Special Report

Best Independent Sandwich Shop in Every State

Courtesy of Yen's Sandwiches via Facebook

The USDA reports that 47% of U.S. adults eat a sandwich on any given day. The agency does include burgers, hot dogs, and breakfast sandwiches (on biscuits, croissants, and bagels) in their calculations – which many observers would probably say renders that percentage highly inaccurate (the subject of whether or not burgers and dogs are sandwiches is strongly contested nationwide). 

But when you consider that some people eat not one but two and maybe sometimes even three sandwiches in a day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner) – and that children and teens are major consumers of them – that number makes sense. So do the estimates from various sources that collectively we eat somewhere between 200 and 300 million sandwiches a day. 

Merriam-Webster defines “sandwich” as “two or more slices of bread or a split roll having a filling in between.” Within those terms, there are endless possibilities – classics like grilled cheese (the most popular sandwich in America, according to numerous surveys), peanut butter and jelly, the BLT and the club; meat-and-cheese-heavy subs (aka heroes, hoagies, grinders, etc.); eggy breakfast sandwiches; deli concoctions involving smoked fish, pastrami, or corned beef; international specialties (including Mexico’s torta, and Vietnam’s bánh mì), and many more. (If you’re getting hungry right now, see this list of 24 iconic sandwiches you can make at home.)

By one metric, sandwiches of the non-burger variety are more popular than burgers themselves: The largest fast food operation in America, in terms of numbers of locations, is Subway, with close to 21,000 outlets around the country – compared with a mere 13,500 or so for second-place McDonalds.

In fact, whether it’s a Subway or not, chances are pretty good that there’s at least one sandwich chain doing business near you – if not the leader, then maybe Quizno’s, Jimmy John’s, Arby’s, Jersey Mike’s, Panera Bread…

But there are also independent sandwich shops all across the land, and they offer some advantages the big guys don’t. For one thing, they probably spend more time (and money) sourcing their raw materials. For another, they offer greater variety, perhaps creating delicious but unusual specialties that no chain could sell to the masses. And while a cold cut combo at Subway will likely taste the same from Seattle to Miami, every Italian deli version will be a little bit different and probably better.  

Click here for a listing of the best independent sandwich shop in every state

To identify the best independent sandwich shop – including delis, diners, or cafés that make sandwiches a specialty – in every state, 24/7 Tempo consulted reviews and ratings on a wide range of culinary and general interest websites, including Thrillist, The Daily Meal, Eater, Delish, Far & Wide, and Yelp, as well as local and regional sites. While a few of the places chosen may have more than one location, none are chains, even on a modest local level. (If you’re a deli fan, see this list of the best deli in every state.)

Source: Photo by Shawn D. via Yelp

Alabama: The Peppered Pig
> Location: Huntsville
> Sample sandwiches: Blackened salmon BLT, Country Boy (beer-batter fried chicken, peppered bacon, Colby cheese, collard greens)

Source: Photo by Deanna H. via Yelp

Alaska: DW Grill & Catering
> Location: Fairbanks
> Sample sandwiches: Crispy zesty Cajun chicken, spinach dip turkey panini

Source: Courtesy of The Subslingers via Facebook

Arizona: The Subslingers
> Location: Apache Junction
> Sample sandwiches: The Triple (ham, turkey, roast beef), The Rodeo (Buffalo chicken, bacon, avocado)

Source: Courtesy of Jimmy's Serious Sandwiches via Facebook

Arkansas: Jimmy’s Serious Sandwiches
> Location: Little Rock
> Sample sandwiches: Pork loin and Swiss, The Garden (Swiss, cheddar, provolone, mushrooms, sunflower seeds, spinach pâté)

Source: csfotoimages / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

California: Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery
> Location: Santa Monica
> Sample sandwiches: The Godmother (prosciutto, cooked ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, provolone), marinated tri-tip

Source: Courtesy of Curtis Park Delicatessen via Facebook

Colorado: Curtis Park Delicatessen
> Location: Denver
> Sample sandwiches: Fish (smoked rainbow trout, house-made aïoli, blue cheese), The Park (fried egg, prosciutto, white cheddar, house-made butter)

