Skip to content

25 Best Sandwich Spots in America, According to Chefs

From iconic delis to local sub shops and bakeries, the experts weigh in on where to find the best sandwiches from coast to coast.

The extent of the sandwich universe is practically as endless as the actual universe. This is probably why everyone has so many opinions and personal preferences about what makes a good sandwich and what sets a standout sandwich spot apart from, say, Arby's.

In the past, Eat This, Not That! has compiled the best sandwich chains in America, and chefs have chimed in on some of their favorite fried chicken sandwiches and cheesesteaks. Now, it's time to go even bigger, and determine the best of the bunch nationally.

Since sandwiches are such a broad category, it should be no surprise that chefs' favorites run the gamut, from old-school delis to bodegas, sub shops, bread bakeries, and everything in between. Here are the 25 best sandwich spots in America, according to chefs.

Katz's Deli

new york katzs delicatessen
Photo: Maurice C./ Yelp

One of the most historic sandwich shops in the nation, Katz's Deli in New York City earns rightful raves from more than one expert in our polling. Stephen Parker, corporate executive chef at Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer, is a certified sandwich lover, citing breakfast counters in New Jersey, Cubanos in Miami, and roast pork sandwiches in Philadelphia as some of his staples. But Katz's is in a league of its own. "One of my favorite sandwich shops has always been Katz's Deli on the Lower East Side of New City for its old-school feel, great quality, and the history behind the restaurant as one of the city's oldest delicatessens," explains Parker, pointing out the classic pastrami on rye as his go-to.

Incidentally, that's the exact same order for Drew Shader, founder of Denver's Atomic Cowboy. "It's a classic for a reason."

 10 Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in America, According to Chefs

Small Mart Café

New Yorker sandwich from Small Mart Cafe in New Orleans
Photo: Small Mart Cafe / Yelp

From po' boys to muffulettas, New Orleans is a city with a rich sandwich history. But of all the superlative sandwiches to pick from, Melissa Araujo opts for a more underrated institution called Small Mart Café. "I love the New Yorker sandwich," says Araujo, the chef behind Big Easy outfits Alma Cafe and Saveur Catering. "We don't have great bagels in NOLA, but Small Mart makes terrific ones and the New Yorker is with smoked salmon, tomato, onion, capers, and cream cheese on a delicious bagel. It's so good and I crave it all the time."

Tommy DiNic's

tommy dinic pork roast sandwich
Photo: Tommy DiNic's/Instagram

When in Rome, do as the Romans do. Or in Mike Saperstein's case, when he's craving sandwiches in Philadelphia, he hits up Tommy DiNic's for roast pork. The chef and co-owner behind Florida's Sunshine Provisions and Charm City Burger Company, his pick is the roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe, provolone, and spicy jus. "This sandwich speaks to the food history of Philadelphia," he explains. "It is so perfectly balanced with richness from the roasted pork, bitterness from the broccoli rabe, saltiness from the provolone, and the spicy jus. It's a flavor bomb."

 25 Best Steakhouses in America, According to Chefs

The Monkey Bridge

Chicken baguette at The Monkey Bridge in Seattle
Photo: Shushi S./Yelp

The chef/owner of Coastline Burgers in Seattle, where the tagline is "the greatest buns of all time," Aaron Shepherd is a proud "bread guy" who knows a thing or two about standout sandwiches. His go-to is a banh mi, and his favorite is the lemongrass chicken from The Monkey Bridge in Seattle's Ballard neighborhood. "The lemongrass chicken is big and rich in flavor, it pushes the limit of being too much, and then the cucumber and pickled carrot show up and kick it back into balance," he explains. "In the end, you've experienced robust flavors, a bit of indulgence, but you feel great and ready to kick ass!"

Lenny's Deli

Sausage, egg and cheese breakfast sandwich on an everything bagel
Photo: Shutterstock

Another favorite of Saperstein's is the sausage, egg, and cheese on a toasted everything bagel from Lenny's Deli in Baltimore. "This one is about nostalgia," he notes. "We ate these on many mornings as a kid where I grew up in Owings Mills, Md. These types of delis are a dying breed."

