The Ultimate Sandwich Road Trip: Best Picks in Each State

The humble sandwich is one of the greatest foods to ever exist because there really is no wrong way to make one. Hot, cold, sweet, savory, small, or large. Keep it simple with a grilled cheese or pile on ingredients until the bread can barely contain them—there are endless ways to enjoy a sandwich. Because of their customizability, sandwiches have always sat at the heart of American life, from childhood-packed lunches to beautiful deli creations. The U.S. has created some of the best sandwiches in the world and every single state has at least one that truly stands out as something truly special due to its taste, cultural impact, or historical importance.


01 Alabama

When it comes to Alabama, it's impossible to travel anywhere in the state without seeing a sign advertising a good old chicken and white sauce sandwich. The sauce, a mayonnaise-based barbecue sauce, pairs perfectly with a pile of smokey, shredded chicken. Big Bob Gibson invented the iconic white sauce in 1925, and there's still no better place to grab this sandwich than Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q in Decatur. And while it's hard to beat the chicken and white sauce sandwich, the pulled pork sandwich at Saw's BBQ comes close.

decorRunner up

While it's hard to beat the chicken and white sauce sandwich, the pulled pork sandwich at Saw's BBQ comes close.

02 Alaska

Alaska doesn't typically place high on lists of dream destinations. After all, it's far away and often extremely cold. However, if those lists focused on sandwiches, Alaska would be near the top, thanks to the salmon salad sandwich. Just head to The Cookery in Seward to sample a sandwich featuring the state's famous salmon bursting with gorgeous hints of lemon and other add-ins.

decorRunner up

If you're not a fan of fish, drop by the International House of Hot Dogs to sample the reindeer sausage sandwich instead.

03 Arizona

Okay, so this is kind of pushing the definition of "sandwich," but it's close enough and so delicious that you won't care. Arizona's signature sandwich is the fry bread taco. When Native Americans were forced to relocate to New Mexico, they created this open-face sandwich out of their extremely simple government rations. Replacing the sandwich bread is a large disc of fried dough. On top of this is a pile of meat, cheese, and beans, topped with sauces like ranch dressing, sour cream, or pico de gallo. The best place to grab one is The Fry Bread House in Phoenix.

decorRunner up

Want something that's a bit less adventurous but still tasty? Try the Sonoran hot dog at El Güero Canelo.

04 Arkansas

When people talk about iconic sandwiches, it doesn't take long before someone brings up the po' boy. These sandwiches originate from the cajun culture of New Orleans, Louisiana, and use a bread similar to a baguette—but lighter and fluffier. As po' boys spread across the south, Arkansas made the sandwich its own by incorporating the king of local fish: the catfish. Swing by Flying Fish in Little Rock for the best example of this mouth-watering meal.

decorRunner up

If fish isn't your thing, consider the smoked turkey sandwich from the Whole Hog Café.

05 California

The Golden State is so large and diverse that it's nearly impossible to choose one sandwich as its best. However, one of the major contenders is the French dip that supposedly originates from Philippe the Original in Los Angeles. The most popular offering is the beef double-dip that soaks both pieces of bread in irresistible jus.

decorRunner up

While the French dip wins out, the runner-up is definitely the avocado and sprout sandwich from Café Gratitude.

06 Colorado

If you know anything about Elvis Presley, you've probably heard about his wild food preferences. One of his most iconic favorites is the Fool's Gold Loaf, which boasts a delicious—but unhealthy—combo of a hollow loaf full of bacon, peanut butter, and grape jelly. Stop by Nick's Café for a taste of this decadent sandwich that even had the King of Rock and Roll flying to Colorado every few days.

decorRunner up

The bison burger at The Buckhorn Exchange also deserves a special shoutout and is probably a slightly healthier option.

07 Connecticut

The pride of Connecticut, the clam roll, is a quintessential New England delight. Each and every bite is full of coastal flavor thanks to the tender, fried clam strips. Hints of lemon and a bit of tartar sauce round out the taste and make it an unforgettable meal. The next time you find yourself in New Haven, do yourself a favor and grab a fried clam roll from Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale. Should clams not interest you, you might prefer a lobster roll at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough.

decorRunner up

Should clams not interest you, you might prefer a lobster roll at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough.

