20 Best Sandwich Shops in America
If you’re short on time and need a filling and delicious meal on the go, there’s nothing better than a sandwich. They are easy to carry around and endlessly customizable. If you’re on the hunt for your new favorite sandwich place, I’ve got you covered.
Here are the best sandwich chains in the US that are worth visiting. These sandwich shops offer everything from submarines to wraps to paninis, so there’s something for everyone on this list.
Blimpie is a deli-style sandwich chain specializing in submarine sandwiches. There are over 150 Blimpie locations in the US.
The first Blimpie was founded in 1964 by three best friends in Hoboken, New Jersey. Blimpie got its name because the founders weren’t too keen on using the word “hoagie” to describe their sandwiches. They began to look through the dictionary for a better word and settled on “blimp” because their generously sized sandwiches resembled blimps.
The signature item on the Blimpie menu is their subs, some of which are served deli-style or cold, and others are served hot.
One of the most extravagant deli subs at Blimpie is the Blimp, a massive submarine sandwich made from turkey, roast beef, prosciuttini, salami, pepperoni, provolone, sweet peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onion, mayo, vinegar, oil, and oregano.
Another popular Blimpie sub is their Meatball Parmigiana, a hot submarine sandwich made with Italian beef and pork meatballs, zesty marinara sauce, melted provolone cheese, and a sprinkle of Parmesan on top.
In addition to submarines, Blimpie also serves paninis and wraps.
Subway is one of the most popular and ubiquitous fast food chains specializing in sandwiches. There are almost 21,000 Subway locations in the US.
The first Subway was opened in 1965 by teenager Fred DeLuca and nuclear physicist Dr. Peter Buck in Bridgeport, Connecticut. Subway’s original name was “Peter’s Super Submarines” and wasn’t changed to “Subway” until 1968.
Subway’s menu offers a variety of customizable sandwiches, including submarines, melts, and wraps.
One popular sub at Subway is Spicy Italian, which is made from pepperoni and Genoa salami. Like all of Subway’s sandwiches, you can customize your Spicy Italian by choosing your own bread, cheese, toppings, sauces, and seasonings.
18. Atlanta Bread Company
Atlanta Bread Company is a Georgia-based, fast-casual bakery and cafe chain serving a wide variety of delicious sandwiches. They have 13 locations in Georgia, New Jersey, North Carolina, Oklahoma, and South Carolina.
The first Atlanta Bread Company opened in Sandy Springs, Georgia, in 1993. Every one of their locations freshly bakes its bread each morning.
Atlanta Bread Company’s menu features three kinds of sandwiches: signature, classic, and paninis.
One of their most popular sandwiches is the ABC, made with roast beef, turkey, ham, provolone, pepperoncini, mayo, spicy mustard, lettuce, tomato, and red onion on a French baguette.
Another famous classic sandwich is the Chicken Salad, made with chicken salad, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mayonnaise, and spicy mustard on sourdough.
They serve sandwiches with a side of kettle chips or a pickle spear. You can also order a half sandwich and combine it with a half serving of one of their delicious soups or salads.
Schlotzsky’s is a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in sandwiches and pizza. They have almost 350 locations in 25 states.
The first Schlotzsky’s was opened in 1971 in Austin, Texas. From the beginning, Schlotzsky’s has prided itself on serving bread baked fresh daily, and sandwiches and pizza always made to order.
There are a dozen different sandwiches on Schlotzsky’s menu. But their signature sandwich is the Original, made from shaved ham, Cotto and Genoa salami, tomato, lettuce, red onion, black olives, mozzarella, cheddar, Parmesan, yellow mustard, and Schlotzsky’s signature sauce, all on a toasted sourdough bun.
For more variety, you can choose Schlotzsky’s “Pick2” option, which allows you to pair a sandwich with one of their fresh salads, signature soups, gourmet pizzas, or artisan flatbreads.
16. Firehouse Subs
Firehouse Subs is a firefighter-themed fast-casual restaurant specializing in submarine sandwiches. There are over 1,200 Firehouse Subs locations in 48 states.
The first Firehouse Subs was opened by brothers and former firefighters Chris and Robin Sorenson in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1994.
Firehouse Subs is dedicated to giving back to firefighters—a portion of all purchases from them goes to the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, which provides life-saving equipment to first responders, including firefighters.
There are over a dozen delicious subs on the Firehouse Subs menu that can be served hot or cold. One of their most popular subs is the Firehouse Meatball, made with Italian meatballs, provolone cheese, marinara sauce, and Italian seasoning. You can modify your Firehouse Meatball to be “sweet & spicy,” so it’ll also come seasoned with hot sauce and pepper flakes.