 Where to Get The Best Slice of Pizza in America, According to Chefs

White House Subs

italian sub from white house subs
Photo: White House Subs / Facebook

Lastly, Saperstein throws out another recommendation for White House Subs in Atlantic City, N.J. Particularly, its Italian special. "My uncle, who really got me into food, would take me there on a day trip just to eat this sandwich," says Saperstein. "They bake the bread hourly across the street from the shop, and it's just perfect. The meats are sliced to order and are so consistently good. The hot pepper relish just hits different on this sub. There is no better Italian cold cut sub in the U.S."

Alvin Ord's

a person making a sandwich at alvin ord's
Photo: Alvin Ord's / Facebook

Alvin Ord's is an institution in Port Royal, S.C. Ashlee Houck of the local Beaufort Area Hospitality Group describes it as an "iconic sandwich shop" with a "rich history" that's become a staple in the community. "The dedicated staff, many of whom have been there for over 30 years, add to its unique charm," says Houck. "Each branch of Alvin Ord's strives to meet the high standards set by the original location, baking their bread from scratch, and using only fresh ingredients and premium deli meats."

 15 Best Tacos in America, According to Chefs

Lowcountry Cider and Superior Coffee

a chicken salad sandwich on a croissant
Photo: Lowcountry Cider

Another one of Houck's South Carolina recommendations is Lowcountry Cider and Superior Coffee, located in Beaufort. "A chicken salad sandwich is a must-try in the Lowcountry, and my absolute favorite can be found at Lowcountry Cider and Superior Coffee," she says. "Beyond the amazing service and excellent coffee, their chicken salad sandwich is something I constantly find myself craving. You can savor this delicious treat on St. Helena Island or enjoy it outdoors in downtown Beaufort along the Beaufort River."

The Foolish Frog  

a mahi mahi blt from the foolish frog
Photo: Foolish Frog / Facebook

And one last pick from Houck is The Foolish Frog, based on St. Helena Island, S.C. "The Lowcountry is known for its rich culinary traditions and delicious food, from fresh seafood to southern comfort dishes, and The Foolish Frog does just that," Houck explains. "But one sandwich that stands out among the rest is their mahi mahi BLT. There are few restaurants that offer fresh mahi mahi and pair it with bacon."

 The Best French Fries in America, According to Chefs

J28 Sandwich Bar

chicharron sandwich from j28
Photo: J28

When he's craving pork belly, Jeff Tunks turns to J28 Sandwich Bar in Hollywood, Fla. According to the executive chef of Corvina in Boca Raton, it's a Peruvian sandwich shop that serves a killer chicharron sandwich. Mad with "tender and crispy fried pork belly, soft slices of sweet potato, pickled red onions, and rocoto red chili sauce as a condiment," Tunks says that the sandwich "totally encapsulates the perfect marriage of ingredients and textures that hit all of the notes: savory, salty, sweet, acidic, spicy."

Bodega Park

Soppressata sandwich at Bodega Park in Los Angeles
Photo: Frank A. / Yelp

For a bodega-style craving in Los Angeles, Klementine Song heads to Bodega Park. "Every sandwich I have ever tried there is delicious," says Song, the chef de cuisine of Tsubaki. "The proportion of filling to bread is spot-on and impeccably seasoned." Song's favorite is the soppressata sandwich, with thinly sliced Italian cured meat, arugula, red onions, fontina, balsamic, olive oil, and artichoke hearts. "The sandwich reminds me of my favorite spot in Brooklyn, the now-closed Graham Avenue Meats & Deli. I used to walk a mile in the snow just to get their Italian meats sandwich. I think I would do the same for Bodega Park."

 The 16 Best Fried Chicken Dishes in America, According to Chefs

Sal, Kris & Charlie's Deli

a ham sandwich from sal kris and charlies deli in queens, ny
Photo: Sal, Kris & Charlie's / Facebook

For more of an old-school New York deli vibe, Chopped champion Nicholas Poulmentis heads to Sal, Kris & Charlie's Deli in Queens. "For the past 80 years, this old-school deli has been serving simple classic sandwiches," the chef explains. "They pickle ingredients in-house and prepare the sandwiches a la minute. They have all kinds of vegetables and lettuces, the bread is always fresh, and even the sodas they sell are from the oldest factories of New York City that now produce sodas for very few locations." His favorite sandwich is ham with pepper Jack cheese, mayo, iceberg lettuce, tomato, and jalapeño.

