Parisi Sandwiches
Parisi, New York City | Cole Saladino/Thrillist
Parisi, New York City | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

The 33 Best Sandwich Shops in America

Sandwiches are the world's food. Across cultures and continents, social strata and generations, sandwiches are the great equalizer. Regardless of who you are and where you come from, chances are you have a favorite sandwich. And a favorite sandwich shop. Lucky for us all, we also live in an era of peak sandwich glory in the US, a time where each state has done its part to ensure that amazing bread bombs can be had everywhere and by anyone. Delis have become community centers. Bodegas are one the same level as sit-down restaurants. Chains have gone gourmet. And chefs have abandoned fine dining in favor of creating magnificent sandwich masterpieces paying attention to every detail. What a time to be alive -- even if said time among the living might be compromised by too many sandwiches. 

Below, you'll find shops representing the best of American sandwiching, from old-school delis to high-end counters, trend-setting international flavor ambassadors, and everything in between. Every place does something different. The one thing they have in common? They're the best sandwich shops in America right now. 

Editor's note: For this edition, we've largely foregone chains and retired quite a few classics into the sandwich hall of fame -- we still love you, Katz's, Philippe's, Central Grocery, Zingerman's, Slyman's, and other legends, but you're doing fine without the extra ink.

cemitas puebla

Cemitas Puebla

Chicago, Illinois

The original location became a neighborhood hotspot (with a little boost from a certain frosted-tipped, Camaro-driving Food Network host) but sadly shuttered after a rent dispute. But Chicago still gets its fix for these torta-esque (but better!) sandwich sensations at the more recently opened outpost. And thank goodness, because the Cemitas Atomica is a study in sandwich perfection, with three kinds of pork (ham, guajillo-marinated loin, breaded cutlet), a generous helping of shredded Oaxacan cheese, creamy avocado, and just enough heat from the chipotle adobo sauce. Once it's nestled into one of the custom-baked rolls and hit with a squirt or two of the outstanding salsas, you'll understand how this Pueblan creation became a Chicago institution. -- Matt Lynch

Sonya Highfield/Thrillist


Boston, Massachusetts

Born out of a simple pushcart by Chilean native Juan Hurtado, Chacarero might appear to be some basic chain restaurant from the outside, with its gaudy glowing sign and super-clean aesthetic -- but it is an incredibly legit purveyor of Chilean food, mostly thanks to its eponymous sandwiches. There are many things on the menu at Chacarero (including some wonderful empanadas), but you will NOT order them. You will order the chacarero or forever regret it. It starts with fresh, pillow-soft homemade round bread coupled with tender grilled steak or chicken (get both, obviously). Then it adds fresh tomatoes, steamed green beans, and Muenster cheese before topping it off with avocado and a spicy, peppery secret sauce. The place delivers a South American classic to a Boston constituency that just eats it up. No easy feat in old-school New England. Thus is the power of the Chilean sandwich. -- ML

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Cochon Butcher

New Orleans, Louisiana

Everyone knows the muffaletta is the king of New Orleans sandwiches (don't tell po' boys we said that). What is up for debate, however, is which place in New Orleans serves the finest specimen of this gargantuan stack of mortadella, salami, mozzarella, ham, olive tapenade, and provolone on a sesame-topped loaf. Central Grocery may be the original, but the debate ends at Beard-winning chef Donald Link's Cochon Butcher, a wine bar/butcher counter combo that's got the city's best sandwich menu, muffaletta or otherwise (bacon melt, anyone?). Nothing can compare to the freshness of CB's house-cured meats, cheese, spicy olives, and soft, gloriously chewy bread. Geaux the minute you get to the city, and geaux often. -- Andy Kryza