You can also build your own sub, choosing from various sandwich fillings, including smoked turkey breast, premium roast beef, grilled chicken breast, Virginia honey ham, veggie, and tuna salad.
Quiznos is one of the most recognizable sandwich chains in the US, with over 175 locations. Their first location opened in 1981 in Denver, Colorado.
The Quiznos menu features around 20 different submarine sandwiches. One of the most popular sandwiches at Quiznos is the classic Italian, made from pepperoni, salami, spicy capicola, smoked ham, melted provolone, black olives, lettuce, tomato, onion, banana peppers, and red wine vinaigrette on a toasted bun.
Two of Quiznos’ most popular sandwich varieties, classic Italian and mesquite chicken, are also available as sammies, served on a toasted flatbread instead of a traditional submarine bun.
You can choose to pair any of Quiznos’ subs or sammies with a serving of one of their sandwiches or soups.
14. Which Wich
Which Wich is a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in sandwiches and salads. They have over 400 locations in 36 states.
The first Which Wich opened in Dallas, Texas, in 2003. In 2010, the franchise made national headlines after a customer dislocated his jaw trying to take a bite of one of their double-meat Wicked sandwiches.
The Which Wich menu features over a dozen delicious sandwiches, but their signature is the Wicked sandwich. It includes turkey, ham, roast beef, pepperoni, bacon, cheddar, provolone, pepper jack, lettuce, tomato, red onions, and mayonnaise.
You can also build your own sandwich, or, if you’re cutting on carbs, build a Bowlwich, made with the sandwich fillings in a bowl and no bread.
Arby’s is a fast food chain best known for its roast beef sandwiches and curly fries. There are over 3,400 Arby’s locations in the US.
The first Arby’s was opened by Forrest and Leroy Raffel in Boardman, Ohio, in 1964. Unlike other fast food restaurants, which focused on selling hamburgers, Arby’s distinguished itself by selling roast beef sandwiches instead.
Arby’s sells many variations on the roast beef sandwich, but their signature is the Classic Roast Beef. It’s made with thinly sliced roast beef on a sesame seed bun and is available in a classic size, a double size, or a whopping half-pound size if you’re extra hungry.
In addition to roast beef, Arby’s also offers other sandwiches, perfect for those who don’t eat red meat or just don’t like roast beef.
One of the most popular sandwiches at Arby’s is the Roast Turkey & Swiss Sandwich, made with roast turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, red onion, tomato, mayonnaise, and spicy brown mustard on honey wheat bread.
12. McAlister’s Deli
McAlister’s Deli is a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in classic deli food, including sandwiches. There are over 500 McAlister’s Deli locations in 28 states.
The first McAlister’s Deli was opened by a retired dentist in Oxford, Mississippi, in 1989.
The McAlister’s Deli menu features over two dozen delicious sandwiches, including six different takes on the classic club sandwich.
Their signature sandwich is the McAlister’s Club, made from smoked turkey, Black Forest ham, bacon, sharp cheddar, Swiss, spring mix, tomato, mayo, and McAlister’s honey mustard on toasted wheat bread.
Like all of McAlister’s sandwiches, the McAlister’s Club comes with your choice of a side, including:
- Steamed broccoli
- Potato salad
- Mac & cheese
- Fresh fruit
- Cucumber & tomato salad
- Side Caesar salad
- Side garden salad
- Cup of soup
You can also pick the “Choose Two” option at McAlister’s, which allows you to pair a half serving of your favorite sandwich with a half salad, half spud (like a loaded baked potato), a cup of soup, or half serving of nachos.
11. Jason’s Deli
Jason’s Deli is a fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in deli food and has almost 250 locations in 27 states.
The first Jason’s Deli opened in Beaumont, Texas, in 1976. In 2005, the chain became one of the first restaurants to remove artificial trans fats from its food. Their food is also free of processed MSG, high-fructose corn syrup, dyes, artificial colors, and flavors.
There are 20 different sandwiches on the Jason’s Deli menu, including the delicious California Club.
The California Club is made from roasted turkey breast, bacon, Swiss, guacamole, tomato, organic field greens, and mayonnaise on a toasted croissant. It comes with a side of fresh fruit, steamed veggies, baked chips, or blue corn chips and salsa.
You can also build your own sandwich, choosing your meat, bread, spreads, cheese, and add-ons.