08 Delaware

Who doesn't love Thanksgiving flavors? There's just something about juicy turkey, sweet and tangy cranberry sauce, and stuffing that is impossible to resist. The Bobbie capitalizes on these flavors by piling them up between two pieces of bread. Capriotti's Sandwich Shop is the best place to treat yourself with some holiday flavors. Delaware's runner-up would definitely be Casapulla's Italian sub.

decorRunner up

Should clams not interest you, you might prefer a lobster roll at Abbott's Lobster in the Rough.

09 Florida

Thanks to Miami's close proximity to Cuba, it has long been a popular immigration location. Because of this, Cuba's culture runs deep throughout Florida, especially in the culinary world. The Cuban sandwich is one of the most recognizable foods in the world. Though many restaurants toy with the ingredients, the Versailles Restaurant in Miami keeps it simple with roast pork, sweet ham, and Swiss cheese on toasted Cuban bread. Though it might seem plain, this sandwich is bursting with flavor in ways you can only dream of.

decorRunner up

Another contender for the best sandwich in Florida is the grouper sandwich at Frenchy's Rockaway Grill.

10 Georgia

Pimento cheese doesn't typically find itself near the top of lists of favorite cheeses. However, Georgia will have you thinking otherwise after you try its iconic pimento cheese sandwich. This culinary delight is available seasonally every April at the Master's Golf Tournament in Augusta. The spread is a simple combination of cheese, mayo, and pimentos, but the specific recipe for this sandwich has remained a mystery for many years.

decorRunner up

If you can't visit in April for the legendary pimento sandwich, a good secondary choice is the fried green tomato BLT at The Southern Gentleman.

11 Hawaii

Many of us dream of visiting Hawaii but never get the chance to actually do it. For those lucky enough to get the chance, do not come back home without trying the Kalua pork sandwich at Helena's Hawaiian Food in Honolulu. With slow-roasted Kalua pulled pork, a tangy barbecue sauce, grilled onions, and slaw, this sandwich fully embodies island living.

decorRunner up

For something a bit more contemporary, visit the Rainbow Drive-In for a Loco Moco.

12 Idaho

The classic PB&J is arguably the most popular sandwich in the world. Thanks to this, many restaurants offer versions with unique twists and flavors. In the heart of Coeur d'Alene, the Huckleberry Deli lives up to its name by incorporating huckleberry jam from local berries to add a brand new tang to the familiar peanut butter and jelly taste.

decorRunner up

Taking a bite feels like tasting Idaho itself. For fans of seafood, the trout sandwich at Anglers Lodge is also worth a try.

13 Illinois

Thanks to the hit series The Bear, this Chicago staple has now attracted the interest of the entire world. Italian immigrants working in the Union Stock Yards invented the messy and indulgent Italian beef sandwich in the 1930s, and it quickly became a city favorite. Two varieties exist, and pretty much every Chicagoan has a preference. "Hot" comes with Chicago-style giardiniera pickles, while "sweet" uses Italian sweet peppers. Regardless of your choice, visit Al's Italian Beef to sample the best sandwich in Illinois—just make sure you use the Italian stance.

decorRunner up

While you're in the city, go ahead and grab a Chicago-style hot dog at Portillo's.

14 Indiana

Many restaurants offer oversized sandwiches, but Indiana's pork tenderloin sandwich is in a league of its own. Sandwich crafters pound out a large pork tenderloin, bread it, and deep fry it before serving it on a hamburger or Kaiser bun. You can find this stomach-filling delight anywhere in the state, but one of the best comes from The Mug in Indianapolis.

decorRunner up

If you have any room for dessert, you may also enjoy the sugar cream pie at Mrs. Wick's Pies.

15 Iowa

The sloppy joe is another staple sandwich that millions of people adore. But what happens when you remove the sauce and instead serve it with dry ground beef? Well, you'd have the best sandwich in the Hawkeye state, the loose meat sandwich. The Maid-Rite chain has popularized the unique offering, making it one of the most popular sandwiches in Iowa.

decorRunner up

For something with a bit more sauce, try the Iowa pork chop sandwich at Jethro's BBQ instead.

