Chefs Tell Us Where To Find The Best Sandwich Of Your Life

No matter what anyone tells you, there is no safe space online. You can spend years carefully curating an internet presence and raising the caliber of people with whom you interact only to have it all destroyed in a single thread. Sure, you know that political discussions quickly turn to verbal violence and hurt feelings, but that’s nothing. A hot food take that goes sideways can leave you followerless, tweeting mutely into the ether.

For this installment of the Chefs Tell Us series, some amazing culinary professionals were cool enough to give us the deets on some tasty, tasty sandwiches. I thought everyone would have the same definition of a sandwich, so I wasn’t terribly specific in my request. Days later, I was surprised (and charmed) to get back a blurb about a crepe and one about a burger. Confronted with these outside the box submissions, I questioned my own sandwich biases and connected with a few online friends to ask whether or not a burger is a sandwich.

Which quickly escalated to:

In fairness, my friends roll hard for food. One of them will cut a bitch for daring to suggest scallops are tasty. Ultimately, when I found myself free of followers and sobbing heavily into cupped hands at my desk, I accepted that a hamburger meets the technical criteria of a sandwich. Crepes do, as well. However, when you get technical, pizza becomes an open faced sandwich and a burrito is just another wrap. It’s anarchy.

As you peruse some of the best sandwiches being made right now, consider what makes them sandwiches, then slide into the comments and pontificate. Please. I don’t have any friends left to talk to about food, and I like you.

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery (Santa Monica, CA)

Chef Erica Abell — Chef, Boneyard Bistro

Hands down my favorite sandwich is the Spicy Godmother with prosciutto, ham, capicola, mortadella, Genoa salami, and provolone from Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery. There is always a line at the door, but sometimes, you might get lucky enough to grab a couple of sandwiches at the counter. Always, always get it with the works (i.e. peppers!).

The General Muir (Atlanta, GA)

Chef Ian Winslade — Chef, Murphy’s and Morningside Kitchen

The General Muir’s pastrami sandwich with Russian dressing and chopped liver is a classic, crafted with care and made with quality ingredients. This sandwich is worth the drive across town and is one of my favorite ways to indulge on my days off from work.

Cypress Baking Company (Seaside, CA)

Chef David Baron — Executive Chef, Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette

I’ve eaten a lot of great sandwiches in my life but recently I went to Cypress Baking Company in Seaside, California. It’s a bakery that makes all sorts of breads, wedding cakes, donuts and pan dulce. The tortas are pure beauty. These sandwiches are made with their house-made bolillo bread with refried beans, lettuce, tomato, cheese, avocado and crema. The seasonings on the meat are on point. I’ve tried four different tortas, and you can’t go wrong. I am convinced these sandwiches are the pride of Seaside!


Sal, Kris, & Charlie’s Deli (Astoria, NY)

Chef Zachary Ladwig — Executive Chef, Campfire at The Stella

This is super easy; it is The Bomb from Sal, Kris, & Charlie’s Deli in Astoria, Queens. The sandwich literally consists of everything on hero bread from The Bakery Boys of New York. I lived in this neighborhood during my time in New York and would swing by for one of these each week. The sandwich would almost be three meals for me. It consists of ham, turkey, salami, pepperoni, mortadella … And three kinds of cheese (American, Swiss, provolone) … And lettuce, tomato, onion, and roasted peppers … And dressing, mustard, and mayo … and more. Easily the best sandwich I’ve ever had.

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👊💥 #lunch #workofart #foodporn #meat #nomnom

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Fornino (New York, NY)

Chef David Burke — Executive Chef, Tavern62 by David Burke

Fornino’s sandwiches on fresh bread by Chef Michael Ayoub are both works of art and of great craftsmanship. They’re made with shaved cured meat and cheese, pickles, peppers and herbs from his garden — all great ingredients. Fuhgeddaboudit!

The Kati Roll Company (New York, NY)

Chef Nvjot Arora — Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Old Monk

The Kati Roll Company has multiple locations in New York, but I especially like the one on MacDougal Street in Greenwich Village. The reason it stands out to me is because Indian food is generally not very portable, but these kati rolls are portable Indian meals that really pack in the carbs, meat and eggs — they just do it right at this place. The bread is great. The sandwich with the lamb kebab, raw onion and egg comes together to form a delicious combination. On their lamb, you can really taste the cumin, plus they add a touch of mint chutney to the sandwich. It’s just the right amount of spices. And make sure to get egg in the sandwich — a kati roll without egg is incomplete.