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Domilise's Po-Boy and Bar

New Orleans, Louisiana

In sandwich-rich New Orleans, the argument over which place claims po-boy superiority can go on for days. But let's be frank here: Domilise's is very likely the best in the city, which places it among the best damn sandwiches in the country, period. The Uptown spot -- set up in an boxy, inconspicuous building with a bar and a full view of the owners working the fryer -- will very certainly have a line, but for once that line is well-earned, considering each and every shrimp or oyster po' boy is fried to order, and to perfection. The place even helps you avoid a difficult choice by letting you go half shrimp and half oyster on the same bun. Some may say it's not traditional. Those people are idiots: This place has been going for a century. At this point, everything here is a tradition. -- AK

Duckfat sandwich
Zack Bowen/Knack-Factory


Portland, Maine

Duck fat is what the signature Belgian frites are fried in at this brick-laden joint from a James Beard-winning chef, and its a base in the gravy that turns them Canadian in the poutine. Both are essential accompaniments to the place’s signature grilled paninis, which don’t so much complicate classics as expand on them, from a slow-roasted pork Cuban to a BBQ brisket that would hold up deep in the heart of Texas. And, naturally, there’s a quack sandwich in the form of the Overnight Duck Confit, loaded with miso mayo and a spicy slaw. Pair it with that poutine and a donut hole with -- yup -- duck fat caramel and you’re having duck three ways. This isn't a place that chose its name just to be cute. -- AK

El Pescador Fish Market

La Jolla, California

What was once a tiny fish shack founded and managed by teenage surfers who definitely weren't actually FBI agents in Del Mar has over the course of 32 years evolved into one of the best markets in the seafood-crazed region. Now located on La Jolla's posh Pearl Street, Pescador's an upscale seafood market with communal tables lined up in full view of the fish you will soon be inhaling. And while San Diego's famous fish tacos are on offer, the move at this sunny joint is decidedly breadier: the seafood torta. As at taco trucks, shrimp reigns supreme, but you're best going big in the form of the namesake El Pescador, which loads half of Nemo's besties -- two kinds of shrimp, house-smoked salmon, and buttery Dungeness crab – into the place's signature sourdough bun. Basically, they'll make you a seafood sandwich out of whatever fresh catch they have. And yeah, the tacos are great, too (so are entrees like grilled swordfish). But let's be real. You can get a great shrimp taco on every corner of SoCal. Dungeness crab tortas? Good luck, bruh. -- AK

Zeinab Kristen/Thrillist

Enriqueta's Sandwich Shop

Miami, Florida

Enriqueta’s makes the best Cubano in Miami. Which means it makes the best Cubano in Florida, if not the world. That's no small feat, and a designation that makes hitting up the tiny, cramped Edgewater institution a must for any sandwich seeker. But get this: You should maybe also consider not getting that Cuban in favor of its mutant cousin the medianoche with ham, pork, cheese, pickles, and mayo on sweet egg dough bread, which will forever make you question other similar sandwiches. Or the Cuban chicken sandwich stacked with lettuce, tomato, shoestring potatoes, and grilled onions. Actually, just maybe grab them all. And do it before the place closes at 4pm (get there early... there will be a line). We’re not here to judge... that’s what the people on the beach are for. -- AK

Gjusta, Los Angeles, California
Gjusta, Los Angeles, California | T.Tseng/Flickr


Los Angeles, California

Travis Lett's Gjusta was originally conceived as a Venice Beach commissary kitchen for the owners' beloved Gjelina. That kind of explains why it's a bakery that also roasts meat, makes charcuterie, smokes fish, and kind of looks like a long, brightly lit culinary museum with glass cases full of tastiness. It'd be a sin if it didn't throw the glorious meats on display (and rotating on a spit) behind the counter into one of those lovely baguettes or between croissants. Luckily, it did, and with that were born some of the best sandwiches on the West Coast. You can build your own masterpiece with house mortadella or thin-shaved roast beef, or opt for a layered bánh mì with brisket. But the real move is the house-smoked and rotisserie butcher sandwiches. When you have prime rib this tender or porchetta that manages to symphonically explode with spices, juice, and a little crunch, all you need is a little olive oil, some horseradish, and salt & pepper to make a sandwich you won't forget. It's gdelicious. (Sorry.) -- AK