16 Kansas

In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many Volga Germans migrated from their homes and formed new communities in the United States, bringing with them a variety of cultural dishes. Among the most beloved is a savory bread roll full of cabbage, onion, and ground beef called a bierock. You can find these "sandwiches" throughout Kansas, but the Mennonite Heritage Museum in Goessel has some of the best in the state. Visitors traveling through Kansas City should also try some of its world-famous barbecues.

decorRunner up

Visitors traveling through Kansas City should also try some of its world-famous barbecue, like the BBQ brisket sandwich at Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que.

17 Kentucky

Kentucky and the hot brown are basically inseparable. You can't have one without the other. This is an open-face sandwich topped with turkey, bacon, and cheesy Mornay sauce that is baked or broiled until it reaches a beautiful golden brown color. Chef Fred Schmidt created the sandwich at the historic Brown Hotel in Louisville, and you can still find it on the hotel's menu today.

decorRunner up

Since Kentucky is also home to some incredible barbecue joints, try the bourbon BBQ sandwich at Bluegrass Brewing Company before leaving the Bluegrass state.

18 Louisiana

You might've expected to see the po' boy mentioned for Louisiana, but that is merely the runner-up for the best sandwich in the state. The best sandwich in Louisiana is actually a stack of salami, mortadella, mozzarella, provolone, and finely chopped olive salad within a delicious Sicilian loaf. This treat, the muffuletta, is a must-try, especially if you order one from the Central Grocery & Deli in New Orleans, where it was created.

decorRunner up

Craving a po'boy while you're in Louisiana? You can find an incredible one at Parkway Bakery & Tavern.

19 Maine

If there is one way in which residents of coastal states are spoiled, it's the immediate access to fresh, delicious lobster. The succulent meat of these strange sea creatures is impossibly delicious, particularly when freshly caught. Maybe put it on a bun dressed in mayo or butter? Perfection. Locals know that the best location for a lobster roll is Red's Eats in Wiscasset.

decorRunner up

While the lobster roll is far more iconic, honorable mentions go to the Italian sandwich at Amato's.

20 Maryland

Maine may be winning out on the lobster front, but nobody does crab better than Maryland. Once you try some fresh crab from Maryland's Eastern shore, you'll never be able to eat any other crab again. The soft-shell crab sandwiches at Faidley's Seafood in Baltimore are absolutely top-tier, weaving in the delicate crab meat with lemon, herbs, and Old Bay.

decorRunner up

 Maryland may be most famous for its crabs, it doesn't slack when it comes to other proteins. The pit beef from Chaps Pit Beef also warrants a trip to the state.

21 Massachusetts

Peanut butter might just pair well with any other food. While most of us keep it classic with a fruity jam or jelly, New England does things a bit differently. The perfectly-named fluffernutter is a marriage between peanut butter and marshmallow cream, nestled between two slices of white bread. Some locations like to add a twist by mixing in Nutella or other flavorings to bring the decadence to a whole new level. Stop by the Union Oyster House in Boston to enjoy this whimsical treat at its best.

decorRunner up

While you're out, consider grabbing some clam chowder in a bread bowl at Quincy Market.

22 Michigan

When it comes to foods that embody a state's history, culture, and attitude, few do so as well as Michigan's meat pasties. These little pocket sandwiches consist of simple ingredients in a portable form, making them perfect for the hard-working citizens in the Michigan mining and factory fields. Lawry's Pasty Shop in Marquette uses the classic recipe that locals have loved for hundreds of years.

decorRunner up

Since you're in the state anyway, swing by American Coney Island for a delicious Coney Island hot dog.

23 Minnesota

Minnesota's state fish is the walleye, and it has become something of a local craze. The fish is native to the region and has a robust but slightly sweet taste. Most people enjoy the state favorite fried and served in a soft French roll, keeping all of the flavors simple to let the fish shine. The Tavern on Grand in St. Paul serves a particularly delicious walleye sandwich.

decorRunner up

The Juicy Lucy at Matt's Bar also deserves a shoutout as one of the state's best sandwiches.

