Murfreesboro Named as One of Top 25 Cities for a Sandwich

Ruben sandwich from Domenico\'s in Murfreesboro.

Recently Lawn Love ranked the Top Cities in America for Sandwiches in 2023. They looked at the highest number of establishments serving sandwiches per square mile, highest average consumer rating for establishments serving sandwiches, the highest share of high consumer ratings and the highest number of Google searches in a city for sandwiches.

“If history is correct,” says Lawn Love sandwich expert Jessica VanRoo, Executive Chef, University of California Irvine, “the sandwich was created by John Montague [the 4th Earl of Sandwich]. Montague wanted something he could eat with his hands while he worked….”

Over time the sandwich has taken many forms and American gastronomic creativity has caused it to continually adapt to new trends and ethnic flavors. Now, a sandwich can be seen as some kind of filling between slices of bread or bread pocket that can be eaten on the run.

There are cities and regions known for specialty sandwiches. New York is famous for their giant deli sandwiches, and then there are Philly’s Cheesesteaks and New Orleans’ Po Boys.  The South and Mid-West are known for barbecue. Portland, Oregon is home to the Original Fatman Sandwich, which is a ham and cheese with a fried egg and Thousand Island dressing.

As this country becomes more and more of a melting pot, lots of ethnic sauces are finding their way onto sandwiches. Two examples are harissa, which comes from Tunisia, and fermented vegetables, which are popular in China.

Murfreesboro has lots of chain sandwich shops like Subways and McAlister’s, but it also has a lot of local sandwich places that put their own spin on it. Whether you are looking for a simple PBJ, a gourmet delight or something that is one of a kind, Murfreesboro (and Smyrna) have some home-town places well worth a trip. Here are some locally owned sandwich places that raise the everyday to a feast for the taste buds.

Domenico’s Italian Deli
106 South Maple Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 624-7474

Hours: Monday through Saturday, 10:30 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Inspired by his grandparent’s deli of the same name in California, Jeff Murphy, and his wife Scarlett, opened this traditional Italian deli on Murfreesboro’s city square just before the pandemic hit. They are still standing, which tells you that they are doing something right. Of course, both Jeff and his wife were born into the food business. She’s the daughter of Mike Lanning, who owns Rick’s Barbecue. Go old school with a Ruben or an Italian Combo, then have a cannoli.

The Blue Porch Café and Grocery
113 West Lytle Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 663-0050

Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Located across the street from the new courthouse, The Blue Porch is owned by Cynthia and William Richie. They bought the business from the former owners and have gone on to make it their own. While all of their food is great, they are best known for their pimento cheese and smoky gouda bacon cheese spreads, so the “Harry Stone” or the “Judge Wapner” sandwiches are must haves. Save space for one of their moonshine cookies made with local Short Mountain Moonshine – Moonshine, Dark Shine or Shiner Doodle.

Simply Pure Sweets
128 North Church Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 962-8086

Hours: Tuesday through Friday, 6:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

         Saturday, 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Chantell Kennedy-Shehan opened Simply Pure Sweet so she could go beyond what she learned in school as a dietitian and use the baking skills she learned studying in France. Then, a few years later she married The Bread Guy. The hot pesto chicken sandwich – made on The Bread Guy Bread — is perfect alone or with a cup of soup, which changes weekly. Tie into a French Macaron for a sweet treat.

The Fresh Bite
451 North Thompson Lane, Suite A
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 546-4444

Hours: Sunday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m.

William Cepero’s family is from Cuba, and they owned two restaurants in Los Angeles where he worked growing up. The restaurant business is his passion. Coming to Murfreesboro shortly before opening his restaurant in January of 2020, he has made a name for himself by creating top-notch fare from his heritage. The “Sandwich Cubano” is his top seller. It is best served with a side of Sweet Plantains “Maduros.” Or go with an empanada, a flakey pastry filled with beef or chicken as served with a roasted red pepper sauce.

Bella Vista Coffee Shop
900 Grammer Lane, Suite 320
Smyrna, Tennessee
(615) 471-4560

Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

         Saturday, 8:30 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

         Sunday, 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

The Cubanito Panini blends the best of owner Daniella Reina’s heritage with the best of the popular Italian sandwich made on a special rustic bread and pressed until the cheese gets all melty. She serves it with plantain chips, which is a Venezuelan custom.  The chips are served with a garlic cilantro mayo sauce. Top it all off with one of their Tres Leches Cakes.

860 N.W. Broad Street
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 898-1301

Hours: Sunday through Thursday, 11:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

         Friday and Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 11:00 p.m.

Wade Hays has been a part of Toot’s since the beginning, then he and his wife, Keitha, bought it in 2005. They have since expanded the Favorite restaurant into other parts of the county. While Toot’s is best known for their burgers, they also make some classic sandwiches with their own spin. Their Buffalo Chicken Sandwich is like having some of their famous wings on a bun or wrapped up. Pair it with some of their famous fried dill pickles and a side of their jumbo onion rings.

Goodness Gracious
1430 Medical Center Parkway, Suite 1A
Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Hours: Tuesday through Sunday, 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m.

Originally opened by Karen Ford, her son Eric and his wife Nichole bought the restaurant from her in 2018 and they have continued the tradition of mixing elements of good old Southern cuisine with unique flavors. They offer breakfast, lunch and brunch. A favorite is the sandwich plate that offers a chance to taste their delightful chicken salad, barbecue chicken salad, sundried pimento cheese and smokehouse pimento cheese partnered with two of their sides: baked pineapple cheese casserole, baked sweet potato fries, kettle chips, bacon and blue cheese slaw or filled strawberries.

Through the Grapevine
630 Broadmor Street, Suite 190
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 890-7346

Hours: Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.

Barbara Lester’s restaurant is a favorite lunch spot for ladies and has been for many years. While her casseroles find their way to many plates for lunch (and dinner at home), two favorite sandwiches include the Vine’s Signature Chicken Salad and the English Hot Ham. Get either with a side of frozen fruit salad.

Juicy’s Wellness Café
2314 Medical Center Parkway
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
(615) 617-3732

Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

You’d never think that cancer would bring about the creation of a favorite vegetarian restaurant in Murfreesboro, but it did. It caused Mary Beth Laxson to change to a plant-based lifestyle which made all the difference. The Peggy Sue sandwich is named after her mother who loved tomatoes and fresh corn, which are the basis of the sandwich. Try a Cranberry Peanut Butter Bar for dessert.

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