John's Roast Pork Sandwich
John's Roast Pork Sandwich | T.Tseng/Flickr

John's Roast Pork

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Calling out a Philly sandwich shop whose specialty ISN'T a cheesesteak might seem like a more egregious Brotherly Love blasphemy than preferring a Dennis-less Always Sunny. But, alas, it is the right call. John's Roast Pork's specialty is... obviously... their eponymous roast pork: a truly legendary Philadelphia sandwich with sharp provolone, a surprisingly delicious sautéed spread of spinach (you read that right), and the juiciest smoked pork known to man (or beast). But even their cheesesteak, while less heralded than phillies from shops like Tony Luke's, Dalessandro’s, or Ishkabibble’s -- can hold its own against any and all contenders. So it is incredibly difficult to go wrong with any order. Unless you just get a glass of ice water and call it a night. That would be wrong. At any rate, they've been making these suckers since 1930 (it's "Pop Pop's recipe" after all) and if the continuous line that forms every day at lunchtime is any indication, it's not going anywhere, anytime soon.  For Pennsylvanians, John's is the jawn. Don't worry if you can't understand that -- people from Philly do. -- Wil Fulton

Konbi katsu sandos
Konbi, Los Angeles | Alicia Cho


Los Angeles, California

Japanese-style katsu sandos -- breaded cutlets, usually pork or chicken, dressed with tonkatsu sauce and cabbage and served on fluffy, symmetrically cut milk bread -- are having a moment in the US. And there is perhaps no purveyor with as much hype as Echo Park's Konbi. This is, after all, a tiny, 10-seat, minimalist joint with a walk-up window on a perpetually cool strip of Sunset run by alumni of Momofuku Ssäm Bar. But is it worth the ballyhoo? Duh. We wouldn't be adding to said ballyhoo otherwise. And all it takes is one bite of the impossibly tender, explosively juicy pork katsu sandwich to realize that this place packs endless flavor into the sparsest, tiniest packages. The sandwich menu is short: There are only four items, including an eggplant katsu hit with burnt-onion dashi and a gorgeous egg salad sandwich whose centerpiece bisected medium-boiled egg all but demands to be Instagrammed. The veggies, meanwhile, make a strong case for subsisting wholly on side orders, and include a standout potato salad texturized by crispy okra and carrots crudite with shishito and pistachio dip. Everything here looks remarkably simple. Nothing tastes that way. Believe the hype. -- AK

Lardo | Alan Weiner


Portland, Oregon and Las Vegas, Nevada

One of the golden children of Portland's food cart-turned-restaurant revolution, Lardo's slogan is "bringing fat back," and holy shit it's not kidding. In-house meats dominate everything from the kimchi-packed Korean pork shoulder to the old-school mortadella. Hell, even the dirty fries are loaded with crispy pork scraps. The mainstays at the original location and its Vegas offshoot are great -- the subtly spicy pork meatball bánh mì is a standout and the lemon-smacked porchetta is a certified classic – though the sandwiches here rotate as often as the beer selection (which is often). Pray for a beefy Pho'rench dip with a side of hoisin-spiked broth, or the Philly Roast Turkey, which subs poultry for pork in the classic Philly sandwich (the non-cheesesteak one) but keeps the broccoli raab. Even better, founder Rick Gencarelli lets a different big-shot chef design a sandwich each month for charity and spends his summers shilling lobster rolls: two more excellent opportunities to play a delicious game of Russian roulette with your left ventricle. -- AK

Lee's Bakery

Duluth, Georgia

Lee's has survived for over 15 years in Atlanta, which in the restaurant realm puts it somewhere near immortal. Even crazier, as "hot new restaurants" have opened and closed, Lee's has managed to seemingly get more popular each year. How? It happens to make one of the finest variations of the humble bánh mì in the US. The bread is un-clone-ably crispy, chewy, and delicious, which makes sense being that it's a bakery and all. And all that goodness between the bun would be just a cherry on top if not for the flavor you get when the pickled veggies and tender pork start going together like they're slow-dancing at their middle-school homecoming dance. It's pure love. -- Mike Jordan

