jersey mike's subs
Jersey Mike's Subs

10 Popular Sandwich Chains, Ranked From Best to Worst

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Jimmy John's Sub
Kaleb E./Yelp

Battle of the Subs

We live in a world of chain sandwiches, and depending on the town you live in, the best sandwich near you might actually be the chain down the street. But in the sub-space battle, who rises to the top? Does J. Mike defeat J. John? Has Subway's legacy aged well? Did I include a grocery store in this ranking even though that definitely doesn't count? For all these answers and more, here are 10 submarine sandwich chains, ranked from best to worst.


Related: Iconic Sandwich Shops That Changed Lunch Forever

potbelly sandwich
Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Best: Potbelly

Some cities have a Potbelly every 20 feet. Others are disastrously barren. If you're lucky enough to live in range of a Potbelly, you already know what you have. The meats are hearty. The bread is always perfect. Options range from familiarities like Italians and tuna, all the way to originals like Mediterranean subs and chicken salad. The addition of hot, giardiniera-style peppers are a gorgeous thing as well. Not that your gut would be happy about it, but tossing a side of mac or chili onto your order is highly recommended.


Related: Where to Find a Good, Cheap Sandwich in Every State

publix sub
Publix Super Markets

2. Publix

OK, OK, I know, I know, this isn't even really a sandwich chain. What are you, the ranking police? Publix Deli is on par with the best chain sandwiches money can buy, and if it weren't such a hassle to get in and out of a grocery store, I'd probably have given it the No. 1 spot. The deli makes a terrific sandwich, loaded with Boar's Head meat and served on sub rolls that toast up like a dream. Chances are high that if you're at Publix, you're probably standing near the best sandwiches in your vicinity.


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jersey mike's subs
Jersey Mike's Subs

3. Jersey Mike's

If you are a big hoagie-loving goon like myself, you probably also enjoy the dripping-with-oil vibes that New Jersey Michael hangs his hat on. "Mike's Way" (lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, vinegar, and spices) is my go-to sandwich backbone. It's a delight to watch the employees slice meat in front of your very eyes, and while this is a Pepsi-only establishment, I forgive it for that.


Related: Best Subs, Grinders, and Hoagies Across America

Snarf's Sandwiches
Snarf's Sandwiches

4. Snarf's

Snarf's actually isn't too much different than Potbelly, but it's just too localized to have the ability to defeat Jersey Mike's. Snarf's does meat well. Snarf's does bread well. Snarf's knows to use shredduce. Step after step it's a hit, and though it plays to a college crowd, that right there might be the secret to the success. When you run a sandwich shop, a college student is precisely who you should be catering to. We're talking about peak sandwich eaters in their prime. These specimens have given Snarf's the stamp of approval, and that goes a long way.

which wich surf and turf sandwich
Kaleb E. / Yelp

5. Which Wich

I'm not really sure what Which Wich's "thing" is. It does seem like the people behind it designed the name to specifically stop customers from spelling it correctly. These are good, solid sandwiches, made on bread that gets flaky and perfect when you toast it. Hot, Italian peppers are an option, but so is chicken, and that might be the most special thing of all.

Jimmy John's Sub
Kaleb E./Yelp

6. Jimmy John's

If you had to choose to eat at a sandwich shop owned by a man who once posed in front of a lion he had shot and killed, Jimmy John's is probably the best place to do that. While the sandwiches are of an undeniable quality, the entire establishment looks like the product of a lunatic. Signs with cutesy phrases are plastered over ever bare inch of wall and ceiling, and for some reason they don't slice the sandwiches in half. Here's a fun trick at Jimmy John's: order a large sandwich. Rather than one large sandwich, they will instead just wrap up two regular sandwiches and hand them to you, making you feel like the world's biggest glutton. The whole place just feels unhinged.

Subway Melt
Subway/Yelp

7. Subway

It's been quite a rollercoaster with Subway, don't you think? There was a time when Subway ran this town. As a kid, Subway was one of my favorite sandwiches on the planet. Once the other challengers blew open the saloon doors, Subway fell to the absolute back of my mind, and I had a streak of bad experiences. Then came the chopped salad days, and Subway peaked a bit for me around then, but now it's ditched its old salad ways. I still don't mind a Subway sandwich, but it's nowhere near the king it used to be. Here's lookin' at ya, Subway. You have my utmost respect.

blimpie sandwich
Joe R. / Yelp

8. Blimpie

Blimpie is kind of like a restaurant you'd make if you took the bad parts of Subway and Jersey Mike's and combined them. Existing solely in the corner of unsafe highway truck stops, Blimpie serves hoagie-style subs. While there's nothing inherently wrong with Blimpie, it just feels like something you could make yourself at home for half the price with Oscar Meyer meat. This isn't why you go to a sandwich shop.

Firehouse Subs: BBQ Cuban
Firehouse Subs

9. Firehouse Subs

I suppose it's nice that Firehouse allegedly donates some of their proceeds to first responders. That's about as specific as the company's willing to get, so take from that what you will. The sandwiches are fine and I enjoy the pickle spears, but the deli meat is probably the most forgettable of all.

Quiznos: The Smilin' Pig
Quiznos

10. Quiznos

I'll be honest, I've not seen hide nor hair of Quiznos in quite some time. There are still 164 left, speckled across the country, but it can't be long before this freakshow restaurant is completely extinct. Remember those commercials? Remember waiting an eternity for your sandwich to slide through that toaster designed to incinerate your bread into ash? There was always that huge barrel of pickles in the "pepper bar" so I will give the big Q one ounce of credit. But only one.