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There’s no doubt about it: America has no shortage of amazing sandwiches. Whether you’re more of a lobster roll kind of person or prefer a fried chicken sandwich made with a flaky buttermilk biscuit, the United States has got them all.
From the Northeast down to the Southern states and all across the country, you can expect tons of different mouth-watering sandwich options that are rich in both flavor and history.
If you’re curious as to what some of the most iconic American sandwiches are, you’re in luck. Not only did we round up some of the most famous ones, but we also listed some spots where you can enjoy one.
From sandwiches stacked with beef and then hand-dipped in gravy to incredible pastrami sandwiches stacked high on rye bread and drizzled with Russian dressing, here are 10 of the greatest American sandwiches of all time—and where to get the best one.
If you live down South, you may already be familiar with po’boys. These delicious sandwiches are filled with meat or fish, such as roast beef, fried shrimp, crawfish, or oysters, and served on French bread that’s crispy on the outside and soft and pillowy on the inside. The iconic sandwich originated in Louisiana over 100 years ago and has been a hit ever since.
If you’re in the New Orleans area and are looking for some of the best po’boys in town, be sure to hit up Domilise’s, which has been whipping up this delicacy since 1918, or Parkway, which has been a famous spot for po’boys since the early 1900s.
You can’t think of American sandwiches without having the Philly cheesesteak come to mind. This lip-smackingly good sandwich, which began popping up in the early 20th century, is often made up of thin slices of beef smothered in melted cheese and then piled high on a hero. Toppings, such as grilled onions, mushrooms, and hot sauce, often also make an appearance.
If you want to have some of the best Philly cheesesteaks around, stop by Pat’s King of Steaks in the heart of Philadelphia. The spot opened in 1930 and is credited as the inventor and originator of the inimitable sandwich. Another establishment that makes a great Philly cheesesteak is the nearby Geno’s, which started in the 1960s.
The muffuletta is another famous New Orleans sandwich people have been buzzing about for years. The sandwich, sometimes spelled muffaletta, is packed with olive salad, ham, salami, provolone, Swiss cheese, and mortadella, all on muffuletta-style bread. It’s believed that the sandwich was brought over to New Orleans by Sicilian immigrants who settled in the area in the early 1900s.
When it comes to giving this sandwich a try, what better place to pick up a muffuletta than the deli that claims it invented it? Central Deli & Grocery, located in the city’s French Quarter, has been making this famous sandwich for over 100 years. The best part? If you don’t live nearby, the restaurant offers nationwide shipping of its signature sandwich via Goldbelly.
A delicious sandwich dunked in mouth-watering beef gravy? What sounds better than that? This iconic sandwich has been on menus for years and often features either roast beef, roast pork, turkey, pastrami, or ham, stacked on a French roll and then lowered into a heavenly good gravy. Cheeses, such as Swiss or American, may appear on the sandwich, too.
For those who are fans of the beef dip sandwich and are looking for somewhere new to enjoy it, look no further than Philippe’s in Los Angeles. The buzzy spot, which opened in 1908, calls itself the “home of the original French dip sandwich” and offers a wide range of dip sandwich options. Beside beef dips, you can also expect items like macaroni salad, cole slaw, chili, salads, and more on the menu.
Who could forget about pastrami on rye, the satisfying sandwich that became popular after appearing in Jewish delis in New York City during the late 1800s? The popular smoked meat on rye sometimes comes topped with Russian dressing, cole slaw, or spicy brown mustard.
If you’re on the East Coast, the obvious spot to hit up for a mouth-watering pastrami on rye sandwich is Katz’s Deli on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The historical eatery has been crafting these sandwiches since 1888 and also offers a ton of other delicious options on its menu, including brisket sandwiches, potato latkes, matzoh ball soup, frankfurters, and New York-style cheesecake.
If you’re on the West Coast, you may want to try Canters Deli in Los Angeles. The famous 24-hour spot has been piling sliced pastrami on rye since the 1930s and is a favorite among celebrities, dating back to the days of Marilyn Monroe. According to Discover Los Angeles, modern-day A-listers Seth Rogen, Taylor Swift, and Adam Sandler all have enjoyed a meal at Canters.
Southern fried chicken biscuits are incredibly popular for good reason—they taste delicious. As if crispy fried chicken stacked on a warm, flaky biscuit isn’t tantalizing enough on its own, these iconic sandwiches are often enhanced with pickles and a hot honey sauce.
Although there are many places throughout the country to pick up a delicious chicken biscuit, one of the best may have to be Chick-fil-A. The buzzy restaurant chain, which started in 1946 and has over 2,400 locations, makes a chicken biscuit sandwich that might just become your new go-to. Hand-breaded chicken, a buttermilk biscuit, an option to include toppings like cheese, bacon, and pickles—what more could you want from Chick-fil-A’s chicken biscuit? Heads up: this tasty dish is available on the chain’s breakfast menu.
Hoagies, subs, heroes: there are plenty of amazing places to pick up one of these sandwiches throughout the country. Defonte’s in Brooklyn, N.Y. makes fantastic heroes. But, if you need something while on the go, try out Wawa’s—there’s a reason why so many people rave about the popular convenience store’s hoagies. The popular chain is so serious about its sandwiches that it sponsors a yearly Hoagiefest, which allows customers to pick up one of the store’s iconic sandwiches at a special price. Here, customization is also the name of the game. Sandwiches are built to order but ready-made ones are also available if you’re in a hurry.
Slightly salty corned beef, melted Swiss cheese, tangy sauerkraut, creamy Thousand Island (or Russian) dressing, all stacked high on rye bread—what’s not to love about the inimitable Reuben sandwich that’s been popping up on restaurant menus for decades? The sandwich, which first began making waves in the early 1900s, even has its own day—in Omaha, Nebraska March 14th is “Reuben Sandwich Day.”
One spot that serves a great Reuben sandwich is Zingerman’s Delicatessen in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The famous deli, which opened up during the 1980s in a historic building, prepares a mouth-watering Reuben sandwich piled high with corned beef, Swiss Emmental cheese, sauerkraut from The Brinery, and homemade Russian dressing. Zingerman’s also offers a twist on a traditional Reuben, known as the Georgia Reuben, which is made instead with all-natural turkey breast.
You can’t take a trip to New England without picking up a lobster roll. Depending on your location, you’ll often find this delicious crustacean-meat sandwich served one of two ways: warmed up with butter on a toasted bun, or chilled in a mayo dressing with veggies. If you’re looking for some good restaurant options to pick up this famous sandwich, be sure to try out Neptune Bar in Boston, Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine; or the Newport Lobster Shack in Newport, R.I. There’s also the popular chain, Luke’s Lobster, with locations in many major cities, including Boston, Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.
The inimitable club sandwich is another American classic. The filling dish, which is often made with sliced turkey or ham, crispy bacon, shredded lettuce, sliced tomato, and mayonnaise, is believed to have gotten its start at the Saratoga Clubhouse (now known as the Canfield Casino) in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. But, some think that it first popped up at the Union Club of New York City, a private Manhattan social club that dates back to the 1800s.
No matter where the tasty sandwich got its start, it’s still a must-order today. Fancy hotel chains, like the Four Seasons and the Waldorf Astoria, are known for having delicious club sandwiches. Beloved brunch spot Sadelle’s also makes an otherworldly triple-decker club. The restaurant has locations in New York City, Boca Raton, Las Vegas, Riyadh, Paris, Dallas, and more.