Masterpiece Deli
Courtesy of Masterpiece Deli

Masterpiece Delicatessen

Denver, Colorado

Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver's most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece's bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn't one of the best sandwiches you'll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano -- loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss -- might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side. -- Lee Breslouer

Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese

Coeur D'Alene, Idaho

Much like Cleveland legend Melt Bar and Grilled, this little shop in the idyllic, tiny lake town of Coeur D'Alene takes its grilled cheese to, well, extremes. But not, like, Mountain Dew Code Red extremes. That's just too much. Consider the mainstay Ultimate Meltz special, which manages to squeeze white Cheddar, mozzarella, fontina, provolone, goat, and Gorgonzola between two slices of bread, with the extra cheese getting crispy and crunchy as it seeps out onto the grill. It handily won the 2014 National Grilled Cheese Invitational, which is definitely a thing we wish we knew about way sooner than today. But Meltz takes things to the next level with its rotating selection of mad-scientist grilled-cheese innovations that constantly change with the seasons and the chef's whims, with past creations like a curd-filled poutine sandwich seeming to have emerged from our (very Canadian) dreams and a seasonal short rib number kissed with Huckleberry BBQ sauce. You never know what'll be on offer. Just know it'll be delicious, and possible make you think of the movie Tombstone. -- AK

Millburn Deli
Millburn Deli | Courtesy of Millburn Deli/Andy Foster Photography

Millburn Deli

Millburn, New Jersey

In a state practically drowning in a sea of mom-and-pop delicatessens -- each one claiming to be the sandwich king of New Jersey -- Millburn Deli has crafted a legacy that stretches far beyond the Garden State lines. When you go to Millburn Deli, a tiny storefront on the ground floor of what could easily be your grandma's house, you definitely go for the sandwiches it's been slinging since 1947. And even though the shop changed hands in the early '90s, the Fluke family has upheld the deli's tradition as a place for consistent local cheer and even more consistent(ly delicious) sloppy Joes. Now, these probably aren't the "sloppy Joes" that conjure images of lunch lady Doris slapping ground beef and tomato sauce into a kaiser roll. They're triple-decker sandwiches stuffed with various combos of turkey, corned beef, roast beef, Virginia ham, and pretty much every other meat variation known to man... or at least Jersey. And lucky you, they'll deliver them all over the US. Good luck getting the mailman to speak in a Jersey accent, though. -- WF

Mitchell Delicatessen
Courtesy of Mitchell Delicatessen

Mitchell Delicatessen

Nashville, Tennessee

When chef David Mitchell opened his deli in 2008, he completely ran out of food on the first day. East Nashville, it seems, was hungry for all-natural, all-delicious ingredients made into beautiful sandwiches. In the ensuing near-decade, the market/restaurant has become an institution thanks to offerings like the now-legendary Asian flank steak, the clear breakout of the menu that went from a Monday-only special to a daily essential loaded with giardiniera and provolone. The spot also offers favorites like braised turkey & Brie with jalapeño cranberry relish, apples, and mustard on a hoagie and a monster of a smoked BBQ brisket, but it also caters to vegetarians, with options ranging from classic caprese to barbecue tofu with avocado, sprouts, pickled cucumber, and house-made sesame ginger dressing. -- AK

Mudgie's, Detroit | Justin Ivey


Detroit, Michigan

Corktown is Michigan's best neighborhood for boozers, and Detroit's best sandwich shop adds to that designation with its built-in wine shop and 100+ beers. But even if all the place offered to drink was tap water, it'd still be a must-eat on any sandwich pilgrimage. It takes but one bite of a Mudgie's Brooklyn sandwich -- named for the Detroit street… not everything's about you, New York -- loaded with roasted brisket, Sriracha beer cheese, and maple-glazed onions to crown the Corktown institution the king of Michigan sandwiches. In a town known for coneys, Mudgie's has been going full artisan, roasting its own corned beef for its take on the traditional Reuben (onion bun > rye bread, though it has both) AND the fish for the not-so-at-all traditional Salmon Reuben. Everything it doesn't make, it gets from local vendors. This is Detroit pride, sandwiched between buns. -- AK

Noble Sandwich Co.
Courtesy of Noble Sandwich Co.

