The Gatsby Sandwich

Unwrapping Cape Town with you.
Also engage with our other channels
to find something you don't want to miss.

The Gatsby Sandwich

Unwrapping Cape Town’s signature super loaf

Last Update: May 25, 2017

When most people hear the word ‘Gatsby’, they think mysterious millionaire, equally mysterious green light, flapper dresses and broken American dreams. When Capetonians hear it, they think monstrous foot-long sandwich heaving with hot chips, dripping with sauce and crammed with everything but the kitchen sink.

So the two concepts are a little different, but they do have one connection (that is, aside from the fact that they’re both associated with decadent excess): the legendary stacked roll that’s become an icon of Mother City fast food outlets and a staple of many a local resident’s diet was, it appears, actually named after the famed Fitzgerald tale.

The story of the loaf’s accidental beginnings goes something like this: once upon a time, way back in 1976, there was an Athlone-based fish shop owner named Rashaad Pandy who had nothing to feed a few day workers who’d been helping him clean up a piece of property.  Being a resourceful individual, he combined what he had – a round Portuguese roll, polony, slap chips and achar – and sliced the creation into four so they could all enjoy a piece.

On tasting the roll, one of the labourers, Froggie, who was full of quirky sayings and had recently watched the film The Great Gatsby at the Athlone Theatre, gleefully exclaimed, “this is a Gatsby smash” (meaning, it’s a winning dish), and the name just stuck. The following day, Rashaad put out a few of the all-in-one buns for sale in his store, and before long, they had taken off at a pace he describes as “unreal”.

Today, the round roll has been replaced with a long loaf for the sake of easy cutting (Gatsbies are meant to be shared amongst several people), and many new versions have evolved – there’s everything from a masala steak and cheese option to a calamari and fish combo to a vienna, Russian sausage and polony beast called the Full House (no Olsen twins involved). But what remains is the fast food hit’s popularity: for many locals, especially those living on the Cape Flats, this colossal sandwich is not just a meal; it’s a way of life, a cultural symbol and an important part of their heritage.

But what is it exactly that makes the Gatsby so damn irresistible? We did a bit of investigation and came up with the following explanations for the takeaway dish’s fame.


1. It can feed a group of four for far less than even a KFC Family Meal. Saying that eating a Gatsby is economical is like saying that politicians are kind of crooked – it’s a major understatement. Even the most decked out of the lot rings in at no more than R100, and considering one sandwich would fulfill the whole von Trapp troupe, that means everyone must merely throw in some small change, at most.

2. It’s like heaven when you’re hungover. Nothing soaks up the after-effects of a night spent dancing Gangnam Style and drunk-dialling ex-lovers quite like a colossal bread roll soaked in grease, sauce and salt. Forget Panado, coffee or bloody marys; hello great Gatsby.

3. It’ll sort you out one time if you’re an endurance athlete. We’re talking a foot-long white loaf stuffed with deep-fried chips. In other words, Gatsbies take carbo-loading to the next level. You’ll be able to run an ultra-marathon on the energy stored in these wonderfully unhealthy monsters – that’s if you don’t pass out from the cholesterol overload first.

4. It fits snugly in the overhead compartment of an aeroplane. The following scenario is apparently commonplace in our quirky country: son or daughter relocates from Cape Town to Johannesburg for work but misses Gatsby more than mom. If mom visits without Gatsby (x5), she’s a gonner. So, it’s certainly a good thing that despite their size, these can’t-live-without treats are travel friendly.

5. It complements the hood of any car. That’s right, regardless of the colour of your vehicle or the filling of your Gatsby, the mega sandwich is bound to match perfectly with your bonnet, which, according to veteran consumers, is the number one spot to unwrap and enjoy.

