For the uninitiated, all sandwiches may seem like they’re no different from each other. This couldn’t be more wrong, though, as some sandwiches are definitely better than others. Sure your favorite chains may offer great, hearty bites but if you want to change things up a bit and learn more about the great potential sandwiches have,  then you should meet these seven chains that are not your run-of-the-mill sandwich joints.

Mendocino Farms

This growing chain stands out from the competition for all the right reasons. Its name may not scream subs but once you get to know what it is, you’ll be hooked and drawn to it.

Why? It’s because they’re doing to sandwiches what many other mindful restaurants are doing to their eateries. They’re offering chef-driven, locally-sourced sandwiches, allowing them to effectively capture their South California market.

If their general concept isn’t gourmet enough for you, then some of their specialty items might just do the trick. Take their Kurobuta pork belly sandwich, for example. This item’s key ingredient takes 2 days to make. They also have seasonal chef’s picks, guaranteeing that there’s always something new from their menu.


Like lots of budding restaurant brands today, Homegrown is a mission-driven brand that is focused on ‘sandwich environmentalism’. It might sound silly but the idea is very simple: it offers an accessible option for those who want to continue consuming locally-sourced food when they dine out.

While lots of restaurants have the same concept, they’re not as convenient as sandwich shops with their grab and go options. Homegrown hopes to fill this void with their environmentally conscious concept.

Due to their use of local ingredients, their menu isn’t necessarily similar to other chains’. They have familiar items like Smoked Pastrami and Turkey and Bacon sandwiches but you’ll also find more off-beat choices like their Broccoli Melt, Za’atar Smashed Chickpea, and Grass-fed Steak & Blue Cheese sandwiches.

Pret a Manger

Also commonly referred to as Pret, this chain has an upscale vibe to it for its combination of fresh offerings and possibly the French name and British origins. This sandwich place definitely seems more posh than others even if it promises to get customers out of the door 60 seconds after they have chosen an order.

What sets their sandwiches apart is their bistro-style, so they don’t really seem like your regular sandwich shop pick. They also make food that is all-natural and without any preservatives which explains why there are no best before dates on their products. Their sizes aren’t like the subs we know well, too. They’re smaller than the supersized portions Americans are used to but are packed with proteins and fiber that are filling and nutritious.

What should you get at Pret? Try their Balsamic Chicken & Avocado, Egg Salad & Arugula, and Cheddar & Tomato sandwiches.

Kneaders Bakery & Cafe

If your idea of a good sandwich involves a fantastic base, then Kneaders Bakery will catch your eye. Hailed as one of the fastest growing bakery cafes in the US, it’s best known for using artisanal breads on their sandwiches. You won’t find bland white or wheat bread here as they specialize in baked breads that are specially made using their own specific flour blend.

To make the most out of your visit at a Kneaders store, make sure to try their Turkey Cranberry Croissant, Provolone Muenster Cheese Melt, and Turkey Artichoke on Focaccia.

Jimmy John’s

Formally known as Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches, this chain possibly has the most familiar concept of the lot. They carry the title ‘gourmet’ on their name but can we take their word for it? With their classic deli offerings that are made with high-quality ingredients, the answer is yes.

What should you get at Jimmy John’s? Its ‘Slim’ offerings are proving to be popular among the health crowd. The best options are the Slim Turkey Breast and Slim Tuna Salad as both are packed with proteins and healthy fat. The Pepe is also a crowd favorite, although, some modifications may be necessary if you want to make it healthier.

Taylor Gourmet

Like Jimmy John’s, Taylor Gourmet wears the word ‘gourmet’ like a badge of honor. However, unlike the other brand, it’s easier to see why they claim to offer gourmet sandwiches. Since their concept features made from scratch meals, their sandwiches definitely promise quality ingredients and taste.

The most notable thing about this sandwich shop is that they make sure to keep their food fresh to the best of their abilities. They make their sauces in store and cook their veggies and meats in their own shops. While the breads aren’t baked in the restaurant, they’re delivered freshly baked daily.

So if you’re hankering for some sandwich but want something special and maybe even better, these joints are great places to look into if there are any near you. They offer a different take on sandwich recipes, breathing new life into this classic dish.


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