usually the owner or a relative, might be new to the bodega and may well ask you, “How much do we charge you for this?” Be Honest. If you try to swindle them out of a buck word will spread and you will be shunned. Whether you see the bodega cat or not there’s one around somewhere.

I’ll let Tony speak from here:

The iconic New York City sandwich is bacon, egg, and cheese on a hard roll—cooked on a griddle and served by someone who addresses you as papi or mami.


(makes 2 sandwiches)

6 slices bacon

2 kaiser rolls, sliced as for a sandwich

4 large eggs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 slices American or Swiss cheese

Special Equipment:

Plate lined with newspaper


Heat a large, heavy-bottom skillet or cast-iron griddle pan over high heat until hot, then add the bacon and cook until golden brown and crisp, adjusting the temperature if necessary so that it doesn’t get burned. If it burns, start over. (You can also cook your bacon in the oven; see page 12.) Using a spatula or tongs, remove the bacon to the lined plate. Open the kaiser rolls and place them facedown on the griddle for 2 minutes to warm through and absorb some of that bacon grease. Remove them and park 3 slices of bacon inside each roll.

Crack the eggs into a medium mixing bowl, season with salt and pepper, and beat well. You’re not making scrambled eggs here, you’re making a kind of value-neutral omelet, so don’t worry about retaining big curds in the pan. Cook the eggs in the hot bacon grease until cooked through. Top with the cheese, distributed in an even layer, and let cook until slightly melty. 

Remove the eggs and divide them evenly among the rolls, folding and chopping as necessary. 

Close the sandwiches, wrap in foil for portability (if necessary), and serve with shitty coffee.

From Appetites: A Cookbook, by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever



  1. At least half of the places I’ve been to like bodegas, no matter what they’re called or where they are, the cashier is on the phone the entire time they ring you up, with a seamless break to tell you the price, then goes right back into the call without a hitch. Often switching from another language into English and then right back again. Possibly with a sudden English phrase out of the blue shouted into the phone conversation and then an immediate return to whatever language the main conversation is in.

  2. I make a similar breakfast sandwich when in the mood.  I use a fresh croissant and sometimes use peameal bacon (less fatty than regular bacon.)  I also use regular cheese rather than the slices.

    Make it all fancy like but not gross like the disgusting Burger King or Tim Hortons versions.  At least I don’t suffer from the lousy cheese or fake eggs (fart city.)

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