24 Mississippi

Mississipi's famous slugburgers. The name isn't the most appealing, but your mouth won't care. The humble creation was originally just an affordable meal during tough times but quickly became a favorite meal for locals. The slugburger consists of meat with extenders like flour or soybean meal, giving it a very crispy texture when fried. Add in fixings like pickles, mustard, and onions, and anyone will fall in love—despite its name. Borroum's Drug Store serves up the best slugburgers around, so give it a shot if you're ever in Corinth.

decorRunner up

Don't miss out on the catfish po' boy at The Mayflower Café.

25 Missouri

Missouri has a deep and interesting food culture. Thanks to sharing a border with Kansas, it has some of the best barbecue in the world—but served with a Missouri twist. One example of this is the classic burnt-end sandwich. The Q39 in Kansas City offers several variations of this dish, such as the Mr. Burns, which uses cubed burnt-ends, chipotle BBQ sauce, pepper jack cheese, and onion straws on a toasted bun to deliver a kick of flavor.

decorRunner up

Pizza is basically an open-face sandwich, right? So go to Imo's Pizza for a St. Louis-style pizza you'll never forget.

26 Montana

You don't need another reason to visit Montana. After all, basically, the entire state looks like a postcard thanks to its incredible scenery. But, if you wanted one more reason, the pork chop sandwich is a tempting one. Pork Chop John's in Butte serves up a burger-sized pork chop along with classics like onions, mayo, mustard, and pickles that all bring out the best of the savory pork.

decorRunner up

For something a little different, you may also want to try the bison burger at Ted's Montana Grill.

27 Nebraska

Nebraska's staple—and best—sandwich is the runza. Some people even say that the runza is "as Nebraskan as Cornhusker football." This bread pocket is similar to a bierock but uses Nebraska add-ins like sauerkraut, jalapenos, or cheddar cheese and has a distinct shape. Runza Restaurants across the state offer several different kinds of these delicious sandwiches.

decorRunner up

The Omaha World-Herald & Omaha Magazine named the Crescent Moon's Blackstone Reuben as Omaha's best Reuben.

28 Nevada

Las Vegas is probably the biggest reason people visit Nevada, but foodies know that it's not the gambling that is the best part of the city. No, that honor belongs to the mouthwatering patty melt from The Peppermill. Whether you just got into the city or have already spent hours on the strip, nothing beats a patty melt to sate your hunger.

decorRunner up

While you're there, you may as well swing by the Golden Gate Casino for a shrimp cocktail.

29 New Hampshire

For over 70 years, Moe's Italian Sandwiches in Portsmouth has introduced patrons to a unique New Hampshire offering: the Moe's Original. Founder Phil "Moe" Pagano's mother inherited the recipe from his mother, and he chose to share it with the world. It uses a blend of Italian flavors like salami, ham, pepperoni, ham, provolone cheese, and a medley of vegetables. Ask locals what the best sandwich is in the state, and most people will mention Moe's.

decorRunner up

Once you finish off your sandwich, take a trip over to Cider Bellies Doughnuts for some apple cider donuts for dessert.

30 New Jersey

The pork roll is a type of processed meat you can find all over New Jersey. The exact recipes of some types of pork rolls, such as Taylor ham, remain a mystery, and they have distinct but irresistible flavors. Some restaurants, like the Bagel Nook in Freehold, use the local favorite in a variety of sandwiches to deliver a familiar flavor in a whole new way.

decorRunner up

The sloppy Joe at Town Hall Deli definitely deserves a mention.

31 New Mexico

Those who aren't from the South may not have had an opportunity to try green chiles, and they are absolutely missing out. Green chiles are extremely prominent in many New Mexico dishes, but they elevate the classic cheeseburger to brand-new heights. The Owl Bar & Café in San Antonio has a particularly incredible version.

decorRunner up

You shouldn't leave New Mexico without sampling as many of its dishes as possible, so go to Mary & Tito's Café for a carne adovada burrito, too.