Source: Courtesy of Press On Sandwich Crafters, LLC via Facebook

Connecticut: Press On Sandwich Crafters
> Location: North Stonington
> Sample sandwiches: Robin’s Minstrel (roast turkey, herb aïoli, smoked gouda, apple-yam chutney), Holy Hand Grenade (Buffalo chicken, dry spicy salami, chunky blue cheese, pickled jalapeños)

Source: Courtesy of Ioannoni's Specialty Sandwiches via Facebook

Delaware: Ioannoni’s Specialty Sandwiches
> Location: New Castle
> Sample sandwiches: Roast beef and coleslaw with Russian dressing, roast pork supremo (with broccoli rabe and sharp provolone)

Source: Courtesy of D'Best Sandwich Shop via Facebook

Florida: D’Best Sandwich Shop
> Location: Boca Raton
> Sample sandwiches: Lincoln Tunnel cheese steak (with onions, peppers, mushrooms, and provolone), D’Eggplant (roasted eggplant and red peppers with mozzarella and basil)

Source: Courtesy of The Best Sandwich Shop via Yelp

Georgia: The Best Sandwich Shop
> Location: Atlanta
> Sample sandwiches: Fresh basket ricotta scramble on toast, Schnitzelbrotchen (breaded chicken cutlet, arugula, shaved parmesan, lemon vinaigrette)

Source: Courtesy of Poi Dog Deli via Facebook

Hawaii: Poi Dog Deli
> Location: Kailua-Kona (Big Island)
> Sample sandwiches: Cajun curry chicken salad, Notorious P.I.G. (hickory-smoked ham, pepper jack cheese, pineapple, sliced jalapeños)

Source: Photo by Lemon Tree Co. via Yelp

Idaho: Lemon Tree Co.
> Location: Boise (3 locations)
> Sample sandwiches: Sausage and pear, salami and artichoke

Source: Photo by Firenze Italian Street Food via Yelp

Illinois: Firenze Italian Street Food
> Location: Chicago
> Sample sandwiches: Truffle prosciutto, roasted veggie

Source: Photo by Teddy D. via Yelp

Indiana: Subito
> Location: Indianapolis
> Sample sandwiches: Revelo (mojo-marinated pork shoulder, caramelized onion, pickled jalapeño, Swiss cheese), Poeta (deli-sliced turkey, Tillamook cheddar, roasted garlic and sun-dried tomato aïoli)

Source: Courtesy of Manhattan Deli via Facebook

Iowa: Hansen’s Manhattan Deli
> Location: Des Moines
> Sample sandwiches: Classic New York pastrami, The Chi-Iowa (Italian beef, capicola, hot pepper jack cheese, homemade giardiniera)

Source: Photo by Jayla B. via Yelp

Kansas: Kimlan Sandwiches
> Location: Wichita
> Sample sandwiches: KIMLAN’s Combination bánh mì (pork roll, BBQ pork, meatball, pickled carrots, jalapeños), grilled chicken bánh mì

Source: Courtesy of Wallace Station Deli and Bakery via Facebook

Kentucky: Wallace Station
> Location: Versailles
> Sample sandwiches: Fried Kentucky catfish, Inside Out Hot Brown (roast turkey, ham, bacon, tomato, white cheddar mornay)

Source: Courtesy of Mattie W. via Yelp

Louisiana: La Boulangerie
> Location: New Orleans
> Sample sandwiches: Le Fromager (brie, apple, pepper jelly), croque monsieur

Source: Courtesy of The Local Press via Facebook

Maine: The Local Press
> Location: Portland
> Sample sandwiches: Freshie (lemon-garlic hummus, sprouts, avocado, tomato, red onion, spinach, cucumber, Swiss cheese), Goodlife panini (prosciutto, ham, fig jam, Amish blue cheese, provolone)