In line with the last point, we thought we’d consult the pros – regular Gatsby eaters in our social media community – about other places and ways this mammoth loaf should be devoured to shed more light on the culture around its consumption. Here’s what a few of our Facebook and Twitter followers had to say:


  • @NattyGov: In your car. With friends. At 3am. While sharing a litre of Frulati.
  • @WhoAreEthan21: With your hands, anytime, anywhere!
  • Fatiema Baradien Khan: After a night out painting the town red – it’s an epic way to end an evening.
  • Grant Boere Meyer: On a Saturday morning with Cabana peach juice.
  • @BerrySolo: When you’re really hungry, especially on a cold day, with Cabana or Tropika juice.
  • Jannie Kirsten: On the rocks at sunset, preferably in Mouille Point.
  • @akeena_ognimod: With an ice-cold Coke!

Surely by this point we’ve got you lusting after one of these quintessentially Capetonian loaves. So, we’re finishing off with an overview of popular places that those in the know go to get their Gatsby.


Drawcard: This family run business has been plating up the type of Gatsbies that create repeat customers for years. Nestled in the colourful and quirky ‘hood of Bo-Kaap, this is the perfect place to dig into a larger-than-life loaf with all the trimmings. This is a Halaal establishment, so there is no alcohol allowed, but they do offer a homemade falooda made traditionally with milk. rose water, almonds and ice crream to cool the burn.
2 Wale Street & Pentz Street | Schotsche Kloof | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 423 0850

The Golden Dish
Drawcard: A personal touch is what sets this long-time, family-run institution apart. That, and the fact that the small store sells an incredibly diverse range of Gatsbies, from a Goulash Full House to a Russian Sausage and a Cheese and Perinaise mix.

Shop 1 | Block 1 | Gatesville Shopping Centre | Cnr. Klipfontein and Hazel roads | Athlone | Cape Town | +27 (0)21 633 7864

Super Fisheries
This fish and chips shop in Athlone is owned and run by Rashaad Pandy, the inventor of the original Gatsby, so you can expect authentic subs here. The store focuses on fish and calamari-filled super sandwiches, but it still sells Rashaad’s first combo: polony, chips and achar.
63 Old Klipfontein Road | Athlone | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 696 9833

Cosy Corner
Founded in 1973, this family-run takeaway store is the only one in Cape Town that makes a flame-grilled rump steak Gatsby, and it’s also particularly popular for its basting sauce, which is made from olive oil, honey and the freshest ingredients.
119 Ottery Road | Wynberg | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 797 2498

Mariam’s Kitchen
Not only is this super sandwich hotspot very conveniently located (there are two stores in the heart of the CBD), but it also makes a killer (and perfectly spiced) Full House Steak Gatsby – think masala steak, eggs, chips, cheese, braised onion and salad.
31 Heerengracht Street | Foreshore | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 421 3636
101 St Georges Mall | City Centre | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 423 0772

Farm Stall & Takeaway
Claiming to make “the best Gatsbies in town”, this little takeaway joint in Cape Town’s Ottery focuses on quality ingredients and irresistible flavour combinations.
52 Ottery Road (next to Makro) | Ottery | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 704 2211

Bona Fast Food
Open until 3am on weekends, this fast food haunt sources top ingredients, mixes their own sauces and makes all its Gatsbies from scratch. Be sure to try the chicken and cheese combo or the vienna sausage and polony option.
32 Victoria Road | Grassy Park | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 705 3015

This takeaway outlet – there’s one in Wynberg and one in Montague Gardens – serves a wide range of both traditional and more innovative Gatsbies, all filled with freshly fried chips and a special secret spice. Conveniently, the store takes online orders; though, it doesn’t deliver.
86 Ottery Road | Wynberg | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 797 5682
Cnr Esso Road and Montague Drive | Montague Gardens | Cape Town | +27 (0) 21 551 7123


By Cheri Morris


Cape Town Events Calendar
March 2018
1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Cape Town Carnival Elemental Parade 2015What's on at Cape Town Carnival 2018

Shake your tail feathers and experience all the colours of the rainbow nation at this free street party and parade

MAReSOLSatisfying Specials at MAReSOL ...