32 New York

New York is probably one of the hardest states when it comes to pinning down a "best sandwich." New York City alone has such high-quality food from so many different cultures that it's overwhelming trying to pick one. But, if you had to, it would probably be the pastrami on rye sandwich from Katz's Delicatessen. The sandwich artisans here pile pastrami so high that you'll need to unhinge your jaw to get it to fit.

decorRunner up

An honorable mention goes to the Beef on Weck at Schwabl's.

33 North Carolina

Another Southern state with unique barbecue offerings that you shouldn't miss. But, far more than most states, North Carolina is obsessed with barbecue. All you have to do is try the pulled pork with vinegar and pepper from Skylight Inn BBQ in Ayden to see why. A whopping serving of pulled pork with a sauce that fits it perfectly will have you wanting seconds and thirds—even though you'll be full after the first.

decorRunner up

For another North Carolina staple, order some shrimp and grits at Crook's Corner.

34 North Dakota

Having the best hot beef sandwich in North Dakota has become a fierce competition because the sandwich is just that important to the state. Each sandwich embodies the meaning of "comfort food" thanks to a pile of tender roast beef, rich gravy, and mashed potatoes that all blend perfectly. Kroll's Diner in Bismarck is definitely a contender for the top.

decorRunner up

Take the opportunity while you're in North Dakota to try the Chippers at Widman's Candy Shop.

35 Ohio

People outside of Ohio probably haven't heard of this one. But locals, especially around Cleveland, know this meaty sandwich for its delicious combo of kielbasa sausage, french fries, coleslaw, and barbecue sauce. You can find tons of incredible Polish Boys across the state, but it's hard to beat Seti's Polish Boys in Cleveland.

decorRunner up

For variety, you might also visit Skyline Chili for some Cincinnati chili.

36 Oklahoma

Few things are as familiar to the Southern palate as the chicken fried steak. Oklahoma takes things up a notch by placing the old classic within a bun with some cream or brown gravy. Kendall's Restaurant in Noble is probably the best place in the state to grab these pieces of indulgent perfection.

decorRunner up

Sid's Diner has an onion burger that almost beats out the chicken fried steak sandwich.

37 Oregon

Vietnamese food has rapidly become a core part of America's culinary mixing pot. The banh mi might just be one of the most famous sandwiches in the world, and it definitely earned that title. Oregon's best comes from The People's Pig in Portland. Though it is technically a barbecue restaurant, it nails the flavors of the banh mi in a way most places can't.

decorRunner up

Another option for any Oregon visitor is the marionberry pie at Willamette Valley Pie Company.

38 Pennsylvania

Let's be honest for a second. You knew what Pennsylvania's best sandwich would be. The cheesesteak is to Philadelphia what apple pie is to America. The competition for best cheesesteak is fierce and every local will argue with you about which restaurant wins out. Pat's King of Steaks is one of the best contenders, though.

decorRunner up

If the cheesesteak wasn't quite so iconic, the Primanti Bros. sandwich from Primanti Bros. might just have won out.

39 Rhode Island

The name might trigger an immature giggle, but the actual sandwich is no joke. Rhode Island's hot wieners are basically hot dogs—though residents will likely say they are way better. Olneyville New York System in Providence serves up a particularly delectable hot wiener consisting of all the best bits from several animals with a variety of toppings.

decorRunner up

If you can't bring yourself to utter the phrase "hot wiener" just to order one, you can try the clam cakes at Iggy's Doughboys.

40 South Carolina

South Carolina's rich barbecue heritage is put on full display with the pulled pork sandwich from Home Team BBQ in Charleston. Unlike some other states, South Carolina uses a mustard-based barbecue sauce that pairs perfectly with savory meats like pulled pork.

decorRunner up

Barbecue isn't all South Carolina has going for it. Just try the shrimp po' boy at Pearlz Oyster Bar to prove that for yourself.

41 South Dakota

Pheasant meat is a massive deal in South Dakota. While some states like their chicken salad or even turkey salad, this state takes it further with pheasant salad. The pheasant salad sandwich dates back to World War II, but it has changed significantly and now features way more add-ins, like apples, pecans, or dried cranberries. The Pheasant Restaurant & Lounge in Brookings is a great place to sample South Dakota's best sandwich.

decorRunner up

An honorable mention for this state would have to be the iconic South Dakota chislic at Meridian Corner.

