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The pork and fries at Earl's Sandwiches.
The pork and fries at Earl's Sandwiches.
Earl's Sandwiches

19 Essential D.C. Sandwiches

Grab hold of these culinary masterpieces

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The pork and fries at Earl's Sandwiches.
| Earl's Sandwiches

D.C. has no shortage of great grab-and-go meals. But there are certain sandwiches, hoagies, and grinders that every Washingtonian should seek out almost as a civic duty. Some can transport diners to far-off destinations like Italy, Jamaica, or Vietnam. Others are so historic, they're edible nostalgia.

Most of these essential sandwiches can be found where office buildings crowd together, but others serve residential neighborhoods with fewer dining options, creating a cast of loyal regulars. Some are even worth a short drive.

Updated by Eater staff

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. A. Litteri, Inc.

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517 Morse St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 544-0184
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The sandwich: Classic Italian sub
With an Italian flag-colored entrance, hanging hams, and shelves stocked with products from the motherland, it makes sense A. Litteri would excel at Italian subs. Try the “Classic” with capicola, Genoa salami, mortadella, prociuttini, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers, and Italian dressing. It’s a crash course in traditional Italian cold cuts.
Photo by Lauren M. / Yelp

2. Banh Mi DC Sandwich

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3103 Graham Rd #C
Falls Church, VA 22042
(703) 205-9300
The sandwich: Bánh mì đặc biệt
Consider the bánh mì đặc biệt a full-throttle version of the classic Vietnamese hoagie. The phrase loosely translates to “the sandwich with everything in it” for good reason. Pork bologna, ham, head cheese, and pâté are topped with cooling radishes and cucumbers, plus hot peppers, cilantro, and mayonnaise.

3. Beef N' Bread

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750 6th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20091
(202) 393-0406
Visit Website
The sandwich: Chinatown
Beef n Bread’s signature sandwich is aptly named for the shop’s location, but tastes more like Vietnamese phở than anything else thanks to a swirl of four sauces: Sriracha, hoisin, “wise sauce,” and jalapeno sauce. These lathers top a pile of roast beef, avocado, cilantro, basil, lettuce, tomato, and sprouts for a balanced bite.
Photo by Laura Hayes

4. Bub and Pop's

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1815 M St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036
(202) 457-1111
Visit Website
The sandwich: Pop's Beef Brisket
Eating Pop’s Beef Brisket sandwich requires some speed. The veal jus that imparts the majority of the flavor has a tendency to make the sandwich a little sloppy, but it’s worth it. The slow-braised beef brisket is topped with apple-horseradish cream and pungent gouda cheese that’s been aged five years. As a bonus, a fried egg topper is always an option.
Photo: Bub and Pop's

5. Mangialardo's

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1317 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
(202) 543-6212
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The sandwich: The G Man
The G Man is the godfather of Italian subs. Mangialardo's, after all, has been slinging sandwiches for more than six decades, especially for police and other first responders. The sub with a cult following contains ham, salami, mortadella, pepperoni, fontina cheese, provolone cheese, and oregano, plus all the trimmings. Opt for either a hard or soft roll.
A sliced sandwich stuffed with cold cuts Photo: Mangialardo's

6. MGM Roast Beef

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905 Brentwood Road NE
Washington, D.C. 20018
(202) 248-0389
Visit Website
The sandwich: French dip
Order the “French Dip” at Brentwood’s MGM Roast Beef and watch as a sandwich boss slices the top round to order. The cut of meat from the rear of a steer is known for its full flavor. Sautéed onions and melted Swiss compliment the beef on an onion roll. But the best part is the au jus dipper.
Photo by CJ S. / Yelp

