The 20 Best Sandwich Shops in the Country, Ranked

Panera Bread's toasted baguette sandwich.

Though we may call them different things regionally—subs, hoagies, heroes—sandwiches are universal. From turkey sandwiches to game day sliders, there's no denying that America loves sandwiches. They're versatile, easy to make and one of the most satisfying meals there is. The best part? No matter which pocket of the United States you're in, the number of great places to get a stellar sandwich is plentiful.

But with popularity comes a range of opinions and trying to find out the sandwich place is the better one is nothing short of controversial. We're ranking the 20 best sandwich shop chains across the country.

What are the top sub shops in the country?

Though it may be hard to believe (given where it ended up on our ranking), statistics show that Subway is the most popular sub shop (in terms of sales) by an overwhelming number.

Right behind it in popularity is Panera Bread, then Arby's and Jimmy John's, and rounding out the top five is Jersey Mike's Subs.

However, Bravo fans everywhere are waiting for Something About Her, the new up-and-coming LA-based sandwich shop from the stars of Vanderpump Rules. The jury's out on that one, but it may just become a sandwich shop staple. Eat your heart out, Panera.

What is the most popular sub restaurant?

Subway is the most popular sub restaurant in terms of statistics. Of course, that could be attributed to the number of Subways there actually are, making it the most accessible. For reference, Scrape Hero data shows 20,664 total in the U.S.

What is the famous sandwich shop in the USA?

"Famous" may be hard to measure but in terms of the longest standing, food blog Grubstance claims that Katz Deli, located on the Lower East Side in Manhattan, has been around for the rise and fall of plenty of other sandwich shops.

The delicatessen is not only the oldest sandwich shop in New York, but it has also developed a kind of cult following for its "mile-high" classics—and was famously featured in the rom-com When Hally Met Sally.

As for more of the best sandwich shops in the US, here are 20 of the top contenders, ranked.

20 Best Sandwich Shops, Ranked

<p>Andrew Purcell</p>

Andrew Purcell

20. Subway

Listen, I love Subway, but it's simply not the purveyor of the best-tasting sandwiches. It's great for vegetarians (vegans, even) but it simply doesn't hold a candle to the rest of the shops on this list.

Related: Fan-Favorite Subway Menu Item Back for the First Time in 4 Years

19. Panera Bread

Another sandwich shop on par with Subway, Panera is not the place to go if you're looking for a greasy, meat-packed sub. Try their grilled cheeses, baked goods and soups, but leave the sandwiches to the pros.

Related: Let's Get This Bread! Here are Panera Bread's 2024 Breakfast Hours

18. Wawa

Hear us out—it may be best known as a gas station, but Wawas have a surprising array of good food, sandwiches included. Their bread is baked fresh daily and—here's another shocker—their ingredients far surpass the quality you'd usually expect of a gas station or roadside rest stop.

Related: The First-Timer's Guide to Wawa

17. Charley Philly Steaks

At its inception at Ohio State University, this sandwich shop was originally called Charley's Steakery or, alternatively, Charley's Grilled Subs. Today, it remains one of the go-to shops for cheesesteaks, including (but not limited to) the Bacon 3 and Chicken Philly. There's also a veggie option for plant-based eaters.

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16. Which Wich

Which Wich is one of the greener sandwich shops on this list as it's only been around since 2003. Regardless of its newness, Which Wich has earned a pretty solid reputation for offering quality sandwiches. Plus, Which Wich has a unique style of order in that customers take a paper order form and fill it out with all their desired toppings. There's even a black bean patty option for vegetarians.

15. Portillo's

Portillo's does make the list of leading sandwich shops in terms of sales, so we'd be remiss not to include them (even if those sandwiches are technically hot dogs). Not sure about this one? The Italian beef sandwich might just change your mind.

Related: Best Chicago Italian Beef Sandwich Recipe

14. Firehouse Subs

Aptly named for the two firefighters who went in on the sandwich shop together, Firehouse Subs makes great hot sandwiches including their Firehouse Steak and Cheese.

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13. Quiznos

Quiznos has a very similar quality to that of a Subway or Panera, but in our opinion, it's slightly better. It is, however, a little pricier and their sandwiches come toasted, not hot.

12. Blimpie

Blimpie is a reliable option for the main staples of the sandwich category: cold subs, hot subs and pressed paninis. Our favorite part of Blimpie, though, is the fact that they carry Frank's Redhot hot sauce so sandwich lovers can add an extra kick to their 'wich.

11. McAlister's Deli

We're not sure if sandwiches are the best food for your teeth necessarily, but McAlister's Deli was started by a dentist in 1989. With 500 locations throughout the U.S., it remains a tried-and-true fan favorite.

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10. Arby's

They have the meats! In sandwich sales, Arby's comes in third place (right behind Panera Bread) and with a variety of sandwich options, it's not hard to see why. Their best seller is the Classic Roast Beef sandwich, so be sure to try that during your next visit.

Related: 'I Tried Arby's New Loaded Fries and Now I Can't Look at Regular Fries the Same'

9. Atlanta Bread Company

It's a crime that Atlanta Bread Company isn't franchised throughout the U.S. While some of their choices err on the plain side, this a much better option for paninis than others on the list.

8. Corner Bakery Cafe

Corner Bakery Cafe can be hard to locate (as there are less than 200 throughout the country), but should you find yourself near one, definitely give it a try. They offer elevated versions of classic dishes and they are particularly talented at making paninis.

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7. Pret a Manger

Originally found only across the pond, Pret a Manger is now available in the U.S. and thank goodness. Ordering a breakfast sandwich here is the way to go, particularly the Egg Salad and Avocado Breakfast Baguette. As the name suggests, it's literally served on a baguette (!!!) and it's peppered with cage-free mayo and chili salt.

6. Schlotzsky's

Take Panera's fresh-baked bread and raise it and that's where you'll find Schlotzsky's. Order The Original next time you're there and delight in the signature sauce.

5. Jimmy John's

Jimmy John's is easily one of the more beloved sandwich shops—and for good reason. Their bread and butter is serving quality sandwiches at affordable prices and their cheeky sandwich names are fun too. Indulge in the Italian Night Club or the Bootlegger (which includes both turkey and roast beef).

Related: How to Make Your Tuna Salad Taste Like It Came From Jimmy John's

4. Au Bon Pain

It's near impossible to walk through New York City without passing by an Au Bon Pain, but not only is this sandwich chain big in the U.S., but it's also even available in Thailand too. More so of a sit-down place rather than a standard delicatessen, give the Tuna Fish Salad Sandwich a go.

3. Publix Deli

If you find yourself down South, ordering a sandwich at the Publix Deli is the way to go. Located inside a Publix supermarket, their deli is largely considered one of the best of the best.

2. Potbelly

Potbelly takes the #2 spot not only for its quality but also for its variety. It offers 21 different sandwiches to choose from, so there truly is something for everyone.

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1. Jersey Mike's

While it may not be the sandwich shop that's better for you (in terms of health), it is the one that's better (best, even) for your taste buds. Try their Original Italian or if you're feeling spicy, the Stickball Special.

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