In addition, Jason’s Deli serves delicious muffalettas, a combination of classic Italian and New Orleans cuisine, made from your choice of meat, olive spread, and melted provolone on grilled muffaletta bread.
10. Publix Deli
Publix Deli is available in certain Publix grocery stores and serves cult-favorite submarine sandwiches. Unfortunately, not all Publix grocery stores sell sub sandwiches in their delis, so be sure to call your local Publix in advance to make sure they have subs.
Although the selection of subs at Publix Delis varies, the sandwiches available usually include the Publix Chicken Tender Sub, the Boar’s Head Italian Sub, and the Boar’s Head Roast Beef Sub.
The Publix Chicken Tender Sub is a fan favorite and is made from Publix’s double hand-breaded chicken tenders, your choice of cheese, and veggie toppings on a white or wheat roll.
The Boar’s Head Italian Sub is another popular choice at Publix. It’s made with Genoa salami, tavern ham, capicola, provolone cheese, and your choice of veggie toppings on either a white or wheat roll.
9. Einstein Bros
Einstein Bros is a bakery and cafe chain specializing in bagels. There are almost 700 Einstein Bros locations in the US.
The bakers at Einstein Bros arrive at 2 a.m. every morning to get a head start on baking fresh bagels for the day. Throughout the day, they bake new bagels every four hours, so no matter when you arrive at the restaurant, you can rest assured that your bagel will be fresh.
Einstein Bros’ bagels form the basis of their delicious breakfast sandwiches. One of their most popular breakfast sandwiches is the All-Nighter, made with American cheese, bacon, cage-free eggs, and jalapeno garlic aioli on a cheesy hash brown gourmet bagel.
Einstein Bros also offers a variety of lunch sandwiches made with bagels. One of their most classic lunch sandwiches is the Nova Lox, made with schmear, red onion, capers, tomato, and cold-smoked Nova Lox salmon on your choice of bagel.
8. Jimmy John’s
Jimmy John’s is one of the most popular sandwich chains with over 2,700 locations in the US.
The first Jimmy John’s was opened in Charleston, Illinois, in 1983. That first location served four different sandwiches: the Pepe, the Totally Tuna, the Turkey Tom, and the Vito, which are all still part of Jimmy John’s menu today.
Of course, since then, the Jimmy John’s menu has expanded to include over two dozen sandwiches. One of their best sandwiches is the Billy Club, made from hand-sliced roast beef, smoked ham, provolone cheese, mayo, Dijon mustard, lettuce, and tomato.
Like all of Jimmy John’s sandwiches, the Billy Club is available on 8” or 16” French bread, thick-sliced wheat bread, or a lettuce wrap.
If you’re not super hungry, Jimmy John’s also offers a variety of Little Johns, which are mini sandwiches that are perfect for a snack or as a kids’ meal.
7. Jersey Mike’s
Jersey Mike’s is a sandwich chain specializing in East Coast-style submarine sandwiches. There are over 2,300 Jersey Mike’s locations in the US.
Their first location was opened under the name “Mike’s Subs” in Point Pleasant, New Jersey, in 1956. From the beginning, their signature submarine sandwiches have been served “Mike’s Way,” with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, and a delicious blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and spices.
The Jersey Mike’s menu features both hot and cold subs. One of their most popular cold subs is the Jersey Shore’s Favorite, made with provolone, ham, and cappacuolo and is served “Mike’s Way.”
One of the most popular hot subs at Jersey Mike’s is Mike’s Famous Philly, made with steak, grilled onions, peppers, and white American cheese.
If you’re extra hungry, you can order a meal at Jersey Mike’s and pair your sub with chips and a drink.
6. Pret a Manger
Pret a Manger is a British-based fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in sandwiches and coffee. There are nearly 50 Pret a Manger locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Washington, and Washington DC.
The first Pret a Manger was opened in London, England, in 1986. From the beginning, Pret a Manger’s specialties have been freshly made food and organic coffee.
The Pret a Manger menu features 20 different sandwiches, from wraps to cold sandwiches to grilled cheeses. One of their most popular sandwiches is the Egg Salad & Arugula Sandwich, made with cage-free egg salad and arugula on multigrain bread.
If you’re not a fan of egg salad, you can try the Famous Ham & Cheese Baguette. This sandwich is made with Niman Ranch applewood smoked ham, Swiss cheese, mesclun greens, and whole grain mustard mayo on a freshly baked baguette.
Così is a fast-casual restaurant chain that serves a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and flatbreads. There are over 25 Così locations in Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington DC.
