America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches

5.  Fried Chicken Sandwich — Bakesale Betty, Oakland


Perpetually purple-wigged owner Alison Barakat started out as a pastry chef at the ultimate farm-to-table temple: Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in neighboring Berkeley. Fooling around on her lunch breaks, she whipped up these extra-crispy buttermilk fried chicken patties for her co-workers, topping them with a savory slaw of sliced jalapenos, pickled red onions, and high-quality olive oil. Her McChickens-for-foodies grew so in demand that she soon opened her own lunch counter spot, which runs through 1,000 chicken sandwiches daily. Get there early — they almost always sell out.

4. The Maple – Meat Cheese Bread, Portland (Oregon)

The Maple

Put down that Egg McGriddle and behold a breakfast sandwich that does right by the maple tree. Three-year-old Meat Cheese Bread may be simply named, but Portlanders known their creations are anything but. And it’s breakfast time that draws the most loyal following for this outrageous creation — two hot-from-the-oven slices of maple-currant bread pudding loaded with savory sausage, chipotle cheddar cheese and tangy shavings of fresh fennel.

3.  Lasagna Bolognese — Paesano’s Philly Style, Philadelphia


If the thought of a Philly-style lasagna sandwich has you expecting an overstuffed, over-cheesed hot mess, think again. Chef Peter McAndrews’ Italian-inspired lasagna sandwich is surprisingly refined. Thin layers of pasta are delicately brushed with a bacon-y bolognese sauce, lightly breaded and fried, then slipped between a doughy roll and joined by sweet peppers, smoked mozzarella and sharp provolone. The optional runny fried egg on top is an obvious yes for us. Read about Paesano’s other award-worthy sandwiches at unbreaded. (Photo: unbreaded)

2. Brussels Sprouts Sandwich — No. 7 Sub, New York

brussels sprouts rueben

We know that “vegetables so good, you don’t even need the meat” is already a cliche, but still, it’s pretty notable when one of our very favorite new sandwiches has not a drop of flesh on it. At this new midtown Manhattan shop, mad scientist chef Tyler Kord dreams up sandwiches with inventive ingredients like fried broccoli, pine nuts, pickled blueberries and potato chips. His menu changes frequently, but the best thing we’ve tasted so far is this one. How he thought to bring together brussels sprouts, granny smith apples, and crushed peanuts on a sandwich roll we’ll never know, but we’re sure glad he did. (Photo: Katherine Pangaro / No. 7 Sub)

1. The New Luther — ChurchKey, Washington, D.C.


It takes some chutzpa to reinvent what Endless Simmer has already called the best drunk food in America, but chef Kyle Bailey is not afraid. Named for its alleged creator, Luther Vandross, the original Luther sandwich consists of a bacon cheeseburger wedged between two halves of a Krispy Kreme donut, but that now seems rather simple in comparison. At ChurchKey, a house-made brioche donut is glazed in savory maple-chicken jus and topped with warm pieces of oven-baked pecans. While that sounds like a meal already, the brioche is cut in half and stuffed with a hunk of buttermilk fried chicken and wedges of applewood smoked bacon. Perhaps realizing that serving these daily would be a public health hazard, ChurchKey’s Luther is somewhat of a speakeasy sandwich; unlisted on the menu, it’s available only by request on Sundays, from noon to 8 p.m.


See Sandwiches 10 – 6

NEW! America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches — 2012

PLUS: Readers pick America’s Next Ten Best Sandwiches

AND: America’s Top 10 New Sandwiches — Veganized

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  • Borracho January 20, 2011  

    It is 8:30am and I am ready for lunch now! The Spuckie has made it onto the itinerary for a trip we are taking to Boston this summer and the New Luther may be my last meal if I ever end up on death row, simply because that would be the only safe time to try it.

  • Birdie January 20, 2011  

    I am so happy to see that two of the top ten sandwiches are from Philly! The next time I go home, I will have to sample them.

  • Cajun Chef Ryan January 20, 2011  

    Wow, seems like a lot of them are combining sweet with savory. Philly does have a hold on the sandwich market.

  • Evan January 20, 2011  

    great list. Glad you mentioned that brussels sprout sandwich, as I haven’t been there yet and now am going

  • 80 Proof January 20, 2011  

    Note to self: reading this list over an hour before lunch is not a good idea. STARVING now.

  • Nick (Macheesmo) January 20, 2011  

    I’ve had the fried chicken sandwich. That thing was the bomb. These all look amazing though.

  • dan January 20, 2011  

    Awesome list! I need to step up my sandwich game. Also I live 2 minutes from cuttys and have never tried the spuckie! whoops.

    and-I know you are using hyperbole for added emphasis, but don’t let a few poorly made cheesesteaks ruin the whole sandwich for you.

