I Tried 4 Hot Subs from Popular Sandwich Chains—There Was One Clear Winner

I’ll wait in line again and again for this toasty treat.

<p>Sara Haas</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/7ZwYgmviX4VbU6h4ZmBBGg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/all_recipes_969/2e64e40290a2dd9b688fbe5ebace00a9″/><img alt=Sara Haas

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With a sandwich, the possibilities are limitless. Sandwiches can be served cold or hot, and they fit neatly into breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner. They can be a snack, part of a meal, or the whole meal (just put the chips on top)—or even a late-night indulgence. And you can pile them high with anything: meat, seafood, cheese, veggies, fruits and jams, bean sprouts, and more. You can add a spice rack of seasonings, a sea of condiments, and even another slice of bread. In fact, you don’t even need bread, just swap in a roll, wrap, waffle, biscuit, or doughnut.

For our money, there’s nothing better than a sandwich. And sandwich art at its apex is the sub. Call it a hoagie, hero, or grinder—and argue to exhaustion why the subtle distinction is important—but for the sake of this discussion, we’re talking about the long cylindrical bun, cut lengthwise, and stuffed with goodies. It’s portable, easy to put down and pick back up, fast, and a perfect delivery device for a well-arranged medley of ingredients.

But even narrowing the field into fast food subs still leaves an entire universe of varieties. So, we focused on the hot/toasted side of the menu and decided to give each franchise the benefit of the doubt by choosing its signature sando. The result is less a perfect apples-to-apples comparison and more of a ranking of how these famous sub shops handled the basics of sandwich making. Here’s how they stacked up.

<p>Sara Haas</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/InAlQO7THyRrSUO63m.Wqw–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/all_recipes_969/63228d7cefc9bb54ea83f5ab78add5c8″/><img alt=Sara Haas

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Sandwich Chain Hot Sub Taste Test

4th Place: Jersey Mike’s Famous Philly

<p>Sara Haas</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/yyDj_RazaZ8kNIacQo864Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/all_recipes_969/eed5b717e7befd66261b1493a14278d6″/><img alt=Sara Haas

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The cheesesteak is an institution in the world of subs. It’s almost its own thing. But not all cheesesteaks are created equal. We don’t mind using white American cheese instead of provolone (or Whiz, if we’re in Philly). And we love the beef, peppers, onions, and cheese grilled fresh right in front of us on the flat top. But the white bread, while pillowy and delicious, was cold, which made for a disjointed hot-sub experience.

3rd Place: Subway’s Spicy Italian

<p>Sara Haas</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/Edp1c.CFpW1nmD.kPEUYAg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/all_recipes_969/b03d3a847544776d627715a15b4a10be”/><img alt=Sara Haas

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Subway is the McDonald’s of sub shops, and its omnipresence (along with the inconsistent quality and service that comes with a mega-franchise) has given this OG a bad rap. And when it comes to hot subs, the toaster-oven treatment is a little underwhelming. But this menu staple, a harmonized trio of pepperoni, salami, and provolone cheese, topped with oil, vinegar, and banana peppers, is a go-to. And then there is the thing that still separates Subway from the rest of the field: the Italian Herb and Cheese Bread. Hot or cold, it is a zesty, cheesy, doughy foundation that makes any sandwich sing.

2nd Place: Quiznos Classic Italian Sub

<p>Sara Haas</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/wVm2S6fDYV_LgSAoNzh4dg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/all_recipes_969/6405df3702d9bc6a25c545f00992a272″/><img alt=Sara Haas

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This sub was the most beautiful of the bunch. It came out hot and stacked to perfection. I could see the layers of pepperoni, salami, spicy capicola, and smoked ham like the menu promised and the provolone was ooey-gooey perfection. I ordered the standard version with black olives, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, banana peppers, and red wine vinaigrette. Did it taste as good as it looked? Turns out it was pretty darn tasty. The cured meats prevailed, but I loved the addition of banana peppers and vinaigrette which lightened what could’ve been a pretty heavy sandwich. Bottom line, if you’re near a Quiznos, you might want to use this as a sign that you need a sub.

1st Place Winner: Potbelly Sandwich Shop’s A Wreck

<p>Sara Haas</p>
<p>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/lToThA4hg6C97KJYBXPeNg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTcyMA–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/all_recipes_969/0047d11c39493f1d289f8ce052390476″/><img alt=Sara Haas

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As in all things, balance is really the key to a perfect sandwich. The more ingredients and condiments you pile on, the more precarious that balancing act becomes. Despite the chaotic nickname, this Potbelly specialty is a tightrope walk of four meats: turkey, ham, roast beef, and salami—strung together with melted Swiss. Then you take the safety net away by adding Potbelly’s Hot Peppers, an oversimplified name for giardiniera (serrano, jalapeño, and bell peppers tossed together with celery, carrots, and olives). Instead of an overwhelming collision of flavors, you get bite after bite of all-at-once meaty-salty-zesty-hot-and-cheesy. It’s a feat of sandwich performance that we’ll gladly line up to see (and taste) again and again.

Read the original article on All Recipes.