Seven Sloppy Sandwiches: A guide to Columbus' most-decadent, slovenly hunger-maulers

G.A. Benton, Columbus Alive

Lunch Lady: "Have some more sloppy joes. I made 'em extra sloppy for yous. I know how yous kids like 'em sloppy.

Billy Madison: "Lady, you're scaring us."

- "Billy Madison"

Better get another napkin. Actually a bib might be more fitting. While that last tactic might make you look like a toddler, it's an operable strategy when tackling a dangerously unstable if thoroughly addictive sandwich that's all the more dee-licious for going a little - or, hell, a lot - too far.

You know what I'm talking about: Hard-to-eat but easy-to-love garnish-happy bombers that put the "ain't" in restraint and leave you with a mess on your hands but a smile on your face. Obviously this isn't everyday fare, but now and then when the wild-hair mood strikes (go ahead and blame booze if you like), nothing beats these off-kilter killers - and that's not just 'cause they're cheap (but it helps).

The following list of hunger-maulers - which range from a little sloppy to fully deranged monsters - includes a vegan 'wich, a few meat-a-thons, a couple sauce-splashed stunners and a spicy pirate or two looking to steal your breath. But every single one is riotously fun to gnaw on.

Of course, if dining dignity's an issue, you can go knife and fork on these berserkers (personally, I think dignity's overrated), but I sorta enjoy getting my hands and face up close to the messy special effects, so I recommend, at least once, diving in head first (hint: exaggeratedly leaning over a wrapper or plate helps contain the fabulous fallout).

Photos by Meghan Ralston