Noble Sandwich Co.


The original location of Noble helped change the city's sandwich game when it opened up back in 2010, but now the flagship is dead, sacrificed to the BBQ gods who demand fresh blood in Austin (that's a grim way of saying the owners changed it over to Interstellar BBQ, which is also very good). But if you were a member of the cult of Noble Sandwich Co's salty duck pastrami Reubens -- and if you've ever had one, you certainly are -- you're in luck, since Noble's other location across town is still very much in perpetual duck season. And if duck's not your jam, pig definitely should, especially in the form of the Noble Pig, which is loaded with pulled pork, bacon, and ham, which we assume is the meal the Big Bad Wolf was gunning for before he got thwarted by brick architecture. Don't skip breakfast, either, lest you miss a milk biscuit hit with homemade country sausage, eggs, and black pepper gravy. Noble Sandwich is dead. Long live Noble Sandwich. -- AK

Num Pang

New York City

Num Pang -- for which we're making an exception to our no-chainlet rule despite its six NYC locations… you can thank us later -- is a sandwich shop that takes wildly disparate traditions and smacks them into semolina rolls to mind-blowing effect. Its crown jewel is the instantly iconic Pulled Duroc Pork, which seamlessly integrates the founders' Khmer roots with Southern BBQ, emerging at the smoky, spicy, sweet, acidic, and habit-forming intersection of a bánh mì and a chopped pork sandwich. Here, tiger shrimp is piled high on bread with toasted coconut flakes, five-spice pork belly pairs with the crunch of pickled Asian pear, and catfish gets a sweet soy glaze, ensuring that every bite has a different wow factor. And just when you think you know what you're getting, they'll pull out something unexpected, like when Beastie Boy/New York (grand) royalty Ad-Rock teamed up on a sandwich that could basically be described as a Cambodian Reuben. Which is to say, keep an eye on the specials board. -- AK

Pane Bianco

Phoenix, Arizona

Is anyone really surprised that one of the country’s best pizza makers also serves up next-level sandwich action? At Pane Bianco, James Beard award-winning chef Chris Bianco makes sandwiches with only one kind of bread, and boy what a bread it is -- a focaccia that's crispy and glistening with olive oil on the outside, pillow-soft on the inside. Each sandwich -- only available at lunch time -- is made on split focaccia, which is baked to order in the restaurant’s wood-fired oven. The sandwiches are then topped with ingredients like house-made mozzarella, heirloom tomatoes, and cured meats like soppressata and locally sourced chicken salad (keep an eye on the ever-changing specials board, too). Seldom have such seemingly simple, straightforward creations packed so much flavor. -- AK

Parisi, New York City | Cole Saladino/Thrillist

Parisi Bakery

New York City

If you've been to Little Italy lately, you'll know most of the old-world charm has given way to tourist traps that sell little plastic Empire State Buildings and "Italian Restaurants" with pasta that tastes like it was made out of little plastic Empire State Buildings. You don't want either of those things. But you do want Parisi Deli. Since 1903 (almost three decades before the ESB opened, by the way) Parisi has been stuffing their world famous, freshly baked bread with a delirious amount of meat and cheese from the hours of 8am to 4pm every day but Sunday. Everything is great, but the exemplary genius of the Dennis (a pastiche of prosciutto, thick-AF fried chicken cutlet, mozzarella, herbs, tomato, and a generous amount of balsamic dressing) is the sandwich of choice for nearly everyone who has worked Parisi into their life. Start spreadin' the news: this might just be the best sandwich in New York. Which puts it on the short list for best sandwich in the world. -- WF

