20 Best Sandwiches in America You Need to Try At Least Once

So much more than a simple snack or lunch, a well-crafted sandwich should include a unique combination of flavors and textures, all encased in the perfect bread or roll. These 20 sandwiches are made across America, often featuring local delicacies or drawing inspiration from other cultures.

The Classic New York Pastrami on Rye

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Originating in New York City, this classic sandwich was made popular by Jewish delis. According to Tasting Table, “A thick layer of pastrami slices topped with spicy mustard is all that’s truly needed for a pastrami creation. A side of dill pickles doesn’t hurt, though.”

Chicago’s Italian Beef

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Created by Italian immigrants during the Depression, this sandwich is made by thinly slicing roast beef, dipping it into au jus, and layering it on an Italian roll. Chicago restaurant Al’s Beef was established in 1938 and is renowned for making these iconic sandwiches.

New Orleans’s Muffuletta

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Invented in 1906, the muffuletta was the creation of Italian immigrants in New Orleans. This sandwich includes stuffing a round loaf with a marinated olive salad, deli meats such as salami and ham, and sliced cheeses like provolone. It’s thought that it was created at Central Grocery, and they still serve this sandwich to customers today.

The Philly Cheesesteak

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Somewhat of a cultural icon in Philadelphia, the cheesesteak features thinly sliced sautéed ribeye beef and melted cheese in a long roll. The exact origins are debated, but Britannica says, “Brothers Pat and Harry Olivieri are often credited with coming up with the idea in South Philadelphia in the 1930s.” 

Maine Lobster Roll

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Maine is famous for its incredibly fresh and tasty seafood, so it’s no surprise that their signature sandwich involves beautiful lobster meat. The meat is lightly dressed with mayo before being sandwiched in a buttered, toasted roll. Popularized in the 1970s, you’ll find the most generous servings at Red’s Eats in Wiscasset.

California Avocado BLT

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The classic BLT, but a little bit West Coast. Californians love to add thinly sliced ripe avocados along with bacon, lettuce, and tomatoes to toasted bread for this iconic sandwich. Head to the Getty Center in Los Angeles to enjoy this treat alongside a panoramic view.

Miami’s Cubano

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Originally a Cuban delicacy, the sandwich was developed into the one we recognize today in Miami. NPR says this was because “the Cuban Revolution at the end of the 1950s resulted in an influx of immigrants in Miami.” Key ingredients include roasted pork, ham, Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard on Cuban bread.

Pittsburgh’s Primanti Sandwich

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Created during the Depression, this sandwich was designed as an on-the-go snack for drivers by the Primantia Brothers, who had a food cart in the city. It features grilled meat, coleslaw, slices of tomato, and a few French fries between two pieces of Italian bread.

Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich

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The hot chicken sandwich is a local specialty in Nashville and was first created in the 1930s. Locals add a fried chicken breast coated in a spicy cayenne paste, alongside pickles, to slices of white bread. Head to Hattie B’s Hot Chicken for an authentic taste of this fiery snack. 

St. Louis Gerber Sandwich

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The Gerber consists of garlic butter, ham, and Provel cheese sandwiched between Italian bread. Typically, locals will bake this until the cheese melts and the bread turns golden, creating a warm, gooey treat. Ruma’s Deli is the best place to try the sandwich, as it’s credited as the creator.

Seattle’s Dungeness Crab Roll

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Freshly cooked Dungeness crab meat is the star of the show in this sandwich, celebrating the famous shellfish of the Pacific Northwest. The crab is dressed lightly with mayonnaise before being stuffed into a split-top bun. You can get in on the action at The Crab Pot in Seattle while enjoying their picturesque setting.

Texas Brisket BBQ Sandwich

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Texas is big on its barbecue, and this classic sandwich features slow-smoked beef brisket served on a bun with barbecue sauce and onions. By smoking the beef over oak wood, they can achieve the melt-in-your-mouth texture we all know and love.

New England Clam Roll

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New England is big on shellfish, and this sandwich showcases their famous clams. Often battered with cornmeal, the clams are fried until crispy and served in a hot dog bun, creating a salty, juicy sandwich. Head to Bob’s Clam Hut in Kittery, ME, for a legendary version of this New England treat.

Connecticut’s Lobster Grilled Cheese

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This gourmet twist on the traditional grilled cheese is a Connecticut favorite. Locals combine fresh lobster meat with melted cheese between buttered, toasted bread for a rich, salty treat. “Perry’s served the first documented lobster roll in 1929,” according to Culture Trip.

Detroit Coney Dog

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The Coney Dog is a Detroit version of the classic American hot dog. Stuffed inside a soft bun, you’ll find a beef hot dog, an all-meat chili, yellow mustard, and fried onions. To get an authentic taste, check out Lafayette Coney Island.

Wisconsin Bratwurst Bun

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Bratwurst, a classic German sausage made from pork, beef, or veal, is the real star of this sandwich. Usually, the sausage is grilled before being served on a soft roll with sauerkraut and mustard. For the best Wisconsin bratwurst, try State Street Brats in Madison.

Minnesota Walleye Sandwich

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Walleye is a freshwater fish, native to Minnesota. For this sandwich, the locals will bread and fry the fish, then serve it on a bun with lettuce and tartar sauce. A true celebration of the local fishing culture, the best place to try one is the Tavern on Grand in St. Paul.

The Savannah Shrimp Po’Boy

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Traditionally, a po’boy features shrimp that is battered and fried before being stuffed into a Louisiana French bread, reminiscent of a baguette. The shrimp is usually dressed with lettuce, tomato, and remoulade sauce. For a slightly more sophisticated take on the iconic sandwich, head to The Grey in Savannah.

Vermont Turkey and Cranberry

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Usually served in the fall to celebrate harvest, this Vermont snack combines roasted turkey and cranberry sauce with stuffing and mayonnaise, served on country bread. If you’re in Vermont during the fall months, make sure you try the sandwich at The Putney Diner.

The Portland Vegan Delight

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It’s the only vegan sandwich on the list, but it doesn’t disappoint! Typically, the Portland vegan delight will feature a variety of fresh vegetables, hummus, and plant-based proteins. This reflects the innovative and inclusive culinary scene that Portland is famous for.

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