FatBelly Pretzel

a sandwich from fatbelly pretzel in Nashville, Tenn.
Photo: Fatbelly Pretzel

When he's not indulging in the Nasty Princess biscuit sandwich—with hot chicken, cheddar, and sausage gravy—at his own Biscuit Love in Nashville, Karl Worley is saving room for the hot muffuletta at local FatBelly Pretzel. "Every sandwich is like the best version of something that is nostalgic, but the hot muffuletta is one I crave weekly," he notes. "Let's not kid, I would have this four times per week if I knew my body could handle it! It is sheer sandwich perfection."

 The 21 Best Burgers in America, According to Chefs


a number three italian from lunch in bar harbor
Photo: Amanda L. / Yelp

Another one of Worley's favorites can be found at the modestly dubbed Lunch in Bar Harbor, Maine. "The #3 Italian is pure sandwich genius," he raves. "I am by no means a sandwich person, but we drive one-plus hours each way at least three times per week when we are camping in the area for this sandwich, and it never fails to hit in so many ways."


Rocco's Italian Sausages and Cheesesteaks
Photo: Rocco's Italian Sausages and Cheesesteaks / Facebook

When hankering for a meaty sandwich in Philadelphia, Jesse Ito eschews cheesesteaks for sausage—specifically, the sausage sandwich from Rocco's, which operates outposts alongside Home Depots throughout the metro. "They make the best sausage sandwich," says Ito, the chef and co-owner of Royal Sushi & Izakaya in South Philly. "Sausage, onion, and peppers are cooked on a griddle in front of Home Depot, which is great for when you come out of the store cranky. It's cash only and for $10, you get a sandwich, chips, and a drink. It's so good."

 How to Make the Best Steak Sandwich, According to Chefs

Turkey and the Wolf

a fried bologna sandwich from turkey and the wolf
Photo: TripAdvisor

When Max and Kayla Palmer are in New Orleans, they head to modern sandwich staple Turkey and the Wolf. "Without even thinking, collectively our favorite sandwich has to be the fried bologna from Turkey and The Wolf in New Orleans," say the founders of Bagelshop in Nashville. "Not only did we get engaged in New Orleans, so it has huge sentimental value, but the sandwich actually makes our mouths water just thinking about it. It has thick-cut fried bologna, American cheese, shredded iceberg lettuce, mustard, Duke's Mayo, and potato chips in the sandwich."

Ideal's Sandwich and Grocery

ideals uncle primo sandwich
Photo: Rosa L. / Yelp

Conor Delaney has a special affinity for Ideals in Durham, N.C.. "13 years ago at freshman orientation at the Culinary Institute of America I met two kids, one from Boston and one from Staten Island, that had a dream of opening their own deli," waxes Delaney, director of culinary operations at Crawford Hospitality in nearby Raleigh. "Ten years later, in the middle of the pandemic, they realized that dream and opened Ideals in Durham." What distinguishes Ideals from other sandwich places, Delaney explains, is the commitment to the craft, including "making bread for sandwiches, not sandwiches out of bread." His personal favorite is the Uncle Primo on focaccia. "It has pounded and breaded chicken cutlets, sliced prosciutto di parma, housemade mozzarella, herb mayonnaise, and arugula salad. They then griddle the sandwich until the mozzarella just starts to melt."

 12 Grocery Items You Should Never Buy Frozen, According to Chefs

P&D Oxford House of Pizza

p and d pizza grinders
Photos: P & D Pizza / Facebook

For Jarrod Moiles, director of food and beverage at PE Management Group out of Rancho Santa Fe, Cali., nostalgia is what keeps him craving P&D Oxford House of Pizza in his hometown of Oxford, Mass. "They had the best grinders (east coast for sub), and three of my favorites are the Italian, the Pepperoni, and the Souvlaki." Still a staple in the town, and still run by the same family, Moiles reminisces about walking there from school, and even working there for his first kitchen job. "I still visit every time I go home."

Tessa Deli

brisket dip from tessa deli
Photo: Adam M. / Yelp

Denver's Tessa Deli is in the regular rotation for Ni and Anna Nguyen, chefs and owners of Sap Sua. "Everything they do well, but sandwiches especially," according to the Nguyens. "The brisket dip and the chicken pesto sandwich are our two favorites!"

