On November 3 we'll celebrate a tragically overlooked holiday that honors the birth of John Montagu, a degenerate gambler, wig enthusiast and lunchtime visionary. Montagu, the fourth Earl of Sandwich -- reportedly came up with the idea of marrying food and bread in a handy package, which is why we commemorate him on National Sandwich Day. It's also the reason we set out to find the greatest sandwich in America.

We present 16 of the best sandwiches in this land from north to south, east to west. We've compiled them from some of the best local experts in the nation, as well as from food bloggers and readers.

Let's do this one for the Earl, for America and sandwiches everywhere. Vote now, vote often, vote in memory of a man who's given you more than Santa, the Easter Bunny, and Captain Fourth of July combined. (Don't forget to tell us in the comments about any sandwiches we missed.)

Stay tuned -- on November 2, we'll announce the finalists. The next day, National Sandwich Day, we'll announce the national winner.

UPDATE: The finalists have been chosen. Vote for the best sandwich in America now!

NORTH

Sandwich: The Lobster Roll
Location: B&G Oysters, Boston
Why It's the Greatest: New England is a magical land where normally exotic lobsters are so plentiful they serve them on ye ol' hot dog buns. The lobster roll is a Boston classic -- lemon aioli, chives, celery, and 8 ounces of lobster meat. It's a simple meal with a complex taste.
The Experts Say: Erin Byers, writing for Boston magazine, calls B&G Oysters ocean roach on a bun "quite possibly the world's most perfect lobster roll."

Sandwich: Pork Belly and Pickled Rhubarb
Location: Num Pang, New York City
Why It's the Greatest: What's in the sandwich is a beautiful thing: spicy mayo, pickled carrots, cilantro, and dreams. When you want a num pang, go to Num Pang.
The Experts Say: Zack Brooks, editor of Midtownlunch.com, says: "The pickled rhubarb takes the five spice pork belly sandwich at Num Pang to a different level. The crispy half meat/half fat belly is perfectly cut by the sweet and sour dark red strips of rhubarb."

Sandwich: Sloppy Joe
Location: Millburn Deli, Millburn, N.J.
Why It's the Greatest: Sloppy Joes aren't just that cafeteria food that most resembles a crime scene. At this New Jersey deli, they're a triple-decker sandwich made of ham, turkey, roast beef and Swiss cheese, glued together with coleslaw and Russian dressing.
Sandwich Secret: The Millburn Deli's Sloppy Joe is so humongous that it's cut into mouth-size thirds instead of halves.

Sandwich: Cheesesteak
Location: Cosmi's Deli, Philadelphia
Why It's the Greatest: The cheese steak is the official sandwich of the City of Brotherly Love. Humble Cosmi Deli has been serving up bread soaked with juicy piles of meat and cheese since 1932. It's the kind of meal that will put a smile on your next heart attack.
The Experts Say: Richard Rys writes in Philadelphia magazine, "These guys do it right. Fresh roll with a choice of plain or seeded (I opt for the former), meat chopped with a samurai's precision, melted cheese embracing each piece like Mama giving Raj a bear hug on 'What's Happening?'"




SOUTH

Sandwich:
Peacemaker Po' Boy
Location: Mahony's, New Orleans
Why It's the Greatest: In New Orleans, the po' boy is king. Mahoney's churns out funky versions of this classic, like root beer-glazed ham, veal Parmesan and fried chicken liver po' boys. But the jewel in their sandwich crown is the Peacemaker -- fried oysters, bacon and cheddar cheese.
Sandwich Secret: In a town where the fight for po' boy supremacy is as fierce as a UFC cage match, Mahony's has been a winner (specifically at 2008's New Orlean's Po' Boy Preservation Festival).

Sandwich: "Bird to the Wise" Turkey Sandwich
Location: Jason's Deli, Birmingham, Ala.
Why It's the Greatest: This sandwich piles turkey, pastrami and Swiss cheese on a toasted onion bun. But wait, it's healthy? Jason's Deli uses only organic ingredients.
Sandwich Secret: The July 2009 issue of Parenting voted Jason's Deli one of the "10 Best Restaurants in America."

Sandwich: Lamb Sandwich
Location: Sandwich, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Why It's the Greatest: This little restaurant reinvents sandwiches like grilled cheese, tuna fish and meatloaf, putting a quirky, gourmet twist on each. And then there's the lamb sandwich, which fuses Middle Eastern flavors with pure awesome.

The Experts Say: Slashfood's Emily Matchar claims this is her favorite 'wich, saying, "As I'm eating their meltingly tender pulled lamb with Moroccan prune chutney on focaccia I'm thinking, This has to be one of the top 10 best sandwiches I've had in my life."