7. Neopol Smokery

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002
(202) 543-1864
Visit Website
The sandwich: Smoked salmon BLT
Instead of thin slices of lox, Neopol Smokery uses a full, flaky filet of smoked salmon in its BLT, making in both heartier and hard to forget. Also between the bread: house smoked Duroc bacon, greens, tomato, red onion, and a drizzle of lemon-dill aioli. It tastes like a mash up of a Jewish deli staple and something from a barbecue spot.
An open-faced look inside a salmon BLT Photo: Neopol Smokery

8. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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1612 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-4307
(202) 319-1612
The sandwich: C.E.B.L.T. Po-Boy
When a BLT and a po'boy breed, the result is a C.E.B.L.T The hefty sandwich features fried catfish and a farm egg accompanied by all the trappings of a traditional B.L.T. The sandwich gets extra points for using Benton’s bacon because the Tennessee product is extra smoky.
Photo: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

9. Red Apron Butchery

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709 D St NW, Washington
D.C., 20004
(202) 524-5244
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The sandwich: Meatball
Tasting of last night's leftovers from someone’s nonna, the meatball sandwich at Red Apron boasts tender pork meatballs, tomato sauce, salsa verde, and pleasingly sharp Grana Padano on a sub roll. It would be ideal if they served it with a bib — it’s that saucy — so proceed with caution.

10. Sloppy Mama's

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1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002
The sandwich: The pork sandwich
Sloppy Mama’s pork sandwich sounds simple enough, but the secret is in the prep. The local outfit takes a whole bone-in shoulder and coats it a spice rub dubbed “Happy Sprinkles,” before smoking it the next day for 10-12 hours over oak wood from the Shenandoah Mountains. When its tender and pulling apart, Sloppy Mama’s douses it in Carolina sauce, adds more seasoning, and a scoop of slaw on toasted brioche.
Photo: Sloppy Mama's

11. Stachowski's Market

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1425 28th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 506-3125
Visit Website
The sandwich: Pastrami
Only a trio of pro athletes could polish off the pastrami sandwich at Stachowski’s. The ingredients are simple — just thick slices of savory pastrami with mustard on rye or pumpernickel — but the sandwich has become synonymous with excess. Bring help or be prepared for leftovers. The juicy, briny pastrami is just as good on day two.

12. Stoney's (Multiple locations)

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1433 P St NW
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 234-1818
Visit Website
The sandwich: Super grilled cheese
Stoney’s grilled cheese tastes like what mom used to make with its jack-o'-lantern-orange cheese and buttered white bread. But it begs to be paired with beer instead of milk at the neighborhood watering hole. For the full experience make it a “Super Grilled Cheese” with tomato, bacon, and onions.
Photo by Julian V. / Yelp

13. Sundevich

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1314 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 319-1086
Visit Website
The sandwich: Kingston
The Kingston, which pays tribute to Jamaica, stands out thanks to fiery jerk chicken, pineapple salsa, greens, spicy slaw, and garlic mayonnaise.
Photo: Sundevich

14. The Italian Store (Multiple Locations)

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3123 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 528-6266
Visit Website
The sandwich: Muffuletta
Besides being fun to say, The Italian Store’s Muffuletta sandwich satisfies. Round Sicilian-style bread plays host to the best of the best behind the deli counter: mortadella, provolone, smoked prosciutto, and Genoa salami. Olives and an olive oil dressing add tartness to combat the richness of the deli meats.
Photo: The Italian Store

15. Wagshal's (Multiple Locations)

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3201 New Mexico Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016
(202) 363-5698
Visit Website
The sandwich: Superior
Iconic sandwich slinger Wagshal’s Delicatessen has roots in D.C. dating back to 1925. Think of this historic gravitas while eating the Superior, which serves as a cross-section of the deli’s best meats: roast beef, corned beef, ham, and pastrami. The sandwich also has Russian dressing, coleslaw, cheddar spread, and chopped liver, just for good measure.
Wagshal’s display case, with several meats showing behind glass Photo: Wagshal's

