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7 Sandwich Chains That Hand-Slice Meat For Every Order

Fresh meat, never frozen or shipped pre-sliced.
FACT CHECKED BY Meaghan Cameron

Cold-cut deli sandwiches are a classic lunch idea, offering a wide variety of options and combinations while keeping you full all afternoon. While deli meat is not always the healthiest protein choice out there, it is hard to beat the convenience of a sandwich. In an ongoing quest to improve the quality of the foods we eat, consumers would agree that sandwich shops that take the time to hand-slice meat fresh for each order are preferred over chains that get pre-sliced meat delivered to their restaurants ahead of time.

That consumer preference is more than just the idea of freshness and a perceived better taste; hand-sliced meat can be better for you, too. According to the Cleveland Clinic, freshly-sliced deli meat is going to be generally better for your sandwich than pre-packaged meat due to the fact that the latter is often packed with more preservatives. The nitrates that you will still find in fresh deli meat is naturally-occurring, but when it comes to the lesser of two evils, freshly-sliced meat will win out over pre-packaged slices or any sliced meat that has been heavily processed.

Even the sandwich mega-chain Subway is recognizing this growing preference for freshly-sliced meat, so they recently announced that pre-sliced meat will soon be a thing of the past, opting instead for deli slicers to be added to their restaurants. But before Subway can get to that point in its operations, there are a number of other chains that already use hand-sliced meat in every sandwich order.

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Jersey Mike's

jersey mikes hand-slice
Jersey Mike's Subs / Facebook

There is no question that the sandwiches you order at Jersey Mike's will include hand-sliced meat that is prepared fresh with every sandwich order. In fact, Jersey Mike's even advertises their subs as "freshly sliced cold subs," where your choice of meat is "sliced fresh in front of you." Don't expect to find any pre-packaged slices here.


togos sandwich chain
Togo's Sandwiches / Facebook

If you live in California, chances are you have driven past a Togo's at some point. As its social media posts would indicate, Togo's hand-slices the meat that comes served on its sandwiches, which range from cheesesteaks and pastramis to every turkey combination you could imagine. Its website notes that the meat served at Togo's is sliced daily, meaning that each bite is as fresh as it gets.


potbelly sandwiches
Potbelly Sandwich Works / Facebook

In the world of sandwich chain aficionados, many would claim that none is more superior than Potbelly. Originally founded in Chicago, Potbelly is almost like a rite of passage experience if you find yourself in a city that has one. The meat on all of Potbelly's sandwiches is all hand-sliced, including its newer menu additions like the Avo Turkey that was added to the menu in 2021 (via Thrillist).

Jimmy John's

jimmy john's hand-slice meat
Jimmy John's / Facebook

Not to be outdone by the competition, Jimmy John's has grown into one of the larger and more widely-known sandwich chains in the country, but that has not stopped its commitment to fresh ingredients served in its restaurants. Jimmy John's states on its website that its employees hand-slice its meat "in-house every day," offering a higher-quality sandwich than one you would find that was made with pre-sliced, pre-packaged meat.


blimpie sandwich
Blimpie America's Sub Shop / Facebook

Fans of Blimpie would be the first ones to say that it is worth the short wait to get your sandwich. This is due to the fact that all of the meat is sliced to order, so your lunch may take a couple of extra minutes to prepare. But wouldn't you rather wait an extra minute or two knowing your sandwich was being made with the freshest ingredients possible?


Publix deli
Publix / Facebook

Who doesn't love a good Pub Sub? If you are unfamiliar with the concept, ask anyone in the South that lives near a Publix to tell you their go-to sandwich order. The grocery store chain has one of the most beloved, fan-favorite sandwiches made fresh for each customer, and since the subs come directly from the deli, its freshly-sliced deli meat is a key part of the equation.

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Cousins Subs

Cousins Subs
Cousins Subs / Facebook

Cousins Subs is based out of Milwaukee, Wis. and boasts all things fresh. In addition to its freshly-baked bread, Cousins Subs also wants its customers to know that its meat is sliced daily and its vegetables are chopped each day, too. If you live in the Midwest or you find yourself traveling through the area, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for a Cousins Subs.

Carly Neil
Carly Neil is a freelance writer specializing in all things food, travel, Disney, and theme parks. Read more about Carly