When executed well, the hot sandwich is a hearty, flavor-layered comfort of culinary beauty. Join us as we unhinge our jaws for some of the finest Northern Michigan’s hot sandwich creations.

Frenchies Famous

619 Randolph Street, Traverse City 231.944.1228

French Clements hustles like a culinary octopus, simultaneously whisking omelets on the small commercial range, shaving pastrami and teasing crema from his La Mazocca espresso machine while scribbling orders and greeting patrons at Frenchies Famous, Traverse City’s cultiest cafe. The ochre walls, hammered copper accents and busy clatter have a literary, Parisian spirit that is manifest in the savory crepes, airy omelets and café au lait that are Frenchies breakfast signatures. The pièce de résistance, however, is the pastrami. Frenchies corns and cures the brisket in house, yielding some of the finest pastrami this side of the five boroughs, which is served slathered with honey mustard and melted Swiss on salty focaccia. Iron Chef and foodie icon Mario Batali named Frenchies one of his nine favorite restaurants on the planet.

The Garwood

Lakeside Charlie’s 301 S. Lk Mitchell Drive, Cadillac 231.775.5332

A proprietary mouthful of shaved hard salami, smoked turkey, gouda, lettuce, tomato, red onion, pepperoncini and housemade thyme mayo grilled on crusty French bread.

Safety First

Lake Street Market 306 South Lake Street, Boyne City 231.582.4450 

Invoke warmer climes with this caprese-inspired stack of tomato, fresh mozzarella and housemade pesto grilled on baguette.

Perch Stack

Stafford’s Weathervane 106 Pine River Lane, Charlevoix 231.547.4311

Lightly battered lake perch swimming under lettuce, tomato and punchy remoulade on a cottage dill roll.

Pit Ham

Ham Bonz 1108 East Eighth Street, Traverse City 231.929.9228

Whole Dearborn hams smoke for hours in Ham Bonz’s cast iron pit out back before being thick-sliced and served on a crusty grilled kaiser roll with piquant honey mustard.

Carolina Reuben

Folgarelli’s 424 West Front Street, Traverse City 231.941.7651 

Revel in the Carolina Reuben, a transcendental combination of house-smoked pork loin, cole slaw, spicy mustard and, if you ask nicely, liver paté grilled on crusty rye bread.

Italian Ghostrider

’Swiches 415 Cass Street, Traverse City 231.947.9424

Please your inner mob boss with this toasted synergy of ham, pepperoni, salami, peppers and spicy pepperjack cheese. A fiery foil to January’s frigid lunch hour.

Teriyaki Steak Sandwich

Sleeping Bear Inn 231 Main Street, Frankfort 231.352.8090

Sleeping Bear Inn Japanimates the classic Philly Cheese steak with some teriyaki love. Bite into sweet and salty beef tenderloin on a bed of sautéed onions, peppers and melty provolone cheese on chewy ciabatta.

Baja Shrimp Wrap

The Roadhouse 1058 Michigan Avenue, Benzonia 231.882.9631 

Grilled achiote shrimp and veggies with black bean corn relish, cheese, tomatoes and creamy cilantro dressing folded in a flour tortilla. Olé!

Satch’s Cuban

Cormack’s Deli 2569 Charlevoix Avenue, Petoskey 231.347.7570

Memphis-style barbecue pulled pork, honey ham, Tony Packo’s sweet-hot pickles, melted cheddar and spicy brown mustard on a grilled onion roll.

Grilled Ham & Brie

Julienne Tomatoes 421 East Howard Street, Petoskey 231.439.9250 

Smoked ham, brie and tart honey mustard: one of the world’s great threesomes made better with crunchy romaine and grilled seed bread from Crooked Tree Breadworks.

Big Brutus

Brutus Camp Deli 4086 U.S. 31 North, Brutus 231.529.2222  

Jaw exercises may be a pre-requisite for this lumberjack-sized hot stack of corned beef, Canadian bacon, smoked turkey, cheese and thousand island dressing on a sub bun.

This article and additional photos are also available in the January issue of Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine. Order yours today!