16. Amsterdam Falafelshop (Multiple locations)

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1830 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009
(202) 232-6200
Visit Website
The sandwich: Falafel sandwich
Loyal Amsterdam Falafelshop customers know to crush falafel balls housed in a warm pita before going on a toppings blitz. The falafel sandwich is explosive with Middle Eastern flavor thanks to the addition of toppers like smoky baba ghanoush, piquant pickled turnips, tangy cabbage, creamy tahini and indulgent fried eggplant. Choose from three to five orbs of falafel, and note that the sandwich makes for both a filling lunch and a late-night snack that's become an indispensable part of a bar crawl in Adams Morgan or on 14th Street NW.
Photo: Amsterdam Falafelshop

17. Jetties (Multiple Locations)

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1609 Foxhall Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20007
(202) 965-3663
Visit Website
The sandwich: Baxter Road
For a taste of Thanksgiving any time of year, look no further than Jetties’ gravy-soaked tribute. The local chain douses tender sliced turkey breast in savory herb-mushroom gravy, all flanked by mounds of onion-laced stuffing, and sliced sweet potatoes.
Jetties DC baxter road The open-faced Baxter Road at Jetties. Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater

18. Smoked and Stacked

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1239 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001
(202) 465-4822
Visit Website
The sandwich: The Messy
Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley's pastrami-focused sandwich shop opened last fall next to the convention center, and one of its greatest hits is this signature Reuben-esque offering. Napkins are a must, with pastrami, rye, sauerkraut, comte, and Thousand Island dressing overflowing between pieces of rye bread.
Photo by Ken A. / Yelp

19. Earl's Sandwiches (Multiple Locations)

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2605 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201
(703) 248-0150
Visit Website
The sandwich: Pork and fries
This local chainlet unites savory slow-roasted pork, crisp French fries, piquant white onions, zesty chipotle mayonnaise, juicy strips of sweet peppers, and tangy pickle chips between grilled ciabatta.
Earl's VA pork and fries The pork and fries at Earl’s Sandwiches. Photo: Earl’s Sandwiches

1. A. Litteri, Inc.

517 Morse St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
Photo by Lauren M. / Yelp
The sandwich: Classic Italian sub
With an Italian flag-colored entrance, hanging hams, and shelves stocked with products from the motherland, it makes sense A. Litteri would excel at Italian subs. Try the “Classic” with capicola, Genoa salami, mortadella, prociuttini, provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, hot peppers, and Italian dressing. It’s a crash course in traditional Italian cold cuts.
517 Morse St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

2. Banh Mi DC Sandwich

3103 Graham Rd #C, Falls Church, VA 22042
The sandwich: Bánh mì đặc biệt
Consider the bánh mì đặc biệt a full-throttle version of the classic Vietnamese hoagie. The phrase loosely translates to “the sandwich with everything in it” for good reason. Pork bologna, ham, head cheese, and pâté are topped with cooling radishes and cucumbers, plus hot peppers, cilantro, and mayonnaise.
3103 Graham Rd #C
Falls Church, VA 22042

3. Beef N' Bread

750 6th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20091
Photo by Laura Hayes
The sandwich: Chinatown
Beef n Bread’s signature sandwich is aptly named for the shop’s location, but tastes more like Vietnamese phở than anything else thanks to a swirl of four sauces: Sriracha, hoisin, “wise sauce,” and jalapeno sauce. These lathers top a pile of roast beef, avocado, cilantro, basil, lettuce, tomato, and sprouts for a balanced bite.
750 6th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20091

4. Bub and Pop's

1815 M St NW, Washington, D.C. 20036
Photo: Bub and Pop's
The sandwich: Pop's Beef Brisket
Eating Pop’s Beef Brisket sandwich requires some speed. The veal jus that imparts the majority of the flavor has a tendency to make the sandwich a little sloppy, but it’s worth it. The slow-braised beef brisket is topped with apple-horseradish cream and pungent gouda cheese that’s been aged five years. As a bonus, a fried egg topper is always an option.
1815 M St NW
Washington, D.C. 20036