 The #1 Dessert at 8 Major Restaurant Chains, According to Chefs

GetRight's Bakery

getright bakery sandwich
Photo: GetRight Bakery / Facebook

Another Denver standout, according to Lucina Eatery & Bar chef/owner Erasmo Casiano, is GetRight's Bakery. "The Jambon Beurre sandwich is a French classic that captivates with its simplicity and flavor," says Casiano. "The sandwich features three key ingredients: Chef Matt's housemade crusty baguette, high-quality butter, and thinly sliced ham. That's it. No frills, just quality wrapped in wax paper."

Dot's Cafe

dots cafe breakfast sandwich
Photo: Dot's Cafe / Instagram

As both a sandwich-maker himself, and a self-described sandwich-lover, Lior Lev Sercarz — of New York City's Spice Brothers — is well-versed in the art of sandwiches. One of his local favorites is Dot's Cafe, where he goes for the namesake breakfast sandwich. "I particularly like that it is served on a homemade poppy seed roll," he notes. "The perfectly cooked runny egg and seared sausage are craveable."

 The #1 Appetizer at 10 Major Dine-In Chains, According to Chefs

Baguette De France

baguette de france sandwich
Photo: Baguette De France /

It's all about the baguette for James Galbraith, chef and owner of Houndstooth and Anemel in Southwest Michigan, as well as forthcoming PostBoy. That's what leads him, time and again, to nearby Baguette De France, where he says the baguettes are crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. "I have been going here since I would skip school in high school," he recounts. "I opt for the multi-grain with chicken and all the veggies because I like to make good choices during the day and save my not-so-good choices for after service when those late-night cravings hit." The chef adds that customers can opt for herb, curry, or garlic sauce to pair with their sandwiches. "My favorite way to eat them is to pick them up and promptly head to the lookout over Lake Michigan, and throw out a blanket picnic style with my wife and daughter."

East Fishkill Provisions Smoke Haus & Deli

east fishkill provisions sandwich
Photo: TripAdvisor

German-style deli sandwiches are the name of the game for Rich Parente, chef/owner of Clock Tower Grill in Brewster, N.Y. And when such hankerings hit, he heads to East Fishkill Provisions Smoke Haus & Deli in nearby Hopewell Junction. "They slice all of the sandwich meats to order, and they make their own smoked meats and sausages," explains Parente. "The place is a dying breed of what a deli once was—it's a true gem, and honestly it's a privilege to eat at the Smoke Haus." His go-to order is the grilled weisswurst on a fresh club roll with sauerkraut and spicy mustard. "Pro tip: you also need to grab a couple of links of landjäger sausage to stick in your pocket for later." Added bonus: while in upstate New York, stop by Parente's own Clock Tower Grill, where every Thursday is sandwich night, featuring a new unique sandwich creation each week.

 The 8 Best Olive Oils, According to Chefs

Les Ba'get

les baget sandwich
Photo: Les Baget / Instagram

When dining in Houston, Laila Bazahm opts for banh mi from Les Ba'get, calling it one of her favorite sandwiches in town. "I usually choose between the lemongrass pork or hoisin butter chicken, and you can have it on either a baguette or a croissant," says Bazahm, executive chef and owner of El Raval in Austin, Texas. "It's a simple but fantastic sandwich!"

Mama Yoshi Mini Mart

mama yoshi spicy chicken katsu sandwich
Photo: NattoRiceFurikake / reddit

Josh Pickens, head of production at Ole & Steen in New York City, is a big fan of Mama Yoshi Mini Mart in Ridgewood, Queens. "The Spicy Chicken Katsu is my absolute favorite," he says. Meanwhile, the chef offers honorable mentions for the Italian sandwich from Carmenta's, the cheesesteak from Federoff's, and the hoagies at Hoagie Haven in Princeton, N.J. "I went to Princeton for a weekend years ago and we went to Hoagie Haven late night with friends," he recalls. "I can honestly say they have some of the wildest and most perfect late-night creations, worth the calories."

Matt Kirouac
Matt Kirouac is a travel and food writer and culinary school graduate, with a passion for national parks, all things Disney, and road trip restaurants. Read more about Matt
Filed Under