  • nadia January 20, 2011  

    awesome sandwiches! one thing though, the Meat Cheese Bread most likely features currant bread pudding and not current – though these creations are totally modern!

  • BS January 20, 2011  

    @nadia – right you are. while their bread pudding is certainly current, it is more specifically currant. correction noted.

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  • Peggy January 21, 2011  

    Everything on this list sounds freakin’ amazing! I definitely need to visit DC pronto.

  • Canada January 22, 2011  

    Now i’m hungry, If you’re ever in Orlando, FL you’ve gotta check out Pom Pom’s teahouse and sandwicheria. The Mama Ling Ling’s thanksgiving dinner sandwich is absolutely phenomenal

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  • Mike January 24, 2011  

    All these look great, but nothing beats the Steak Poutine Pita from U-Need-A-Pita in St. Catharines ON. Steak, Cheese, Fries, and Gravy all in one pita.

  • Kristen from MA January 24, 2011  

    Thanks for including one vegetarian option. 🙂

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  • Brenda January 25, 2011  

    Frankly, I think the New Luther is the most disgusting combination of foods I have ever seen. I cannot believe that not only does someone have the nerve to ask for money for such a thing, but that anyone can find this even remotely tasty!

  • L. Denise January 25, 2011  

    Welp, this tanks my Chili’s-for-Lunch idea! *le sigh*

    @BS: Grabbed this link from Huffington Post…congrats on the mention!

  • erica January 25, 2011  

    i had a sandwich a while back that touted a grilled cauliflower cutlet, with cheese and pesto. it was actually pretty good.

  • Michael K January 25, 2011  

    I’d gotten really sick and tired of seeing these lists of the country’s best sandwiches with nary a mention of any of Washington, DC’s fine eatery. Finally, a DC sandwich not only makes the list, it tops the list. Plus, it’s only a few blocks away from my office. Looks like I might have to put on a couple pounds this Sunday. 🙂

  • Belinda @zomppa January 25, 2011  

    Oh wow. I am drooling with each one! How do I get to go on a sandwich tour??

  • BS January 25, 2011  

    @Belinda – I think you may have just inspired a new business idea. Endless Tours, anyone?

  • Borracho January 25, 2011  

    I am up for some tours but seriously where would we even start?

  • Christy January 25, 2011  

    The Spuckie looks suspiciously like our New Orleans Muffeletta. 🙂

  • mariah carey January 25, 2011  

    If anyone would like to pay me for an interview regarding the Luther, I am open to offers.

  • babs January 25, 2011  

    you forgot big ass sandwiches in portland –! delicious, decadent – meat (or non-meat) on a perfectly light ciabatta with a sturdy exterior, stuffed with french fries and bechamel. sooooooooo good!!!

  • Nick January 25, 2011  

    Jin’s chicken sandwich in madison wi

  • foodies at home January 25, 2011  

    I don’t even know what to say about the last sandwich! I am for once left speechless!

  • Mike January 26, 2011  

    So many good sandwiches, but this should be on your list: the Reggie. A beautifully made biscuit sandwich built with a tender fried chicken breast, slice of cheddar, and bacon all topped with their homemade sausage gravy. Addition fried egg is optional, but recommended. If you want one, you can find it at Pine State Biscuits in Portland, OR.

  • sandwich lover January 26, 2011  

    Bahn Mi? Anyone? COME ON!!!!!!

  • TimD January 26, 2011  

    I disapprove of this list. There’s a Brussels sprout sandwich on it. Your sammich list has lost all credibility with me.

  • Jill January 26, 2011  

    You have to try the cheesteak ole’ at Tony Boloney’s in A.C. They won the cheesesteak battle this summer with Guy from DDD.

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  • Delishhh February 4, 2011  

    Ok i could eat all of them but the bulgogi is my favorite!! 🙂 With some kimchi 🙂

  • Ashley February 4, 2011  

    Thank you! I live in Seattle and haven’t had that sandwich from Baguette Box yet. Must change that. Very soon.
    Great list!

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  • b September 11, 2011  

    Very interesting list of sandwiches. However, writers (and Americans in general) tend to put the ‘NEW’ term on everything, far too quickly.

    For example, a Korean sandwich shop in Baltimore was making basically the same sandwich back in 1985.

  • Melissa September 30, 2011  

    These all look amaaaazing. And two from Philly- HOLLA!

  • chelsea October 13, 2011  

    theses are sick there all so fating eww

  • Samantha Thomas July 16, 2014  

    Wow, that brussel sprout sandwich looks amazing!

  • My Name November 5, 2014  

    Not a fan of donuts with my chicken.

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