5. Mangialardo's

1317 Pennsylvania Ave SE, Washington, D.C. 20003
A sliced sandwich stuffed with cold cuts Photo: Mangialardo's
The sandwich: The G Man
The G Man is the godfather of Italian subs. Mangialardo's, after all, has been slinging sandwiches for more than six decades, especially for police and other first responders. The sub with a cult following contains ham, salami, mortadella, pepperoni, fontina cheese, provolone cheese, and oregano, plus all the trimmings. Opt for either a hard or soft roll.
1317 Pennsylvania Ave SE
Washington, D.C. 20003

6. MGM Roast Beef

905 Brentwood Road NE, Washington, D.C. 20018
Photo by CJ S. / Yelp
The sandwich: French dip
Order the “French Dip” at Brentwood’s MGM Roast Beef and watch as a sandwich boss slices the top round to order. The cut of meat from the rear of a steer is known for its full flavor. Sautéed onions and melted Swiss compliment the beef on an onion roll. But the best part is the au jus dipper.
905 Brentwood Road NE
Washington, D.C. 20018

7. Neopol Smokery

1309 5th St NE, Washington, D.C. 20002
An open-faced look inside a salmon BLT Photo: Neopol Smokery
The sandwich: Smoked salmon BLT
Instead of thin slices of lox, Neopol Smokery uses a full, flaky filet of smoked salmon in its BLT, making in both heartier and hard to forget. Also between the bread: house smoked Duroc bacon, greens, tomato, red onion, and a drizzle of lemon-dill aioli. It tastes like a mash up of a Jewish deli staple and something from a barbecue spot.
1309 5th St NE
Washington, D.C. 20002

8. Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

1612 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009-4307
Photo: Pearl Dive Oyster Palace
The sandwich: C.E.B.L.T. Po-Boy
When a BLT and a po'boy breed, the result is a C.E.B.L.T The hefty sandwich features fried catfish and a farm egg accompanied by all the trappings of a traditional B.L.T. The sandwich gets extra points for using Benton’s bacon because the Tennessee product is extra smoky.
1612 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009-4307

9. Red Apron Butchery

709 D St NW, Washington, D.C., 20004
The sandwich: Meatball
Tasting of last night's leftovers from someone’s nonna, the meatball sandwich at Red Apron boasts tender pork meatballs, tomato sauce, salsa verde, and pleasingly sharp Grana Padano on a sub roll. It would be ideal if they served it with a bib — it’s that saucy — so proceed with caution.
709 D St NW, Washington
D.C., 20004

10. Sloppy Mama's

1309 5th St NE, Washington, DC 20002
Photo: Sloppy Mama's
The sandwich: The pork sandwich
Sloppy Mama’s pork sandwich sounds simple enough, but the secret is in the prep. The local outfit takes a whole bone-in shoulder and coats it a spice rub dubbed “Happy Sprinkles,” before smoking it the next day for 10-12 hours over oak wood from the Shenandoah Mountains. When its tender and pulling apart, Sloppy Mama’s douses it in Carolina sauce, adds more seasoning, and a scoop of slaw on toasted brioche.
1309 5th St NE
Washington, DC 20002

11. Stachowski's Market

1425 28th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
The sandwich: Pastrami
Only a trio of pro athletes could polish off the pastrami sandwich at Stachowski’s. The ingredients are simple — just thick slices of savory pastrami with mustard on rye or pumpernickel — but the sandwich has become synonymous with excess. Bring help or be prepared for leftovers. The juicy, briny pastrami is just as good on day two.
1425 28th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

