Sandwich of the Week: America’s Top 20 New Sandwiches

Brendan Spiegel of The Endless Simmer and his readers give their take on the best new sandwiches in the U.S.

The New Luther

#5  Fried Chicken SandwichBakesale Betty, Oakland

Perpetually purple-wigged owner Alison Barakat started as a pastry chef at the ultimate farm-to-table temple: Alice Waters’ Chez Panisse in neighboring Berkeley. Fooling around on lunch breaks, she whipped up these extra-crispy buttermilk fried chicken patties for co-workers, topping sandwiches with a savory slaw of sliced jalapeños, pickled red onions, and high-quality olive oil. There was so much demand for her upscale McChicken that she soon opened her own lunch counter spot, which runs through 1,000 chicken sandwiches daily. Arrive early — they sell out. (Photo: Endless Simmer)


#4 The Maple Meat Cheese Bread, Portland

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. 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, and tangy shavings of fresh fennel. (Photo: Meat Cheese Bread)


#3 Lasagna BolognesePaesano’s, 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 bacony Bolognese, 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 is an obvious yes. (Photo: unbreaded)


#2 Brussels Sprouts SandwichNo. 7 Sub, New York

We know “vegetables so good, you don’t even need the meat” is a cliché, but it’s pretty notable when one of our very favorite new sandwiches has not a drop of flesh on it. At this 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 often, but this is the best thing we’ve tasted so far is. How he thought to bring together Brussels sprouts, granny smith apples, and crushed peanuts on a sandwich we’ll never know, but we’re sure glad he did. (Photo: No. 7 Sub/Katherine Pangaro)


#1 The New LutherChurchKey, Washington, D.C.

It takes 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 Krispy Kreme donut. But that now seems simple in comparison. At ChurchKey, a housemade 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, it’s available only by request on Sundays, from noon to 8 p.m. (Photo: ChurchKey)


But wait, there's more! Endless Simmer's readers had their own picks for America's best new sandwiches. Following are their ten tastiest suggestions.


#10 Steak Poutine PitaU Needa Pita, St. Catharine’s, Ontario

What could be better than poutine, Montreal’s signature street food? How about throwing that poutine — cheese curds, fries and gravy included — on pita, so you can eat it while walking down the street? Add steak and you’ve got yourself one helluva sandwich. Yes, for the sake of U Needa Pita, we’re extending the U.S. to North America — one time only. (Photo: U Needa Pita)