Editors’ Choice (TIE)
Port City Sandwich Co.
This locally owned shop reliably serves up all your favorites, always fresh, delicious, and generously sized, from the grilled chicken Caesar wrap to a Reuben. Try the West Newbury, a heaping portion of turkey, Swiss, and bacon grilled on dark rye, best enjoyed with Russian dressing. The shop, steps from the waterfront near the rail trail, is ideally located for grabbing lunch before a picnic by the Merrimack.
40R Merrimac St., Suite 102E, Newburyport, 978-358-8628, portcitysandwichco.com
Look to this town center hot spot for perfectly crafted renditions of mostly Italian favorites, from a luscious caprese featuring fresh mozzarella to meatball parm, not to mention a vast offering of Italian cold cuts. The bread is fresh-baked, the vibe is casual and welcoming, and you can add a glass of wine or a beer for a relaxing meal.
7 Barnard St., Andover, 978-475-1777, larosasofandover.com
Flip the Bird
The cheeky name and logo of this North Shore–based mini-chain belie the seriously good fried chicken, made from scratch to order, right down to the buttermilk ranch dressing and coleslaw. The line may be long, but it’s worth the wait.
407 Cabot St., Beverly, flipthebirdfriedchicken.com