Source: Courtesy of Vagabond Sandwich Company via Facebook

Maryland: Vagabond Sandwich Co.
> Location: Bel Air
> Sample sandwiches: Crab cheddar grilled cheese, Mahalo Maui (blackened mahi mahi, avocado, mango salsa, sriracha aïoli)

Source: Courtesy of Mamaleh's Delicatessen via Facebook

Massachusetts: Mamaleh’s
> Location: Boston, Brookline, Cambridge
> Sample sandwiches: L.E.O. (lox, eggs, caramelized onions), Mamaleh’s beef tongue

Michigan: Zingerman’s Delicatessen
> Location: Ann Arbor
> Sample sandwiches: Rodger’s Big Picnic (oven-roasted asparagus, seared Michigan mushrooms, cheddar), Bob & Roz’s Fiesta (grilled Amish chicken breast, Wisconsin muenster, fire-roasted New Mexico chiles, house-made roasted red pepper spread

Source: Courtesy of Manny's Tortas via Facebook

Minnesota: Manny’s Tortas
> Location: Minneapolis
> Sample sandwiches: Milanesa (breaded steak, cheese, avocado, japaneños, refried beans, chipotle mayo), The 3 Little Pigs (pork loin, ham, bacon, cheese, avocado, jalapeños, refried beans, chipotle mayo)

Source: Courtesy of T&D Sandwich Shop The Hollow via Facebook

Mississippi: T&D’s Sandwich Shop
> Location: Canton
> Sample sandwiches: Tuna, almond, & cheese; teriyaki chicken bánh mì

Source: Photo by Ralphie S. via Yelp

Missouri: Bay Boy Specialty Sandwiches
> Location: Kansas City
> Sample sandwiches: The Wiz (thick-cut bacon bananas, Nutella, peanut butter), BLAT (bacon, lettuce, avocado, tomato)

Source: Photo by Joe D. via Yelp

Montana: Montana Sub Shop
> Location: Great Falls
> Sample sandwiches: Twodot (smoked turkey, roast beef, double muenster cheese), Lincoln (pepperoni, provolone)

Source: jetcityimage / iStock Editorial via Getty Images

Nebraska: McAlister’s Deli
> Location: Lincoln
> Sample sandwiches: Grilled chicken club, four-cheese melt (provolone, American, Swiss, parmesan, tomato)

Source: Courtesy of Woods Family Sandwiches via Facebook

Nevada: Woods Family Sandwiches
> Location: Henderson
> Sample sandwiches: Blazing Buffalo Crunchy Sub (Buffalo chicken, fried onions, blue cheese), turkey pesto melt

Source: Courtesy of Sub Station via Facebook

New Hampshire: Sub Station
> Location: Hooksett
> Sample sandwiches: Seafood salad sub, Italian sausage sub

Source: Photo by Benjamin W. via Yelp

New Jersey: Second Street Bakery
> Location: Jersey City
> Sample sandwiches: Spicy Italian sausage and eggs, meatball parmigiana

Source: Courtesy of Sam R. via Yelp

New Mexico: Mucho
> Location: Santa Fe
> Sample sandwiches: Spinach ‘n’ Egg Classic (egg salad, bacon spinach, bleu cheese dressing, Italian sauce), Southwest chipotle chicken (grilled chicken breast, bacon, ghost pepper jack cheese, spicy chipotle ranch dressing)

Source: Courtesy of DeFonte's Sandwich Shop via Facebook

New York: Defontes
> Location: Brooklyn
> Sample sandwiches: Corned beef & Swiss, Enzo Special (roast beef, broccoli rabe, hot salad)

Source: Courtesy of Merritt's Grill via Facebook

North Carolina: Merritt’s Store & Grill
> Location: Chapel Hill
> Sample sandwiches: Pimento cheese, triple BLT

Source: Photo by Magic City H. via Yelp

North Dakota: Magic City Hoagies
> Location: Minot
> Sample sandwiches: Brisket & cheese, chicken bacon Caesar