12. Stoney's (Multiple locations)

1433 P St NW, Washington, DC 20005
Photo by Julian V. / Yelp
The sandwich: Super grilled cheese
Stoney’s grilled cheese tastes like what mom used to make with its jack-o'-lantern-orange cheese and buttered white bread. But it begs to be paired with beer instead of milk at the neighborhood watering hole. For the full experience make it a “Super Grilled Cheese” with tomato, bacon, and onions.
1433 P St NW
Washington, DC 20005

13. Sundevich

1314 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Photo: Sundevich
The sandwich: Kingston
The Kingston, which pays tribute to Jamaica, stands out thanks to fiery jerk chicken, pineapple salsa, greens, spicy slaw, and garlic mayonnaise.
1314 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

14. The Italian Store (Multiple Locations)

3123 Lee Hwy, Arlington, VA 22201
Photo: The Italian Store
The sandwich: Muffuletta
Besides being fun to say, The Italian Store’s Muffuletta sandwich satisfies. Round Sicilian-style bread plays host to the best of the best behind the deli counter: mortadella, provolone, smoked prosciutto, and Genoa salami. Olives and an olive oil dressing add tartness to combat the richness of the deli meats.
3123 Lee Hwy
Arlington, VA 22201

15. Wagshal's (Multiple Locations)

3201 New Mexico Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20016
Wagshal’s display case, with several meats showing behind glass Photo: Wagshal's
The sandwich: Superior
Iconic sandwich slinger Wagshal’s Delicatessen has roots in D.C. dating back to 1925. Think of this historic gravitas while eating the Superior, which serves as a cross-section of the deli’s best meats: roast beef, corned beef, ham, and pastrami. The sandwich also has Russian dressing, coleslaw, cheddar spread, and chopped liver, just for good measure.
3201 New Mexico Ave NW
Washington, D.C. 20016

Related Maps

16. Amsterdam Falafelshop (Multiple locations)

1830 14th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20009
Photo: Amsterdam Falafelshop
The sandwich: Falafel sandwich
Loyal Amsterdam Falafelshop customers know to crush falafel balls housed in a warm pita before going on a toppings blitz. The falafel sandwich is explosive with Middle Eastern flavor thanks to the addition of toppers like smoky baba ghanoush, piquant pickled turnips, tangy cabbage, creamy tahini and indulgent fried eggplant. Choose from three to five orbs of falafel, and note that the sandwich makes for both a filling lunch and a late-night snack that's become an indispensable part of a bar crawl in Adams Morgan or on 14th Street NW.
1830 14th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20009

17. Jetties (Multiple Locations)

1609 Foxhall Rd NW, Washington, D.C. 20007
Jetties DC baxter road The open-faced Baxter Road at Jetties. Photo by Warren Rojas / Eater
The sandwich: Baxter Road
For a taste of Thanksgiving any time of year, look no further than Jetties’ gravy-soaked tribute. The local chain douses tender sliced turkey breast in savory herb-mushroom gravy, all flanked by mounds of onion-laced stuffing, and sliced sweet potatoes.
1609 Foxhall Rd NW
Washington, D.C. 20007

18. Smoked and Stacked

1239 9th St NW, Washington, D.C. 20001
Photo by Ken A. / Yelp
The sandwich: The Messy
Chef Marjorie Meek-Bradley's pastrami-focused sandwich shop opened last fall next to the convention center, and one of its greatest hits is this signature Reuben-esque offering. Napkins are a must, with pastrami, rye, sauerkraut, comte, and Thousand Island dressing overflowing between pieces of rye bread.
1239 9th St NW
Washington, D.C. 20001

19. Earl's Sandwiches (Multiple Locations)

2605 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201
Earl's VA pork and fries The pork and fries at Earl’s Sandwiches. Photo: Earl’s Sandwiches
The sandwich: Pork and fries
This local chainlet unites savory slow-roasted pork, crisp French fries, piquant white onions, zesty chipotle mayonnaise, juicy strips of sweet peppers, and tangy pickle chips between grilled ciabatta.
2605 Wilson Blvd
Arlington, VA 22201

Related Maps