42 Tennessee

Philly has its cheesesteaks, and Nashville has its hot chicken. The city—and Tennessee as a whole—take hot chicken very seriously. Imagine perfectly fried chicken with just the right amount of spice, along with pickles, slaw, and then a restaurant-specific sauce. That's the bare minimum for Nashville hot chicken. For a taste of this delicacy, head over to Prince's Hot Chicken in Nashville.

decorRunner up

Tennessee also has a rich barbecue culture, so make time for a visit to Central BBQ for some Memphis barbecue.

43 Texas

The Lone Star state is yet another location with massive cities and a blend of different food cultures. Ultimately, however, the winner is going to be the beef brisket sandwich. Nobody does brisket like Texans, and the sandwich at Franklin Barbecue in Austin is the best proof of that.

decorRunner up

For a taste of the state's blend of Texan and Mexican flavors, try the Crossroads Taco at any Torchy's Tacos.

44 Utah

Salt Lake City's Crown Burgers features an item you won't find in many other places. If a perfectly cooked burger topped with tender pastrami and melted cheese doesn't sound perfect to you, you're missing out. Locals and visitors alike love this unique combo, and it easily ranks as the state's best sandwich.

decorRunner up

While you're in Utah, try the fry sauce at Arctic Circle.

45 Vermont

It's interesting that most states don't slap their name on their most iconic sandwiches. Meanwhile, Vermont is more than happy to do just that. Who wouldn't be proud of this creation? The Vermonter aims to showcase the state's apples by mixing slices of the fruit with a combo of turkey, ham, and cheddar cheese. The Kountry Kart Deli in Burlington has a Vermonter that stands out from all the others.

decorRunner up

Since you're in the city anyway, order a Maple Creemee at Burlington Bay Market & Café.

46 Virginia

People who have traveled through Virginia probably already know that you can't go anywhere without seeing a restaurant offering country ham biscuit sandwiches. The best, though, come from the Virginia Diner in Wakefield. The simple sandwich isn't much more than some salted ham on a biscuit, but that simplicity is what makes it absolutely sing. The buttery biscuit perfectly complements the savory flavors of the meat.

decorRunner up

You might as well enjoy the unique—but unforgettable—peanut soup at The Peanut Patch.

47 Washington

Most of the offerings on this list are more cultural or historical representatives of the state, but the smoked salmon sandwich is actually Washington's official state sandwich. The Pacific Northwest has some of the best fish in the world, so it's easy to see why they would choose this as the state's favorite. Go to the Pike Place Market in Seattle for a taste of the really good stuff.

decorRunner up

Finish off your sando with some apple pie at A la Mode Pies.

48 West Virginia

Plenty of sandwiches come close to being West Virginia's best, but the pepperoni roll is just something special. From gas stations to delis, you can find this sandwich everywhere. It is that deeply embedded in West Virginia's history. A classic pepperoni roll consists of soft, yeasty bread around slices of pepperoni, often served unheated or slightly warm—and locals will often debate with you which is better. The Country Club Bakery in Fairmont provides the best pepperoni rolls you'll ever eat.

decorRunner up

As an alternative, you may like a hot dog with slaw from Hillbilly Hot Dogs.

49 Wisconsin

Another state with deep German roots, Wisconsin's best sandwich combines the best of beer and bratwurst. Chefs simmer plump, delicious bratwursts in various beers, grill onions to perfection, and combine them within a soft, warm bun. State Street Brats in Madison is a must-visit for anyone who wants a taste of these German-adjacent treats.

decorRunner up

The cheese curds at The Old Fashioned also make Wisconsin a tempting foodie destination.

50 Wyoming

Bison burgers are available in many states, but Wyoming may just beat them all. Especially if you get yours from The Bison Grill in Cheyenne. Bison patties are the perfect blend of natural flavors with a slightly chewy texture. Add on your favorite toppings and a toasted bun, and you have perfection.

decorRunner up

For another taste of the state's natural flavors, try the elk steak at The Gun Barrel.


Scroll Down

for the Next Article

The Getaway Badge
Sign up to receive insider info and deals that will help you travel smarter.