10 classic American sandwiches – and where to get them in the UK
philly cheesesteak

We’ll happily admit we’re a little bit jealous of American sandwiches. A buttery lobster roll or meaty French dip just seems so much more enticing than our sad-looking tuna mayo on sliced brown.

If you fancy a bite of the Big Apple, here’s our guide to ten classic American sandwiches, from the Philly cheesesteak to the Po’Boy, and where you can find a version in the UK.

Philly Cheesesteak

Invented by hotdog vendor Pat Olivieri in 1930, this iconic sandwich from Philadelphia consists of thin slices of ribeye or rump steak, cheese and onions in a roll. The cheese of choice is often Cheez Whiz, but American cheese and provolone are common substitutions.

For 40 years, Pat’s and Geno’s have waged a friendly competition to win the title of best cheesesteak in town, but you’ll find cheesesteaks across the region from foodtrucks and delis to high-end restaurants.

Where to get one:

  • The Liberty Cheesesteak Company, Spitalfields Market, Lamb Street, London E1 6EA – cheesesteaks.co.uk
  • Jackson and Rye, branches in Soho, Chiswick and Richmond – jacksonrye.com
  • Boozy Cow, 17 Frederick Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2EY – boozycow.com
  • Smoke, branches in Sheffield, Leeds and Glasgow – smokebbq.co.uk
  • Reds True Barbecue, branches in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and London – truebarbecue.com
  • Alabama’s All-American Eatery, 10 Newton St, Manchester, M1 2AN – Twitter

Lobster Roll

Maine’s signature sandwich, the lobster roll consists of lobster meat tossed either hot with butter or cold with mayonnaise and piled into a hotdog style bun.

This New England classic – with its tempting combination of luxurious lobster and humble bun – was born in Connecticut in the late 1920s when a restaurant called Perry’s decided to de-shell lobster and serve it in a bun to save customers the work.

Where to get one:

Reuben

A photo posted by Jillian (@asiann00b) on

Several people lay claim to inventing this hot sandwich composed of corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Russian dressing, grilled between slices of rye bread.

Whether created by Reuben Kulakofsky in the Blackstone Hotel, Omaha, or by Arnold Reuben, the German-Jewish owner of the famed Reuben’s Delicatessen in New York City, the sandwich seems to first appear in the 1920s. Several variations exist, from West Coast to Montreal.

Where to get one:

French Dip

A photo posted by Dip & Flip (@dipflippo) on


Thought to originate from the Philippe the Original deli in LA when Philippe Mathieu accidentally dropped a sliced French roll into the drippings of a roasting pan while preparing a sandwich for a policeman in 1918, the French Dip consists of thinly-sliced rare beef on a French roll served with gravy – ‘au jus’ – usually with a bowl for extra dipping.

Variations see roast pork, lamb, turkey or ham, sometimes with cheese, served on a French roll which has been dipped in the gravy of the roast.

Where to get one:

Cuban

A combination of ham, roasted pork, Swiss cheese, pickles and mustard on Cuban bread that’s synonymous with Miami, the Cuban sandwich – or Cubano – likely originated in cafes catering to Cuban workers in Key West and Tampa.

You’ll now find them across New York, New Jersey, Chicago, and Puerto Rico among other places, with a few regional variations such as the addition of salami in Tampa.

Where to get one:

  • The Forge, 3-7 Delancy Street, Camden, London, NW1 &NL – forgevenue.org
  • Cubana, 48 Lower Marsh, London, SE1 7RG – cubana.co.uk
  • Cubanos London, Leyton Food Market, London, E11  – Twitter
  • Bangers and Bacon, The Kitchens, Spinningfields, Manchester – Twitter
  • Primo’s, Corn Exchange, 42 Call Lane, Leeds, LS1 7BR – primosdogs.com
  • Revolucion de Cuba, branches in Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff, Nottingham, Liverpool and more – revoluciondecuba.com

Juicy Lucy

Invented in a south Minneapolis bar sometime in the 1950s, with Matt’s Bar (where it’s a ‘Jucy Lucy’) and the 5-8 Club both laying claim to the first, The Juicy Lucy is a midwestern classic.

Essentially a burger with cheese inside the meat patty instead of on top, the oozing molten melted cheese core makes this a deservedly iconic sandwich.

Where to get one:

  • Burger and Bagel Kitchen, 98 Salisbury Road, Cardiff, CF24 4AE – bbkitchen.co.uk
  • Reds True Barbecue, branches in Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Liverpool and London – truebarbecue.com
  • The Diner, branches across London – goodlifediner.com
  • Juicy Lucy’s Burger Company, 6 High St, Glasgow G4 0SX – Facebook 

Po’boy

A classic New Orleans submarine sandwich, the Po’boy usually consists of fried seafood – shrimp, crawfish, oysters and crab – or roast beef served on a French style baguette.

You might also find variations with soft shell crab, catfish, crawfish, Louisiana hot sausage, fried chicken breast, roast beef or French fries served with gravy.

Where to get one:

Sloppy Joe

A photo posted by @instabuffs on

An all-American classic, the Sloppy Joe – which originated in the early 20th century – consists of ground beef, onions, tomato sauce or ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and other seasonings, served on a hamburger bun.

Thought to originate when a cook named Joe at Floyd Angell’s café in Sioux City, Iowa, added tomato sauce to his ‘loose meat’ sandwiches, references to sloppy joes as sandwiches begin by the 1940s.

Where to get one:

Monte Cristo


A variation of the French croque-monsieur, the Monte Cristo combines the sweet flavours of French toast with ham and Emmental or Gruyère cheese, and sometimes sliced turkey too.

Traditionally dipped in its entirety in egg batter and pan fried, though sometimes grilled or served open, the Monte Cristo is sometimes finished with a covering of powdered sugar.

Where to get one:

  • Moose Coffee, 20 York St, Manchester, M2 2BB – moosecoffee.co
  • Uncle Monte’s. POND Dalston, Stamford Works, 3 Gillett Street, Dalston, London, N16 8JH – Twitter

Grilled Cheese

A cheese sandwich grilled so that the bread toasts and the cheese melts hardly needs an introduction.

It’s thought that the modern version of the grilled cheese sandwich originated in the 1920s when inexpensive sliced bread and American cheese became easily available, becoming a favourite of the Allied armed forces during WW2. They’re now found on menus across the United States and internationally.

Where to get one:

  • Kappacasein, Borough Market, Borough High St, London SE1 1TL – kappacasein.com
  • The Cheese Truck, Maltby Street, Southwark, SE1 3PA, and check their social media for other locations – thecheesetruck.co.uk
  • Meltmongers, 80 Bruntsfield Place, Edinburgh, EH10 4HG – Facebook
  • Big Grillie Style, B.Eat Street, Great Northern Warehouse, Manchester – Twitter
  • Northern Soul, 10 Church St, Manchester, M4 1PN – Twitter
  • Bread Meats Bread, 104 St Vincent Street, Glasgow, G2 5UB – breadmeatsbread.com

More:

British burger guide: the best and meatiest eateries in the UK

 

British beer guide: The best bars and breweries in the UK

British gin guide: 32 specialist bars you need to try