Over the past year, 10Best and Sandwich America, with the help of our readers, have found the best iconic sandwiches in more than 30 U.S. states (see the winners here, here and here) in our 10Best Readers’ Choice contest. Now we need your help naming winners in eight more states and the District of Columbia.
Our editors teamed up with local food writers and The Food Channel to nominate up to 20 sandwiches per location. You have until Monday, April 10 at noon ET to vote for your favorites, and you can vote once per day in each category.
Click on each category below to vote.
Best Pimento Cheese in Arkansas
Pimento cheese consists of shredded cheese, mayo, diced red pimentos and spices, and while universally loved throughout the South, its roots can be found in New York in the late 19th century. During this time, packaged cream cheese and canned Spanish peppers where easily accessible and affordable – a new recipe was born.
Soon after, a farmer from Georgia began growing pimento peppers on U.S. soil, eventually bringing “southern pate” to the South.
Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a restaurant menu without some version of this simple and addictive concoction. While it’s great as an appetizer (evidenced by some of our nominees), it also makes for a killer sandwich or burger topper.
Best Chicken Parm Sandwich in Connecticut
Nearly 19 percent of the Connecticut population is Italian American – a greater percentage than just about any other state in the US. Italians began surging into the state in the mid 19th century, and today, three Connecticut towns rank in the top eight cities in the U.S. for representation of Italian Americans: East Haven, North Haven and North Branford.
This rich Italian heritage is reflected in the food; you don’t have to go far in the state to find a stellar Italian eatery. The star sandwich option at many of these restaurants is the chicken parm – a breaded and fried chicken cutlet topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese, and usually served on a hoagie or roll.
Best Juicy Lucy in Minnesota
To trace the origins of the Jucy Lucy (or Juicy Lucy as it’s spelled at some places), head to Cedar Avenue in South Minneapolis where two bars – Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club – claim to have invented this indulgent Minnesota comfort food.
According to Matt’s Bar, a customer in 1954 requested two burger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. Upon biting into it, he declared, “That’s one juicy Lucy,” and a legend was born. The 5-8 Club, a speakeasy in the 1920s, doesn’t offer a clear origin story, other than that the burger was first created in the club kitchen in the 1950s.
No matter where you get this burger, it often comes with a warning – don’t bite into it right away, lest you scorch your taste buds with the molten hot cheese that oozes from its beefy core. Matt’s version features American cheese, while burger joints elsewhere in the state have started stuffing their Juicy Lucys with all kinds of ingredients.
Best Catfish Sandwich in Mississippi
The state of Mississippi leads the country in catfish production – the leading aquaculture industry in the nation – so it’s no surprise that this moist, sweet and mild fish makes an appearance between slices of bread across the state.
At most Mississippi catfish joints, the fish is battered, fried and served as a po’boy on a hoagie or flaky French bread, but it can also come blackened or grilled, often with Cajun seasoning.
Best Elk Burger in Montana
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
A strong ranching industry across the state means Montana knows how to make a killer burger. But beef isn’t the only meat on the menu in The Treasure State. The fourth largest state in the nation has plenty of wide open spaces and wild places, and that means game meat. More specifically, elk.
Elk burgers are leaner and higher in protein than their beefy cousins, with a clean and slightly sweet flavor that pairs well with pretty much any classic burger topping.
Best Crab Sandwich in Oregon
Native to the cold waters off the coast of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, the Dungeness crab is prized for its sweet, succulent meat. It’s the state crustacean of Oregon, and as such, it makes an appearance on seafood menus up and down the coast (and inland as well).
There isn’t really a cookie cutter crab sandwich here; sometimes crab is served in a New England-style roll or mixed with breadcrumbs and fried as a crab cake. Other sandwiches come stuffed with a whole deep-fried soft shell crab or are served open-faced as a melt.
Best Walleye Sandwich in South Dakota
Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
Walleye, the state fish of South Dakota, has a flaky white flesh and a sweet, mild flavor. Anglers from around the nation come to South Dakota in search of this prized fish, and during the summer season, it hits the fry pan in restaurant kitchens across the state.
Often lightly breaded and fried, walleye finds its way onto many a menu in the form of a sandwich, often served no-frills with lettuce, tomato and a bit of tartar sauce.
Best Pastrami Burger in Utah
Contrary to what the name might have you believe, a pastrami burger isn’t a burger made from pastrami. It’s a burger topped with a heaping mound of the seasoned, brined and smoked meat. While the pastrami burger likely has its roots in Southern California, the Greek communities in Salt Lake City quickly embraced the meat-on-meat creation.
Crown Burgers is the undisputed originator of the sandwich in Utah – the first location was opened in 1978 by the Katsanevas family. Today burger joints throughout the state feature some form of pastrami-stacked burger on their menu. Many include swiss cheese and either Thousand Island dressing or Utah’s ubiquitous fry sauce (a mixture of ketchup, mayo and spices).
Best Half-Smoke in Washington, DC
If you’ve ever cheered on the Nats or gone for a beer or two on U Street, you’re probably familiar with DC’s signature street eat, the half-smoke. The name refers to a spicy pork and beef sausage, typically larger and coarser than a hot dog, that is most commonly served on a soft bun and smothered in chili, mustard and onions.
No one is quite sure how the half-smoke originated, but some believe the sausage was first produced by Briggs & Co. meatpackers in the 1930s. In 1954, Weenie Beenie opened in Shirlington and began grilling half-smokes, followed by Ben’s Chili Bowl in 1958.
Remember, vote once per day in each category, and check back on Friday, April 14 to see which sandwich shops are crowned the best!