Drew Harré opened the first Così in 1989 in Paris, France. Harré named the restaurant Così after his favorite opera, Così fan Tutte.
The Così menu features over a dozen different sandwiches and melts. One of their most popular melts is the Pesto Chicken, made with chicken, fresh mozzarella, pesto, and sun-dried tomato spread.
Another famous sandwich at Così is the Turkey Avocado, made with turkey, tomatoes, arugula, and ranch dressing.
If you want more variety, you can also take advantage of their “Taste Two” option, which combines a mini sandwich with a cup of soup or regular salad.
Potbelly is a Midwestern fast-casual restaurant chain specializing in submarine sandwiches, salads, soups, and milkshakes. They have over 400 locations in 31 states.
The first Potbelly Sandwich Shop was opened by Peter Hastings in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, in 1977. Hastings already owned an antique shop before opening Potbelly, and the restaurant got its name from the antique “potbelly stove” that stood in the original location.
There are almost 20 different sandwiches on the Potbelly menu. One of their most popular options is A Wreck, an extravagant sandwich made with turkey breast, hickory smoked ham, Angus roast beef, salami, and Swiss cheese.
Like all of Potbelly’s sandwiches, A Wreck can be served on white, multigrain, or flatbread. The toppings on your sandwich are customizable and include mayo, mustard, hot peppers, lettuce, onions, tomato, pickles, oil, Italian seasoning, and horseradish aioli.
You can also choose the “Pick-your-Pair” option, which allows you to pair any of Potbelly’s skinny sandwiches with a cup of soup or a half serving of salad.
3. Au Bon Pain
Au Bon Pain is a bakery and cafe chain that serves baked goods, sandwiches, soups, and salads. They have nearly 90 locations in 21 states.
The first Au Bon Pain was opened by Louis Kane in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1978. Au Bon Pain was one of the first bakery chains to put their ovens in full view of customers, so visitors could see the process of bread-baking.
There are nearly 20 different sandwiches on the Au Bon Pain menu, including hot, cold, and wrap options. One of their most popular hot sandwiches is the Toasted Chicken and Avocado. It’s made with chicken, hardwood smoked bacon, avocado, tomatoes, field greens, and basil aioli on toasted semolina bread.
Another famous cold sandwich at Au Bon Pain is the Original Chicken Salad, which is made with chicken, cranberries, toasted almonds, mayo, tomatoes, and field greens on a toasted croissant.
Au Bon Pain also has a popular vegetarian wrap named the Mediterranean, made with hummus, avocado, kalamata olives, feta, tomatoes, red bell peppers, cucumber, romaine lettuce, field greens, and lemon vinaigrette in a whole wheat wrap.
2. Panera Bread
Panera Bread is one of the most popular bakery and cafe chains in the US. They have over 2,000 locations in 48 states.
The first Panera Bread opened in 1987 under the name St. Louis Bread Company in St. Louis, Missouri. The sourdough starter used back then is still used to make sourdough bread at Panera today.
There are over a dozen hot and cold sandwiches on the Panera Bread menu. One of Panera’s most popular hot sandwiches is the Toasted Frontega Chicken, made from smoked pulled chicken, tomatoes, mozzarella, red onion, basil, chipotle sauce, salt, and pepper on black pepper focaccia.
Panera’s most popular cold sandwich is the Deli Turkey, which is made from sliced turkey, tomatoes, red onions, emerald greens, mayonnaise, spicy mustard, salt, and pepper on country rustic sourdough.
Panera is famous for its “You Pick Two” option, which allows you to combine a half sandwich with a half salad or a cup of soup, and a side of chips, a French baguette, or an apple.
1. Corner Bakery Cafe
Corner Bakery Cafe is another famous American cafe and bakery chain with over 150 locations in 21 states.
Their first location was a local bakery and cafe in downtown Chicago, Illinois, which served artisan breads and freshly baked sweets.
The Corner Bakery Cafe menu offers a variety of sandwiches and paninis. One of their most popular sandwiches is Uptown Turkey and Avocado, made with oven-roasted turkey, bacon, avocado, tomato, lettuce, and mayonnaise on harvest toast.
The most popular panini at Corner Bakery is the Chicken Pomodori, made with grilled chicken, provolone, basil, spinach, oven-roasted tomato, pesto, and aioli on grilled sourdough.
Corner Bakery also offers a “Choose Two” option, which allows you to combine a half sandwich or panini with a half serving of your favorite cafe salad, cafe pasta, or a cup of soup.