As we visit our partner locations across the Northeast and Midwest, we love seeing how local flavors make their way into our dining spaces and onto our plates! One of the areas where we see this the most is in our deli specials. It made us ask ourselves – which regional sandwich is the best? We went to our chefs to get their thoughts on the most popular things to put between bread:
The Chicago Hot Dog
Chicagoans are passionate about their food, and they love to tell you why their way is the best way. They are so passionate, in fact, that we’re just going to skip the debate on whether a hot dog can even make it on a sandwich list.
Executive Chef Robert from one of our corporate partner locations in Chicago says, “The Chicago Dog is a very peculiar bite as it consists of some unusual ingredients: All-beef hot dog, poppy seed bun, yellow mustard, sweet green pickle relish, chopped onions, tomato wedges, dill pickle spear, sports peppers and a dash of celery salt.” The ingredients may seem strange, but the taste is out of this world!
The Baltimore Crab Cake Sandwich
Baltimore and Crab go together like…peanut butter & jelly, but let’s not make things confusing with sandwich similes! Next time you’re in Baltimore, don’t miss the chance to check out this amazing hand-held delicacy.
Loyola University Executive Sous Chef, Chris, says “The key to a good crab cake is in the breadcrumbs; dry crumbs make dry cakes. That’s why I always use fresh white breadcrumbs for my crab cakes!”
The New England Lobster Roll
Putting something as decadent as lobster on a hot dog bun? It sounds nutty, but man, those buttery lobster rolls are amazing!
Executive Chef at the University of New England, Kyle, says, “Simplicity is the secret to a great lobster roll, whether you enjoy it with some drawn butter or a touch of mayonnaise, just keep it simple!“
The Philly Cheesesteak
The Philly Cheesesteak might be one of the most famous regional sandwiches on our list – and for good reason. Once you’ve tasted an authentic Philadelphia Cheesesteak, you know.
Malcolm, Executive Chef at Immaculata University says, “The real secret to a great Philly Cheesesteak is the Amoroso’s Steak Roll. The rolls are made with hard water which gives them their unique flavor. Oh, and don’t forget the hot and sweet peppers!”
The Pittsburgh-Style Sandwich
People often wonder why Pittsburghers put French fries on EVERYTHING. While there is an interesting historical anecdote about truck drivers needing a full meal in one hand, the real answer is because it’s delicious!
Jen, Executive Chef at Chatham University says, “We already know that everything is better with fries on it. When it comes to making the ultimate Pittsburgh sandwich, nothing beats fresh BreadWorks or Mancini’s bread. With great crust and a super soft middle, it holds the coleslaw on the sandwich perfectly!“
The Hoosier Fried Pork Sandwich
When Executive Chef Andrew at Hanover College found out that we’d never had a Hoosier Sandwich before, he was appalled! “Germans brought the Wienerschnitzel over in the 1800’s and, being so busy with work, they needed something on the go. So that’s how the sandwich came about. You can find this gem at basically any fair across America. If you haven’t had this before, it’s a must try! I smother mine with mustard, so it drips down my arm!”
Beef on Weck
People from outside the region may say “What the Weck is that?”, but for those from Western New York, Beef on Weck is life.
Elmira College Executive Chef, Toby, says, “The secret to a great Beef on Weck is in the bread – the illustrious Kummelweck Roll! Finding this bread is the key to a wonderful Beef on Weck, covered in caraway seeds with just a touch of salt, this bread cannot be denied as the star of the show in this sandwich. Between the slow-cooked shaved beef, horseradish, and Au Jus, this sandwich is one of my favorite things about the Upper New York Region and I never pass up an opportunity to enjoy it.”
The West Virginia Pepperoni Roll
You can’t stop at a gas station, picnic, or sporting event in West Virginia without seeing a Pepperoni Roll. These delicious and convenient treats are certainly a staple in the region.
Beau, Executive Chef at Bethany College says “One thing to remember when making pepperoni rolls is: Don’t skimp on the Pepperoni! Adding sauce, banana peppers, or even cheese isn’t always necessary, but not having enough pepperoni in every bite is enough for me not to try your rolls a second time.”
The Ohio Polish Boy
No, not a Po’Boy; our geographic region doesn’t stretch to Louisiana (yet). The Polish Boy is a classic sandwich from the Cleveland region of Ohio and features Kielbasa and French fries.
Executive Chef at John Carroll University, Erica, says “The secret to a great Polish Boy is using a great Kielbasa. I only use freshly made kielbasa from a local meat market that is right in the heart of the Ukranian village. Fresh-cut fries and a fresh potato roll make a good Polish Boy great!”
Virginia Country Ham Sandwich
Everyone knows that Virginia is the place to go for great ham, so it’s no wonder that their signature sandwich features local meats!
Chef Brian from Virginia Military Institute says, “When you have great ham, you let that be the star! For our country ham sandwich, we source local Virginia country ham and pair it with a fresh biscuit and Dijon mustard.”
In order to deliver our brand promise of Authentic Culinary Experiences, embracing local flavors, foods, and flair is an absolute necessity – and our chefs have so much fun doing it.