We could write for days about the sandwich royalty on the North Shore: roast beef at Harrison’s, Nick’s Famous or Mino’s, fried chicken at Flip the Bird, Dom’s Sausage in Malden.
But sometimes we just need to go green. So here are our 10 favorite meatless masterpieces north of Boston.
Superb squash at Sandpiper
Molly and Susanne at the lovely Sandpiper Bakery in Ipswich have designed a vegetarian sandwich to melt your heart. With locally sourced Alprilla Farm butternut squash, roasted red onions from Appleton Farms and a garlicky goat cheese spread, this focaccia wonder will be a sensory dream and you’ll soon head back for more to make sure it really happened.
Excellent eggplant at Frank
Frank McClelland works miracles at lunch, too, at Frank in Beverly. If you are in the mood for a creative eggplant option, try his Jardiniere with grilled eggplant, escarole, herb ricotta and harissa aioli. And pickles. Make sure you don’t omit those pickles.
Farm fresh at Eat Well Kitchen
At Eat Well Kitchen in Marblehead we most love their Farmers’ Market Pick with roasted seasonal veggies, goat cheese, and the best part: their housemade sunflower seed pesto.
Fantastic Falafel at Hop and Grind
Peabody’s Hop and Grind is a great place for beer and burgers, but if you aren’t in the mood for meat, try the Smashed Falafel fusion sandwich with spinach, tomato, cucumber, feta, and their garlic and greens yogurt. Add some of their addictive salt and truffle vinegar fries (without the beef tallow if you’re abstaining from beef).
Perfect parm at Best Sandwiches
At Best Sandwiches in Peabody, you won’t go wrong with the classic eggplant parm with not one, but four cheeses, including aged provolone, fontina, mozzarella and Romano. With housemade Italian gravy and the eggplant as the star of the show, you’ll feel like Nonna fixed you up with food for the soul.
Battle of the banh mi at Soall Bistro and Lin’s Little Kitchen
The caramelized eggplant banh mi from the dynamic duo of Sa Nguyen and Mia Lunt at Soall Bistro (locations in Marblehead and Beverly) is so good we ordered it twice in the same week. Their Vietnamese baguette is just what we crave with that outside crust and inside softness. Within the baguette is the classic combo of cucumber, cilantro, jalapeno and Vietnamese mayo. Add the caramelized eggplant and the flavor profile is complete.
Once we have had our fill at Soall, we head over to Lin’s Little Kitchen in Newburyport for Chef Linda’s vegan banh mi with fried tofu, tamari vinaigrette, cilantro, pickled veggies and cucumber. With an order of taro fries for an extra three bucks all will be right for your little lunch at Lin’s.
Italian inspiration at Virgilio’s
In Gloucester, our vegetarian sandwich needs are met at Virgilio’s, where we return again and again for the Nor’easter, loaded with veggies, imported provolone and oil, vinegar and oregano. But it’s the addition of the olive salad that truly makes the Nor’easter a success.
Sunny spices at Organic Garden Café
The Thai Spice Wrap at Organic Garden Café in Beverly is unique and fulfilling, with sunseed burger croquettes, mixed greens, veggies and two sauces: their curry sauce and a roasted sunflower butter sauce. Take your wrap for a picnic at Lynch Park and enjoy the view while you satisfy your tastebuds.
Magnificent mushroom at Chez Casa
At Chez Casa in Salem, the Mushswoon is a sandwich you’ll want on your radar. Loaded into a fresh, grilled ciabatta is a confit of portobello mushrooms topped with grilled mozzarella, watercress, roasted pepper and balsamic vinegar. Our suggestion: no requests or changes. Eat their sandwiches how they were intended to be eaten.