Source: Courtesy of Herb'n Twine via Facebook

Ohio: Herb’n Twine
> Location: Cleveland
> Sample sandwiches: Vegetable (roasted sweet potato, smoked tomato, manchego cheese, pickled onion, sunflower sprouts, chimichurri), chorizo meatball with smoked mole rojo and mozzarella

Source: Courtesy of Neptune Submarine Sandwiches via Facebook

Oklahoma: Neptune Submarine Sandwiches
> Location: Oklahoma City
> Sample sandwiches: Chicken fajita sub, Old Italian sub (Genoa salami, deli ham, Italian cheese, spiced Italian dressing)

Source: Courtesy of Natasha K. via Yelp

Oregon: Mike’s Original Sub Factory
> Location: Portland
> Sample sandwiches: Thai chicken sub, Wrecker (AKA Gut Bomb) (ham, cotto salami, bologna, pastrami, pepperoni, provolone)

Source: Courtesy of Triangle Bar & Grill via Facebook

Pennsylvania: Triangle Bar & Grill
> Location: Pittsburgh
> Sample sandwiches: Butcher Boy (fried bologna), Battleship (ham, salami, provolone on a 24-inch roll)

Source: Courtesy of Ocean State Sandwich via Facebook

Rhode Island: Ocean State Sandwich Co.
> Location: Providence
> Sample sandwiches: Apple Tree Chicken Salad (house-made, with diced apple, dill, dried cranberries, celery), tuna melt

Source: Courtesy of Alvin Ord's of Bluffton via Facebook

South Carolina: Alvin Ord’s of Bluffton
> Location: Bluffton
> Sample sandwiches: Cheese Salvation (cheddar, mozzarella, parmesan), roast beef and turkey with three toasted cheeses

Source: Courtesy of Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen via Facebook

South Dakota: Bread & Circus Sandwich Kitchen
> Location: Sioux Falls
> Sample sandwiches: Curried cauliflower, walleye fish cake bánh mì

Source: Courtesy of Rae's Gourmet via Facebook

Tennessee: Rae’s Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe
> Location: Nashville
> Sample sandwiches: Rae’s Cuban, Monte Cristo

Source: Photo by Nicole F. via Yelp

Texas: Otherside Deli
> Location: Austin
> Sample sandwiches: Corned beef, habanero chicken cheese steak

Source: Courtesy of Feldman's Deli

Utah: Feldman’s Deli
> Location: Salt Lake City
> Sample sandwiches: Trisha (turkey, Swiss, coleslaw), The Shop Kid (roast beef & provolone on rye)

Source: Photo by Franklin H. via Yelp

Vermont: The Sandwich Shoppe
> Location: Rutland
> Sample sandwiches: The Big Robin (grilled chicken salad, cheddar, bacon), The Hawaiian Club (seafood salad, turkey, bacon)

Source: Photo by Guilherme M. via Yelp

Virginia: Sam’s Texas Sub Shop
> Location: Norfolk
> Sample sandwiches: Four Horsemen (slow-roasted brisket, cheddar, hot pepper relish), Our Famous Almost 2 Lb. Meatball Sub

Source: Courtesy of Linda N. via Yelp

Washington: My’s Vietnamese Sandwiches & Deli
> Location: Seattle
> Sample sandwiches: Sardine in tomato sauce bánh mì, BBQ lemongrass tofu bánh mì

Source: Courtesy of Yen's Sandwiches via Facebook

West Virginia: Yen’s Sandwiches
> Location: South Charleston
> Sample sandwiches: Marinated tuna bánh mì, shredded pork and shredded pork skin with fish sauce bánh mì

Source: Courtesy of CC Sandwiches via Facebook

Wisconsin: CC Sandwiches
> Location: Cambridge
> Sample sandwiches: Liverwurst, Apple Grilled Cheesy (Granny Smith apples, cheddar)

Source: Courtesy of Saratoga Sandwich Company via Facebook

Wyoming: Saratoga Sandwich Company
> Location: Saratoga
> Sample sandwiches: Rancher (London broil roast beef, white cheddar), French onion grilled cheese

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