Publican Quality Meats
Chloe List

Publican Quality Meats

Chicago, Illinois

This charcuterie-centric offshoot of Paul Kahan's game-changing temple to all things pork, beer, and shellfish has become a destination in its own right. And while the gleaming case of finely butchered meats has quite a bit to do with that, the sandwich menu looms as the largest draw. Menu options tend to come and go, but the Parm No. 2 (with fried sage, nestled into a brioche bun) will make you rethink every chicken Parm you've ever had, with a chicken cutlet so beautifully crisp and juicy you'll wonder why these guys haven't opened a chicken joint yet. The Return of the Gyro's another favorite, turning the Greek (and Chicago) mainstay on its head by way of braised pork belly topped with raita and Calabrian chili vinaigrette. It's also likely they're planning another favorite that isn't on the menu yet -- you'll just have to keep going back. That shouldn't be an issue. -- ML

Rhea's Deli & Market
Rhea's Deli & Market

Rhea's Deli & Market

San Francisco, California

It's easy to see why Rhea's might fly under the radar. To the untrained eye, it just looks like your standard bodega, complete with rows of snacks and a generic-looking glass counter covered in laminated pages each dedicated to a different sandwich option, many of them covered in hand-scrawled corrections. But the creations -- many of them named for SF's hilly streets -- are anything but generic. There are no wrong choices, but the most correct one is the celebrated Korean steak, which manages to marry fiery bulgogi with a cheesesteak, jamming soy-marinated rib-eye, Cheddar, onions, chili sauce, and garlic aioli into an Acme sweet roll. The other contender for best-in-show is the katsu sando, a generous double portion of chicken or pork loin that is lightly breaded and topped with tonkatsu sauce and a vibrant slaw full of pickled onions and peppers. Then there's the Miss Piggy, which is, unexpectedly, a vegetarian sandwich made with fake chicken. Hey, we told you things aren't what they appear here. -- AK

Secret Sandwich Society

Richmond, Virginia

Secret Sandwich Society’s secret has been out for a while for Richmonders in the know, offering a playful sandwich menu named after former presidents and its original burger combos boasting the Secret Service code names of former first families. Sandwiches like the Adams -- a Southern-inspired combo of slow roasted pork shoulder, honey butter, pickles, and pimiento cheese on brioche -- and the appropriately heartier Roosevelt made with pastrami, bacon, horseradish mayo, and cheddar will keep hungry carnivores happy while the Fillmore -- fried eggplant, spicy cherry peppers, provolone, and roasted garlic mayo on toasted baguette -- gives vegetarians something great to chew on. Seasoned fries are hand-cut, and in addition to dipping them in an array of homemade sauces -- from green goddess dressing to French onion dip -- you can order them doused in melted pimiento cheese for a proper taste of the South. Located on a bustling corner in downtown Richmond, Secret Sandwich Society harkens back to the speakeasy days of the 1920s, as evidenced by its exceptional craft cocktail and craft beer list offering many Virginia-made spirits and craft beer. Order a Citywide, a Hardywood RVA lager served with a chaser of Bowman Brother’s Virginia Straight Bourbon, and grab a seat on the outdoor patio to experience a true taste of Richmond. -- Kendra Bailey Morris

The Southern General
The Southern General

The Southern General

Johns Island, South Carolina

Finally, we arrive at a southern general that we can all agree is great, and whose legacy is not marred in any terrible historical bullshit and who doesn't immediately make us think about the political divides of our nation. This Johns Island spot's legacy is one of incredible sandwich artistry forged in fat. The Southern General is like a meat-induced fever dream of a southern comfort restaurant where everything’s made in-house and nothing is simple. Each offering is the product of fine-tuning and inspired innovation, from the sweet tea-infused BBQ sauce that covers the pulled pork to a Cuban-inspired bánh mì with candied pork belly and sweet potato-garlic kimchi. The coup de grâce, though, might be the Southern Pot Roast, which packs an entire slow cooker’s worth of sirloin, veggies, and gravy into a hoagie roll smacked with local honey. And sure, if you’re looking for something simpler, you can get that too (go with the beer-battered shrimp po-boy)... but don’t sleep on the poutine, loaded here with beer-battered mozz curds. -- AK