Sandwich: Torta Poblano
Location: La Hechizera, Dallas
Why It's the Greatest: Served on a crusty, white bun, it's served with avocados, jalapeños, tomatoes and all manner of savory proteins. In Dallas, La Hechizera is the place to get your fix, or to start the habit.
The Experts Say: Nancy Nichols, reviewing the poblano torta for Dallas magazine, took her torta to go. She should have scarfed it down piping hot. But no matter, she writes, "Even cold and sodden, this torta always makes me happy."




MIDWEST

Sandwich: Rueben
Location: Zingerman's Deli, Ann Arbor, Mich.
Why It's the Greatest: It's a mighty stack of homemade corn beef, Swiss, sauerkraut and Russian dressing that shames every deli-man in Manhattan. Plus, the ingredient that ties this sandwich together is the freshly baked rye bread.
Sandwich Secret: The notable smartypants at The Atlantic called Zingerman's rye bread the rye-est rye bread in the country.

Sandwich: Grilled Meatloaf
Location: Rochester Deli, Milwaukee, Wisc.
Why It's the Greatest: Meatloaf combines two awesome words -- meat and loaf. At this Milwaukee mainstay, the flavorsome meatloaf is grilled with cheddar cheese or provolone, served on Vienna bread, and slathered with either barbecue sauce or horseradish.
The Experts Say: The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel voted it "Best Sandwich Shop '09."

Sandwich: Three Little Pigs
Location: Silver Palm, Chicago
Why It's the Greatest: The Silver Palm's Three Little Pigs sandwich is smoked ham, a breaded pork cutlet, two strips of bacon, two fried eggs, smothered in gruyere and served on a brioche bun. Subtle? No. Delicious? Oh, c'mon ...
Sandwich Secret: Chef, author and television raconteur Anthony Bourdain declared this pork-pocalypse the "Greatest sandwich in America." And who's going to argue with that endorsement?

Sandwich: Brisket Sandwich
Location: Winslow's Home, St. Louis
Why it's the Greatest: Brisket is beef shoulder, slowly cooked until the fat renders it a mess of juicy, beefy goodness. And the Holy Grail of this excellent example of patient, loving roasting can be found at Winslow's Home in St. Louis.
The Experts Say: The Riverfront Times calls the brisket sandwich at Winslow's Home the best sandwich of the year, describing it as "thinly sliced brisket roasted overnight, basted with a beguiling jus and piled high between toasted flaxseed bread."




WEST

Sandwich:
Grilled Cheese
Location: Lamb's Grill, Salt Lake City
Why It's the Greatest: The grilled cheese is many things: a childhood favorite, a flu cure-all, a taunting nightmare for the lactose intolerant. Lamb's Grill does it old school, which is why it's so damn awesome.
The Experts Say: The Salt Lake City Weekly voted Lamb's Grill the "Best Blue Collar Grilled Cheese Sandwich." In lurid, food porn detail they explain the experience: "The sandwich comes expertly fried, buttery, and crisp ... The cheese (choose cheddar) oozes from the crusts and melts in your mouth."

Sandwich: "Memphis" Peanut Butter and Jelly
Location: PB&Loco, Phoenix
Why It's the Greatest: Maybe Elvis had it right -- there's only one way to improve on the flawless peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and that's to deep fry it. While you're at it, bacon, honey and banana don't hurt.
Sandwich Secret: You can make your own tricked-out PB&J's by ordering any number of the "adult" peanut butters this joint offers. Curry? Cinnamon and raisins? Double chocolate! This changes everything.

Sandwich: Cuban Roast
Location: Paseo, Seattle
Why It's the Greatest: The best Cuban sandwich -- a drool-worthy, Latin twist on the ham and cheese -- isn't found in Miami. Apparently, it's hiding in plain view in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Paseo combines slow roasted pork shoulder with cilantro, jalapeños and caramelized onions.
What the Experts Say: The well-dressed tastemakers at Esquire agree with much of the foodieverse, declaring Paseo as having the "Best Cuban Meat Sandwich." We've heard no one dispute this.

Sandwich: The Bobbie
Location: Capriotti's, Las Vegas
Why It's the Greatest: This isn't just a turkey sandwich; it's the Incredible Hulk of turkey sandwiches. The Bobbie is Capriotti's flagship protein vehicle, and it's like Turkey Day on a roll. "Gobble" it. Ha! Get it?
The Experts Say: John Curtas, editor of EatingLV.com, calls The Bobbie "one of the greatest sandwiches anywhere -- Thanksgiving dinner on a torpedo roll -- fresh roasted turkey, house-made herb stuffing, lettuce, mayonnaise and cranberry sauce."



Tell us: Did we miss your favorite sandwich? Let us know in the comments.

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