I Tried 6 Popular Sandwiches From McAlister's Deli, and I've Already Forgotten About Them

mcalisters deli sandwiches

Phil S. / Yelp

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mcalisters deli sandwiches
Phil S. / Yelp


It’s nuts how many chains think they can come for Panera’s throne, isn’t it? McAlister’s Deli, founded in Oxford, Mississippi, is giving it a try — and with over 500 locations in the U.S., it’s doing a pretty respectable job. 

As a complete newbie to McAlister’s, I figured I needed to know how it stacks up to other cafe chains. Here are six McAlister’s sandwiches, ranked.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

horseradish roast beef and cheese sandwich
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

Best: Horseradish Roast Beef and Cheddar


Though I’m not somebody who thinks that roast beef and cheddar are that great of a pairing (hit that roast beef with some white cheese, I say), this took an easy first place slot. 

The McAlister's roast beef sandwich is juicy and tender, complemented by a classic horseradish mayo, and the crunch of the red onions really nails the final component. I’d consider ordering this again.

spicy turkey melt
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

2. Spicy Turkey Melt


Of all the boring sandwiches at McAlister’s, this was easily the least boring. The fresh-ish avocado and spicy chipotle ranch sauce are incredibly welcome touches, and it’s served on a baguette, which is the best of the bread I tasted. 

I don’t necessarily mean this as a bad thing, but I’m quite puzzled by it: All of the bread at McAlister’s is really, really soft. All of it. It’s just so light and spongy, almost like it’s been designed for baby teeth. Because I no longer possess my baby teeth, I wouldn’t mind a sandwich with a little bit of bite to it. Especially a baguette.

mcalisters club
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

3. McAlister's Club


I’ve never really cared much about a club, but I will admit that it’s easily the Ole Reliable of sandwiches. For the most part, you’re not gonna go too wrong with a club. Black forest ham, turkey, and bacon is a safe, respectable choice almost anywhere. The McAlister’s Club is exactly that. Nothing wrong with the safe choice.

Please note the highly terrifying toothpick placement in this sandwich. What a thrill!

italian sub from mcalister's deli
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

4. The Italian


The soft baguette is only the first thing wrong with this sandwich. I respect McAlister's for going for an Italian, but none of this is right. Spring mix? C’mon now. Spring mix is a plague for sandwiches, creating an uneven surface for toppings to roll off. 

McAlister’s has doubled down on this part, too, opting to put black olives right on top of that spring mix. Good luck getting a single one of those in your mouth, because they’ll be on the floor in an instant. 

And perhaps the worst crime of all? They’ve dressed this sandwich with balsamic vinaigrette and spicy brown mustard. At this point, it’s barely an Italian sub. I’m heated. I gotta cool down.

Related: Beyond the Club: Here Are 8 Things To Try From the McAlister's Secret Menu

grilled chicken club
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

5. Grilled Chicken Club


Damn, dude. This chicken is dry as a desert. McAlister’s seems to have lucked into a very tasty honey mustard dressing, and it’s the grilled chicken club’s only saving grace. Ask for some extra on the side, so you can drown out the taste of this wildly bland chicken.

Related: Best Subs, Grinders, and Hoagies Across America

french dip
Wilder Shaw / Cheapism

6. French Dip


At first I loved this French dip, but then something insane happened. After a few seconds of chewing, my dipped bite began to get sweeter and sweeter, until it finally tasted like one thing only: maple syrup. 

I tasted the jus and the sandwich individually, and neither tasted like maple syrup. When you combine them, boom, maple syrup. It’s like one of those novelty chocolate cake shots that they sell at college bars.

I don’t want my French dip to taste like maple syrup. I assume you don’t, either.

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