Stacked Sandwich Shop

Portland, Oregon

If Portland institution Bunk started the city's evolution into a haven for chef-driven sandwiches, Stacked might just represent the concept's apex. The brainchild of fine-dining vet Gabriel Pascuzzi, Stacked is an exercise in redefining classics. For proof, look no further than the joint's take on the French dip, here made with gloriously fatty braised oxtail, charred onions, and crimini mushrooms under a blanket of havarti served with rosemary au jus. Other mainstays -- a fancy meatball Parm, arguably finest smoked turkey in the Pacific Northwest -- are worthy of a trip to the off-the-beaten-path storefront in Portland's industrial zone, but don't sleep on the seasonal stuff either, which at this writing includes a take on the shrimp roll loaded with little pink Oregon bay shrimp, plus a house-stuffed lamb merguez hit with whipped chevre. Everything's made in house here, and one gets the sneaking suspicion that if these sandwiches were dissected and re-plated with their individual ingredients side-by-side, you'd be paying triple the price of admission. -- AK


Washington, DC

Sundevich's days as the under-the-radar, best-kept-secret sandwich shop are over, but that's not a bad thing. The beloved sandwich shop has now blossomed into two locations, and as it has grown, so too has its menu. The place has a long history of taking an international approach, which is a great move for the hub of Western democracy, if only because it makes for a great place for UN employees to get lunch without anyone compromising. The menu doesn't just take names of international cities, either. Each meal here is like a hand-held tour of the region its representing. The Rome is a classic Italian cold-cuts gut bomb; the Cairo crams hummus, walnuts, and brined veggies into a byb; the Kingston is loaded with jerk chicken and pineapple salad; the Shiraz is an explosion of beef tongue and pickled veggies; and the Seoul mixes bulgogi beef with slaw and kimchi. You get it.  But here's the thing: Typically, when a place throws that many global influences onto a menu, it can be a mixed bag. Here, it's international sandwich diplomacy at its most delicious. -- AK

Town Hall Deli

South Orange, New Jersey

In New Jersey, you can get a pork roll anywhere. Only at South Orange's Town Hall can you get the original Sloppy Joe, which has inspired the aforementioned Millburn Deli and countless others to aspire to greatness.It's not just a bunch of ground beef and ketchup. It's actually more akin to a triple-decker Reuben, with ham, tongue, and Swiss. If tongue makes you nervous, better not look at what goes into your go-to Manwich.Or just go with the steak sandwich or the best damn muffaletta north of the Mason-Dixon. Barring that, go with the classic Gobbler, which crams an entire Thanksgiving meal -- sides and all -- into a bun. That, to, gets sloppy. Everything here does. Have your sandwich and wear it too. -- WF

Triangle Bar

Swissville, Pennsylvania

In Pittsburghese, "yinz" is code for friends and family, "Steelers" is code for life, and "sandwich" is code for… well, food. Western PA loves their sandwiches -- this is the land of Primanti's after all. And perhaps no destination this side of the Strip combines two of Pennsylvania's most prized treasures (the dive bar and the giant sub) better than Triangle Bar. It's is the home of the Battleship: a 27-inch sub loaded with a military-grade assault of provolone, ham, salami, lettuce, tomato and onion -- topped with a heavy pour of oil and vinegar, with more than a few pinches of oregano, salt and pepper. For the weak-hearted, the Triangle features a downsized (but still huge) Destroyer and Torpedo, with spins on the original: options like fried chicken, roast beef, meatballs are available in Battleship form. But the classic -- and the 70-year-old Triangle Bar --  remains a Pittsburgh legend on par with Fred Rogers, Jerome Bettis, and copious amounts of potholes on every street. Here's to another seven decades of sandwich decadence. -- WF