Food that will make your palate and pocket happy

Radisson Blu Hotel and Residence - 7Themed Drinks and 2-for-1 Happy Hour at ...

Expect themed drinks, a 2-for-1 happy hour and best-dressed Irish costume competition at Radisson Blu’s Naughty Leprechaun event at Ghibli Bar on 17 March

A Touch Of Madness Burgers and Beers 5Saturdays are for Sunny Daytime Parties ...

Touchdown Saturdays’ DJ, drink specials and sunny courtyard are ideal for summer afternoons

Cansa Relay 2Join The Fight Against Cancer With The ...

Take a walk… and support a very important cause

Kiff Kombi Secret Spot 3Craft Beer Safari with Kiff Kombi Tours

Here’s how to experience the best in Cape Town’s craft beer scene and get 15% off when you book for five people or more on Saturday Kiff Kombi Tours’ Craft Beer Safari

Off The Grid Festival 3Off The Grid Music Festival Hits The ...

Jam out to over five music genres until the sun sets

Wine FliesWine Flies Give You an Experience Like ...

Take the road less travelled with this boutique touring company

Glowing Rooms 3Get a Great Saving on 3D Mini-Golf with ...

Pay a special rate for entrance into SA’s first 3D space-themed glow-in-the-dark mini-golf adventure

Bazique Fest Enter a Realm of Eccentric ...

From astounding art to international music acts, this three-day party brings a euphoric global festival atmosphere to the Cape

TRANSylvania New Dawn - 4TRANSylvania Presents a New Dawn

Redemption Island is over and we now move into a New Dawn at TRANSylvania

Roast and Co 22-for-1 Drink Specials at Roast & Co

Every day “on your way” at Roast & Co. – enjoy 2-for-1 drink specials and discover the coolest mugs

Roast and Co 9Saturday Lunch Fun at Roast & Co.

Every Saturday in the historic Heritage Square courtyard, Roast & Co. serves up terrific lunch deals on tapas with live entertainment to create a buzz

Cape Culinary Tours Valentine's Day InclusionTake a Bite into History with Cape Town ...

Learn about Cape Town’s past while savouring local cuisine with these informative walking tours

Shimmy Beach ClubBeach House Sundays at Shimmy Beach Club

Sun, sand, sea and glitz – the weekend isn’t over until you’re relaxing at Shimmy Beach Club

Bay Harbour MarketSoothe Your Soul with Live Music at Bay ...

Celebrate our unique South African spirit with live music at one of Cape Town’s most vibrant markets every Saturday

Bay Harbour MarketYoung Saturdays at Bay Harbour Market

The new Young Saturdays programme at the Bay Harbour Market promises hours of creative fun for their youngest visitors

Galileo - BlaauwklippenA Weekend Spent with The Galileo Open ...

Start your weekend with a little inner-city or wineland movie screening

Kaapse Stories at The Rockwell TheatreDinner and a Show with Rockwell Theatre

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. What happens in Cape Town gets told to your mom, dad, tannie, ouma, second cousin and neighbour down the street

The Backyard Grill Lounge RibsBBQ Ribs Special at The Backyard Grill ...

Savour succulent, sticky ribs for just R150 per kilogram on Wed, Sat and Sun

HintHuntHave a Happy Birthday at HintHunt

Trade Table Dancing and Bottle Service for a Birthday You’re Sure to Remember

Workshop - 5Short Courses at the Cape Town ...

Mix, mingle and learn at this year’s Jazz Festival

The Fugard Thetare West Side Story 1The Fugard Theatre Presents West Side ...

Many theatre buffs reckon West Side Story is the greatest musical ever written. Judge for yourself when The Fugard Theatre’s production of it returns to Cape Town

WeatherGiveawaysTravel Tips

Curious to make exciting discoveries in Cape Town every day? "LIKE" us for a daily hidden gem.