While we all may think of “American food” as a massive melting pot of cultures and plates of fried delights or fast food that can be found across the entire country, we have to remember how big the United States truly is. Different parts of the United States, from the beaches of New England to New Orleans’ bustling Bourbon Street and the greater Los Angeles area, have sandwiches that they are proud to call their own.
While we may see variations on these sandwiches all across the USA, each region claims that their sandwich invention is the greatest. It’s time to see whose grub really lives up to that claim and who’s on-the-go meal between two slices of bread really is the best sandwich in the nation.
10. Dutch Crunch (San Francisco Bay Area)
Also known as tiger bread, this loaf is the defining sandwich bread for Northern California sandwiches. Originally from the Netherlands, Dutch Crunch was already locally famous before Ike Shehadeh’s sandwich empire gave it more national attention. The extra crunch makes it perfect for sandwiches of all sizes and flavors, especially at iconic Bay Area sandwich spots like Village Cheese House nearby Stanford University and the East Bay’s Genova Deli. It’s hard to find a bread better suited for sandwiches than Dutch Crunch, and the sandwiches build to honor it are a strong testament to that.
9. Philly Cheesesteak (Philadelphia)
We all know this sandwich. A massive, long hoagie roll, thinly sliced beef, optional grilled onions, and either thinly sliced Provolone or Cheese Whiz make up this Philly lunch staple. Many restaurants around the country have brought the Philly Cheesesteak to the national masses, but let’s be real: you can’t beat the real deal. Philly Cheesesteak icons like Jim’s, Sonny’s, and Phillip’s are some of the timeless classics location to get your legit cheesesteak fix.
8. Deli Pastrami Sandwich (New York)
New York Pastrami is in the upper echelon of fine deli meats, especially if you go to iconic spots like Katz’s Deli. The sandwich it belongs in is simple but perfect: succulent New York-style pastrami, fresh rye bread, and a touch of mustard. No fuss and all flavor is the name for this top-notch sandwich, and is a must-try whenever you head over to the Big Apple.
7. Italian Beef Sandwich (Chicago)
This legendary sandwich is one of the most scrumptious creations to have come out of Chicago and the surrounding area. Slow-roasted beef with Italian spices is already a winner on its own, and the addition of the hot, pickly relish known as giardiniera just takes the sandwich to the next level. If you find yourself in the area, make sure to go to Al’s Italian Beef or Tony’s for some of the best Italian beef in town.
6. Muffaletta (New Orleans)
There’s something about this fully-loaded sandwich that makes you feel like a boss when you eat it. Maybe it’s the monstrous amount of Italian cold cuts piled on, or the tangy and fresh olive salad that balances out the whole meal. Or maybe it’s just how the name “muffaletta” rolls off the tongue. Whatever it may be, when you’re in NOLA, make sure to hit up Napoleon House, Parran’s, or Central Grocery and Deli for one of the most gangster sandwich experiences you’ll have in the entire USA.
5. Lobster Roll (New England)
Lobster rolls are easily gonna be the most expensive sandwich on this list because of how pricey lobster is. It’s really hard to find a good one outside of New England, where basically all of our lobster is sourced. But something about the combo of sweet, juicy lobster meat with a hot buttered bun makes an authentic New England lobster roll experience unforgettable. Whether you prefer your lobster roll hot or cold, places like The Clam Shack, The Knack, and Five Islands are spots to mark down for some of the best crustacean sandwiches in the country.
4. Philly Roast Pork Sandwich (Philadelphia)
Sorry, Philly Cheesesteak, but you got nothing on what is truly the best sandwich in the City of Brotherly Love. The roast pork sandwich is just as simple as its more famous cousin, with only three necessary ingredients: roast pork, sharp provolone, and broccoli rabe. That combination, especially when ordered at places like John’s Roast Pork or Dinic’s that have mastered the craft of constructing one, is so mouthgasmic that you’ll trade in the cheesesteak for one almost immediately.
3. Cubano Sandwich (Miami)
Cubanos are probably the hottest sandwich in the nation right now, as you can head to sandwich spots or pubs across the country and find this Miami staple in just about any of them. Sarussi, Versailles, and Las Olas Cafe are some of the classic spots that have perfected this combo of roast pork, ham, swiss, mustard, and pickles. If you’re looking for the originators and the masters of the Cubano sandwich craze, I’d definitely start there.
2. French Dip Sandwich (Los Angeles)
SoCal’s legendary sandwich has already swept across the entire nation since the French Dip’s inception, and it’s very easy to see why. Philippe’s and Cole’s feud over who really invented it, but it’s safe to say that both have perfected the straightforward but heavenly combo of meat, bread, and jus that everyone’s fallen in love with. The addition of the beef jus provides the Dip with a burst of umami and meaty flavors that no other sandwich in the country can achieve. The French Dip is arguably one of America’s greatest contributions to the world of sandwiches, and we have the City of Angels to thank for it.
1. Po’ Boy (New Orleans)
As great as every other sandwich on this list has been, none is more iconic or delicious than the New Orleans Po’ Boy. Named after the strikers this sandwich was invented to feed, what makes this sandwich so special is the bread, which has to come from either Leidenheimer’s or Riesling’s French bakeries for your meal to be a true Po’ Boy. Beyond that, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and remoulade are the perfect complement to your protein of choice, from some of the freshest oysters in the US to the most decadent pot roast. The rich history, truly amazing bread, and the amazing flavors put into it by Mahony’s, Parasol’s, Mother’s, and more make this sandwich the best in all of the United States. We salute you, Po’ Boy. No sandwich is more worthy of this title than you are.