Another reason I like Kati Roll Company is that their food reminds me of a kati roll shop in New Delhi called Nibam, where they bake the soft bread, cook the egg and assemble everything right in front of you. Kati Roll Company comes very close to these sandwiches.

Greenblatt’s (Hollywood, CA)

Chef Alex Q. Becker — Executive Chef, Kuro at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

When I lived in LA, I used to go to this great deli in West Hollywood — Greenblatt’s. Their classic grilled Reuben with Swiss cheese and sauerkraut is one of the best I’ve ever had. There’s also a wine shop in the deli; they always have a great selection, so I can pick up a nice bottle before heading home. They’re open every day until 2 am, so it was the perfect stop for a bite after a long day at work.

Da Nerbone (Florence, Italy)

Chef Mike Pirolo — Chef and Owner, Macchialina

My favorite sandwich is the Lampredotto sandwich at Da Nerbone in the Mercato Centrale in Florence, Italy. Da Nebrone is a small, homey place inside the mercato serving casual comfort fare. What they really do well is the lampredotto which is the stomach of the cow that has been braised and shredded and is kept warm in the cooking juices. It is piled high on Rosetta bread that has been slathered with salsa verde. The salsa verde is what really sets the sandwich apart, they won’t tell you what’s in it (believe me I asked), but, it’s briny, salty, and acidic, which helps cut the richness of the lampredotto.

Meat Cheese Bread (Portland, OR)

Chef Sarah Schafer — Owner and Executive Chef, Irving Street Kitchen

Ham and cheese that someone else makes is always a plus. I don’t know what bread they use, but they make it in house, and it’s amazzzzzing.

The Cheese Course (Miami, FL)

Chef Santiago Gomez — Executive Chef, Cantina La Veinte

My favorite sandwich is the three cheese melt European style from The Cheese Course. If you like cheese, this is the sandwich for you — simple, yet full of flavor. It’s prepared with a mix of brie, goat cheese and gouda, as well as roasted peppers! Served hot and pressed.

Duckfat (Portland, Maine)

Chef Brian Doyle — Executive Chef, Council Oak Steaks & Seafood at Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino

Duckfat in Portland, Maine has the best sandwich I’ve ever had. The beef tongue Reuben with homemade sauerkraut on freshly baked rye bread with a side of the poutine: Belgian fries topped with locally sourced cheese curd, duck gravy and fresh chives. Add a fried egg on top, and you’re in heaven. You will definitely need a nap after, but it’ll be a good one!

Stein’s Market and Deli (New Orleans, LA)

Chef Michael Gulotta — Chef and Co-owner, Maypop and MoPho

I’m kind of old school when it comes to sandwiches, so my favorite is The Rachel — hot pastrami, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut, all on rye bread with Russian dressing. It’s my favorite style of sandwich, and Stein’s does it extremely well. They don’t bother with making any of their salumi or bread in-house. It’s all about exceptional sourcing of products coupled with perfect execution when constructing the sandwich — gooey melted cheese with just the right amount of sauerkraut and dressing all on that warm toasted bread. Nothing flashy, just well done.

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Today's donuts. #majorgainz

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Gene’s PO-Boys (New Orleans, LA)

Chef Nina Compton — Chef and Co-owner, Compère Lapin

Hands down the hot sausage poboy at Gene’s Poboys in New Orleans is my favorite sandwich of all time. It’s a perfect greasy, messy creation on light crisp bread, and I always get it “dressed” (lettuce, tomato, mayo). The place is a pink building in mid-city New Orleans and they’re open 24 hours, so it is a great late-night spot to soak up all the booze you’ve been drinking. But make no mistake about it, the hot sausage poboy is as good in the middle of the day as it is at 4 am.

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OMG it's going down #GenePoboys #NOLA #foodporn #foodie

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Bing Mi (Portland, OR)

Chef Alan Maniscalco, Owner and Chef, Rally Pizza

I don’t know if it’s a sandwich or a wrap, but Bing Mi’s Chinese style crepe is amazing! It’s a massive crepe topped with scrambled egg, scallions, sesame seeds and crunchy fried wonton bits, all wrapped to go. This is the only item on the menu, but you can customize it by adding Chinese sausage or more of the standard offerings. My jam is extra egg and light hoisin sauce.