Turkey and the Wolf

New Orleans, Louisiana

Yes, this is the scrappy little NOLA sandwich shop that parlayed a potato chip-topped bologna sandwich on white bread into being crowned Bon Appetit's best restaurant of 2017 a Best Chef South nomination from the James Beard Awards, but the little counter-service place that could is so much more. Chef Mason Hereford ditched fine dining to sling sandwiches that seem like they were thought up by a latchkey kid, but he couldn't leave the cheffy whims behind. It's evident in the spice and citrus imparted on the show-cooked pork shoulder he serves topped with crispy pig ears on fried roti bread. It's there in the slow-cooked collard greens he piles atop rye with picked cherry pepper dressing, and on a massive roasted sweet potato sandwich hit with whipped feta. That's what earned those accolades. This place is so much more than a ridiculous bologna sandwich. But for real, maybe get that bologna sandwich. Shit's incredible. -- AK

Un Bien

Seattle, Washington

Yes, the standout Caribbean roast is pretty much the same sandwich -- arguably Seattle's favorite thanks to caramelized onions, slow-roasted pork, aioli, cilantro, and romaine lettuce on Macrina bread -- that they used to make (and kind of still do) at Paseo, which changed hands a few years back. And yes, one of UB's locations is the same seaside shack where Paseo got its start. But this isn't some copycat operation. It's run by two of Paseo's former owner's sons using family recipes. In addition to the Caribbean roast, those recipes also include the Smokin' Thighs -- impeccably marinated chicken thighs served with pickled jalapenos -- and seared scallops cooked in EVOO and covered with garlic tapenade. Regardless of whether you're picking protein of the land, sea, air, or vegetarian variety, be sure to get those iconic onions, the smell of which will hit you within a block of the place and assume a place in your very soul. Paseo's still inarguably great. But Un Bien offers up an iconic taste of Seattle that many thought was lost to the restaurant gods. -- AK

Underground Butcher

Madison, Wisconsin

Not to sound too Rockwellian, but when was the last time you hugged your butcher? Seriously. Her or she spends hours on end carving animals into deliciousness, and the best of the best will roast or smoke the best cuts in house and serve them between slices of bread. To that end, Underground Butcher is the best of the best, a place where they'll wrap raw cuts to go, but where you're advised to take a sandwich for the road. here's Texas-style brisket paired with decidedly un-Texas (but tasty!) fixin's of kimchi and whole-grain mustard. There's their house salami on a baguette with creamy Pleasant Ridge Reserve cheese, Dijon and aioli. There's a house-made hot dog on Fridays, but that's just not a sandwich debate we're prepared to wade into at the moment. You don't have to enter this place with a "thank you" card, but you might want to. -- ML


Savannah, Georgia

The Gatsby is a beastly South African sandwich that's hard to find in the US, but Zunzi’s -- which has expanded to two locations since launching on a Savannah street corner in 2005 -- has made its name on the export, and it delivers gangster one called The Conquistador that promises an unforgettable experience with every chomp. The sandwich boasts South African influences in its signature spice blends and lip-smacking Zunzi's Sauce. Current owner Chris Smith has graciously made Zunzi's prized baked chicken, romaine lettuce, tomato, dressing, and fresh French bread combination accessible to Georgia's capital by setting up a second location in its West Midtown district. To reward its mushrooming customer base, he dishes out free Conquistadors on Zunzisfest, the 26th of each month in the ATL, honoring the letter Z (The 26th letter, ya dig?). It's so bangin', folks regularly said "shit yeah!" and the Zunzi's marketing team promoted the slogan until a legion of get-off-my-lawners ceased the playful campaign ("shit yeah" is still the shop's official mantra). Well guess what? It's still the shit, the star of a menu that includes other undeniable bangers like boerewors, bunny chow, and other sandwich variants you'd be hard pressed to find on this side of the world. -- Ale Sharpton

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Kendra Bailey Morris, Lee Breslouer, Wil Fulton, Mike JordanMatt Lynch, and Ale Sharpton contributed to this story.
Andy Kryza is a senior editor at Thrillist. His favorite sandwich of all time is the 16-inch Super Steak & Cheese from the Big John Steak & Onion... the location on Fenton Road in Flint, Michigan, specifically. Follow him to steak sauce @apkryza.
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