In “Born and Raised,” a season four episode of Parks and Recreation, the show’s protagonist, Leslie Knope, reads a passage from her book. “Every town claims that its diner’s waffles are the best in the world, but somewhere, in some town, there really are the best waffles in the world,” she says. “Somewhere those waffles exist. Why can’t it be here?”
This sentiment perfectly encapsulates how I feel about sandwiches in New Jersey (and not just a particular town, but the whole state). I’d wager that nearly everybody in America, in every state, has eaten a sandwich of some kind, and at one time or another thought to themselves, “This is the best sandwich I have ever eaten.” But I truly believe that the actual best sandwiches in the country come from New Jersey.
There are a couple of reasons for New Jersey’s mastery of the sandwich arts: First of all, our produce is simply superior to the produce in most other states. Our tomatoes are plump, juicy, gloriously bright red orbs, and our lettuce is crisp and crunchy. Secondly, we are a state of immigrants. According to data from 2020, New Jersey is the fourth most