Republique (Los Angeles, CA)

Chef Joe Magnanelli — Executive Chef, Urban Kitchen Group

One of the best sandwiches I have ever had has to be the jambon-beurre sandwich at Republique in Los Angeles. The house-cured ham comes on a soft, yet toasty, baguette with the richness of French butter (as only French butter can be) and sliced cornichons. So simple but perfectly balanced; it makes my mouth water thinking about it.

Beach Hut Deli (Huntington Beach, CA)

Chef Danny Allen — Executive Chef, Ways & Means Oyster House

The shark bite is a sandwich filled with ham, swiss, cream cheese, tabasco, barbecue sauce, onions and bacon served on toasted garlic bread. It’s AMAZING! A nice firm bite without anything escaping from the sides, this sandwich is perfect from start to finish.

PUBlic 74 (San Juan Capistrano, CA)

Chef Craig Connole — Executive Chef, La Casa del Camino, K’ya Bistro Bar, The Rooftop Lounge

This place on Ortega Highway has a very small menu, but everything is extremely high quality. My favorite is their Reuben, featuring very lean corned beef stacked tall between two thick slices of marbled rye. No skimping on the amount of meat here! They also offer a nice beer selection and an emphasis on craft cocktails.

Jersey Mike’s (National)

Chef Garrett Pittler — Executive Chef, City Winery Nashville

Man, I just really like Jersey Mikes. The classic Italian. It’s simple, easy and fresh, and it’s the only fast food place that I know of that does freshly sliced meat. They do it right in front of you! Tell me where else slices the meat right in front of you.

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I want something just like this. 🎶

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Making Monday Super.. One sub at a time. 😋

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Crown Burgers (Salt Lake City, Utah)

Chef William Weisiger — Head Pitmaster, Ten50 BBQ

Crown Burgers has a signature sandwich on the menu called the Crown burger that is one of the best sandwiches I’ve ever had. It is a quarter pound, well-seasoned, perfectly grilled hamburger patty on a sesame seed bun with cheese, lettuce, tomato, onions, thousand island dressing and piled high with hot, juicy pastrami. The Crown burger is a must try for first timers. Make sure you come with an appetite, and don’t forget a side of fries!

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👑🍔 #girlvsfoodslc #slceats #slcfoodie

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Pomme De Pain (Paris, France)

Chef Tony Street — Chef and Owner, Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse

Ham and brie on fresh baguette at Pomme De Pain on Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Braindead Brewing (Dallas, TX)

Chef Nick Harrison — Chef, STIRR and Nikkei

The best sandwich and, simultaneously, the best BBQ I’ve ever had was a Big Red braised brisket and pimento cheese sandwich here in Dallas, TX. Chef Dave Pena LOVES Big Red and had the ludicrous idea of braising brisket in it — and it was phenomenal. I did a guest chef dinner at the brewery one night with Chef Dave, and at the end of the six course dinner, one of the line cooks asked if I was hungry. Of course I was after a long night, and though I actually declined, he insisted on making me a sandwich to go. I’m not even sure what he created was on their menu, but after a long day of cooking, that was the best sandwich I’d ever put in my mouth! To this day, that’s the best BBQ and sandwich I’ve ever had.

Croutons (Irvine, CA)

Chef Hiro Uchida — Chef and Kitchen Manager, The Blind Rabbit, The Alchemists, The Iron Press

My personal favorite is the Italian. It’s not like your typical Italian sandwich, they fill focaccia bread with thinly slices of assorted meats, pepperoncinis, tomatoes and press the whole thing in a panini press. Getting the whole sandwich warm and toasted releases all the juices from all the ingredients making it a super unctuous, savory sandwich that is easily on my top sandwich spots.

Bay Cities Italian Deli & Bakery (Santa Monica, CA)

Chef Alex Moreno — Executive Chef, Habana

My favorite sandwich, hands down, is the godmother at Bay Cities Deli in Santa Monica. Stuffed with prosciutto, capicola, mortadella, ham, salami and provolone cheese, it is a serious sandwich. I order it with the works (mayo, mustard, pickles, oil and vinegar, onions, tomatoes) and hot peppers. I like to pick up a cold soda or a prosecco along with some chips for the perfect meal. Plan to stand in line for 30 minutes; it’s insanely popular. You’ll want to sit out front in the sunny ocean air to eat; it’s an awesome people watching spot. This deli is so loved, you never know who you’ll see there.