The Best Sandwiches In Austin

Don’t let anybody tell you that Austin isn’t a sandwich city.
The cross-section of the Italian sub from Home Slice.

photo credit: Richard Casteel

Austin has developed a reputation as a barbecue town and a taco town, but don’t let that fool you—this city also has some spectacular sandwiches. The kinds that can comfort you through a boring Monday or kick off a weekend full of bánh mì and breakfast biscuit sandwiches. And this guide covers more than just dedicated sandwich shops. Because sometimes a truly great sandwich is hiding at the back of a pizza restaurant or a ‘70s-themed bar. Here’s where to head for that ultimate crossover in portability, convenience, and versatility. 

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Richard Casteel

BBQ

Windsor Park

$$$$Perfect For:Lunch
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The Rachel sandwich at Mum Foods in Austin combines everything you love about New York Jewish delis with everything you love about central Texas-style BBQ. That means brined, oak-smoked brisket that’s been cooked low and slow until it pulls apart with a gentle tug. The rye is grilled, the sauerkraut is subbed for coleslaw, and it’s all slathered in a sweet, tangy russian dressing. It’s crunchy, smoky, tangy, and rich, and it’s something that could only exist in Texas.

What to get: The Rachel

A good bánh mì sits near the top of our overall sandwich rankings, and one of our favorites is at Fresh Bowl in North Austin. The baguette comes out toasted and puffy, resulting in an audible crunch and a small shower of crumbs after each bite, and there are enough pickled vegetables and cilantro to brighten up the savory fillings hidden within. We like the house special—it’s made with a tiny mountain of cold cuts and roasted meats, plus a very generous spread of pâté and mayo.

What to get: House Special bánh mì

You probably know Home Slice as a pizza place—this has been one of the most popular spots in town to grab a New York-style slice or pie for almost two decades. It also happens to be home to the best damn Italian sub in the city. Grab a slice while you’re there—it’s practically a requirement—but save room for the sandwich that comes packed full of ham, dry salami, capicola, genoa salami, and provolone cheese. It’s huge, but you can also get a half-sized order.

What to get: Italian sub 

Stepping into Frazier's Long & Low feels a little like stepping into a bar from the ‘70s, complete with Coors lanterns, a retro color scheme, and “Cold Beer” signs decorating the walls. We’ve talked at length about the burger at this Riverside bar, but when we want something just a little bit bigger (and messier), we go for the chopped cheese. Basically a chopped-up cheeseburger served on a hoagie roll, it’s hearty enough to soak up all the $2 Coors Banquets you just put down until late in the night. It’s also one of the only spots in town where we’ve found this New York deli staple. 

What to get: Vinny’s Chopped Cheese

We can’t think of a more indulgent way to start the morning than with a Queen Beak—a buttery biscuit sandwich filled with spicy breaded chicken breast, cayenne black pepper honey, and bacon-infused chipotle mayo. It’s sweet and spicy in all the right ways, with the crispy chicken and a biscuit that’s undoubtedly made with more butter than we care to think about. It’s located on Manor Road, operating mostly out of a takeout window that will inevitably have nearly 100 people around it every weekend morning (try ordering online in advance). 

What to get: Queen Beak

Taking inspiration from South Texas and Mexico, the fried chicken sandwiches at Las Abuelas come topped with things like arbol-garlic oil, queso, roasted serrano crema, and cotija cheese—our favorite is the De Lujo. And if you show up for their weekend special, you can even add Mexican Coke-glazed bacon and fried eggs to that list. Make sure to add on an order of Bandera Tots that are covered in a drizzle of chipotle mayo, cotija, jalapeño crema, and Tajin. The small trailer is outside of a gas station south of Slaughter and Menchaca.

What to get: De Lujo  

Whenever we find ourselves with a craving for a well-made cheesesteak, we’re heading to the trailer R&B’s in East Austin. It’s a classic cheesesteak that follows all the “rules” that the Philly joints seem to adhere to. Sure, you can fancy up your sandwich with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles—and call it a hoagie—but you should probably let the steak, cheese, and bread do their thing, uninterrupted. Either way, it’ll be packed full of thinly sliced Texas ribeye on an Amoroso roll with your choice of Cheez Whiz, provolone, or white american cheese—we’re on Team Whiz, by the way.

What to get: Classic cheesesteak

If you live in Austin, you might think it’s silly to make the drive to Round Rock just to eat a sandwich. Your friends and family might even describe you as “taking things too far” or “willing to drive for a meatball sub but not willing to drive to my birthday party.” This is the best meatball sub we’ve had in the greater Austin area, and that alone makes it worth a visit, wherever you let Google Maps call “home.” The meatballs are large (but not aggressively so), the sauce is just a little bit sweet, and a slab of melted cheese on top brings it all together. 

What to get: Meatball sub

There’s no shortage of great barbecue sandwiches in Austin, but the reason Distant Relatives takes our top spot isn’t even for the meat—though that’s also a high point—it’s for the sauce on top of it. It changes seasonally, but our favorite is when it’s a pickled green bean remoulade that adds some great texture and tang to cut through the fatty brisket and buttery brioche bun. But even if you find it topped with pickled cucumbers, cabbage, or something entirely different, we promise you’re going to enjoy whatever’s between that bun. 

What to get: Beef brisket sandwich 

The sandwiches at Choo Sando are modeled after what you’d find at a konbini in Japan—sliced in half, chilled, and packaged to go. And they’re made on milk bread, which somehow stays soft and sweet even after a day or two in the fridge. We like the panko-breaded pork katsu variety that comes with a tangy katsu sauce, but the light and fluffy egg salad is a close second. There’s also a whole section of fruit-and-cream-based dessert sandwiches in case you’ve ever wondered how to make a multi-course sandwich meal. And if you have commitment issues, you can grab variety packs that feature up to eight different half-sandwiches, ensuring you never have to eat more than three bites of the same thing. 

What to get: Classic katsu sando

The menu at Tropicana is about as classic Cuban as it gets, with croquetas, empanadas, and lechon asado on the menu. That also means this is one of the best spots in town to get a Cuban sandwich. The bread is baked in house before getting toasted and pressed, the ham and pork are tender and juicy, and a generous layer of melted swiss cheese brings it all home. Grab a shot of Cuban espresso while you’re there to keep you awake through the inevitable post-food nap that’s about to hit. 

What to get: Cubano

You’ll have lots of morning options at Rosen’s in North Austin, whether you want a classic New York-style bagel BEC or its Texas “Not A Taco” counterpart—basically a breakfast taco served in a bagel. We like all of the sandwiches that we’ve tried here, but our typical go-to is one of the schmearwiches. Get the lox on an everything bagel with lemon basil schmear for a great twist on a classic, then pick up a baker’s dozen on the way out to bring to the office and get into everybody’s good graces.

What to get: Classic lox schmearwich 

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