Most restaurant menus include at least one sandwich, so when we set out to find this city's best sandwich shops, we set some ground rules. First, we're sticking with eateries where sandwiches are the focus, and spots that are not national chains (sorry to fans of Jersey Mike's or the latest chains to move into the metro area, Capriotti's and PrimoHoagies). And while this city has thriving food truck and pop-up scenes, we limited our choices to brick-and-mortar locations to ensure that these are places you can hit up on the regular, all year long.
Here are the ten best sandwich shops in metro Denver, in alphabetical order, as well as a bonus pick:
Belfiore Italian5820 West 38th Avenue, Wheat Ridge
This tiny, takeout-only spot is primarily a deli, offering both fresh and cured sausages (mostly Italian) as well as imported olives and cheeses, frozen lasagna and pizza dough, among other specialty items. But the best reasons to stop by are its sandwiches — hefty creations built between slices of ciabatta baked fresh at nearby Dolce Sicilia bakery. There are eight varieties to choose from, including the Penny Lane, with housemade hot Italian sausage; the Eleanor Rigby, which is loaded with meatballs; and the vegetarian-friendly Lucy in the Sky, with marinated eggplant, olive salad and mozzarella. Bonus: Every sandwich comes with garlic-stuffed olives to snack on.
Bodega2651 West 38th Avenue
bodega-denver.comWhen Northside native Cliff Blauvelt, the chef/owner of Bodega, opened his neighborhood eatery in August 2022, he described the menu as "sandwich-forward." Since then, it's gained a lot of fans both in and outside Sunnyside for a number of reasons, including its morning menu, which made it our 2023 pick for Best Breakfast, and its double cheeseburger, one of the best in town. But true to Blauvelt's vision, the sandwich lineup is undeniably the standout, from the lamb birria French dip to the fully loaded green chile falafel to specials like a summer-ready heirloom tomato sandwich with fried mozzarella.
Carmine Lonardo's7585 West Florida Avenue, Lakewood
303-985-3555Carmine Lonardo's is way more than a sandwich joint. This cozy, family-owned Italian market and deli has been around since 1976, and its shelves are lined with imported pasta of all shapes and sizes, olive oil, canned goods, frozen foods like housemade sausages, and so much more. Still, the sandwiches — huge, messy masterpieces loaded onto freshly baked rolls, which you can custom-order with that Italian sausage and a variety of other meats in hot and cold varieties — are unbeatable.
Il Porcellino Salumi4324 West 41st Avenue
ilporcellinodenver.comIn 2015, Bill Miner launched Il Porcellino, a retail store that doubles as a deli serving breakfast and lunch sandwiches unlike anything else in town. That's because they're loaded with ingredients that are made in-house, including wagyu beef pastrami, peach-smoked bacon and dry-cured salami, as well as pickles, mustards and more. In the years since, it's added a production facility in Basalt to handle the growing wholesale demand for its cured meats. And in February, it launched a pasta program in the evenings, making this an all-day culinary destination.
Las Tortas682 South Colorado Boulevard, Glendale
lastortasendenver.comTortas take all the deliciousness of Mexican fare and pile it on soft rolls. And the tortas at Las Tortas, which moved into a new space in Glendale's CitySet complex in January and also has locations in Thornton and Greeley, are the most delicious of all. When ordering at the counter, newbies will be told that the Norteña, with carne asada, breaded steak and cheese, is the best seller; like all of the standard torta options here, it comes fully loaded with mayo, avocado, tomato, lettuce and beans. Another type of torta on the menu actually requires a fork and knife to eat: the torta ahogada, which comes loaded with juicy, flavorful carnitas and smothered in a spicy chile and tomato sauce for a messy meal reminiscent of dipping a grilled cheese sandwich in tomato soup.
Leven Deli Co.123 West 12th Avenue
eatleven.comThis Colorado take on a classic deli draws a big crowd for lunch, and for good reason. The deli case is filled with dolmas, olives and sides like giant white bean salad and coleslaw. There are huge cookies and brownies for sale; a display with items such as local coffee, hot sauces and spices; and under the menu board are giant loaves of sourdough, baked in-house. So is the rye bread used for its pastrami sandwich, which has been a best seller since the deli opened in 2018. Even vegetarians can get a taste, thanks to a smoked-beet version of the pastrami. While the sandwich menu is succinct, every option is a high-quality heavy hitter. And you can pair your meal with beer, wine and cocktails.
Lou's Italian Specialties3357 Downing Street
lousitalianspecialties.comIn 2018, Rosenberg's owner Josh Pollack added this East Coast-style deli in Five Points to his growing collection of New York-inspired concepts, which includes Original Famous J's and Rosenberg's Bagels. Lou's has a solid selection of both hot and cold sandwiches, available in full or half sizes — and a full is enough to split or last for two meals. Generously loaded with freshly sliced meats and cheeses, the Louie is a great intro to what this place does best, as is the hot porchetta broccoli rabe.
Mead St. Provisions3625 West 32nd Avenue
meadstdenver.com This longtime Highland fixture originally opened as Mead Street Station in 1994, but in the summer of 2020, it closed down for some major renovations and a rebrand. When it reopened as Mead St. Provisions, it was decked out with a deli case loaded with charcuterie and other meats and had a new, sandwich-heavy menu, though the place kept its low-key vibes and full bar that draws in the happy-hour crowd. Among the options are hot sandwiches, like the Italian beef with giardiniera and hot peppers and the chicken parm, along with cold deli sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats and built on bread from City Bakery with additions such as garlic aioli, hand-spun mozzarella and artichoke hearts.
Spinelli's Market4621 East 23rd Avenue
spinellismarket.comSpinelli's opened in Park Hill in 1994, but it feels like it's been around far longer. The friendly neighborhood market is stocked with essentials as well as some gourmet finds — but before you browse, head directly to the deli counter in the back to place your order from a long menu of sandwich options, both hot and cold. There are a few tables in the front where you can eat, but these hefty sandwiches are ideal for taking on a picnic or along for a mid-show snack at Red Rocks — just don't forget to grab your pickle spear before heading out.
Vinh Xuong Bakery2370 West Alameda Avenue
vinhxuong.square.site Banh mi are big these days, but the Huynh family that founded Vinh Xuong Bakery served the sandwiches decades before son Duc Huynh opened his stylish and sunny cafe in 2011. He’s continued his family’s banh mi tradition of using baguettes baked in the shop every morning, then loading them with barbecued pork and chicken, pâté, meatballs and other housemade meats, best enjoyed with a dash of spicy chile oil on top. Vinh Xuong is also a full Vietnamese bakery cafe, so you can grab coffee drinks to take out with your moon cakes, sesame balls and other delights.