Dare we say sandwiches are the ultimate lunch food? 

In these uncertain times, there’s one thing we can all agree on: the sandwich. With so many variations, there’s an option for everyone, from carnivores to vegetarians. Here are 10 of our favorite local handhelds. 

Good Thyme’s braised beef 

Good Thyme may have cracked the code on this jinxed Dixieland spot: friendly folks, a robust menu, and an adorable shaded patio. Recommended: the braised beef “stack” (as they call it): a pressed sando with tender meat, melty Fontina, and a balance of spicy and tangy thanks to the interplay of onion and red pepper mayo. 1037 Dixieland Mall Ln.


La Imperial Bakery’s Tampa Cuban

Fruit-filled puff pastries aren’t the only showstopper at this Puerto Rican bakery (though definitely grab a guava and cheese on your way out). Go here for authentic Cubans: tender roasted pork and sweet ham slathered in house mustard, topped with pickles and Swiss, and nestled in housemade pan de agua (water bread). The Tampa Cuban ups the ante with a dose of salami. 830 E. Main St.


Red Door’s falafel pita

With recently extended lunch hours (open til 2pm), now there’s even more time to enjoy this light lunch: crispy falafel nestled in a fluffy pita, served with a sprouts slaw. 733 E. Palmetto St.


Uncle Nick’s sausage, egg, and cheese

Who says you can’t have breakfast for lunch? Uncle Nick’s provides the best excuse with this classic choice, served with a crispy hash brown patty. Get it on an everything bagel for max deliciousness. 6955 Old Highway 37


Nineteen61’s crispy fried corvina

The best way to “business lunch,” Nineteen61’s fish sandwich is everything there is to love about the popular dinner spot, but for mid-day: fried-to-perfection corvina, plus an inventive mix of toppers. 215 E. Main St.


Honorable mentions:

The Purple Onion’s tuna melt

It’s hard to go wrong at this bustling Kentucky Avenue spot, but a classic tuna melt takes the win here. (Just be sure to sub the chips with tater tots, because why wouldn’t you?) 316 N. Kentucky Ave.


Frescos’ fried green tomato BLT

Taking the classic BLT up a notch, Frescos opts for a green ’mater, then loads up on the extra crispy Nueske’s bacon and greens. The finishing touch? Texas toast. 132 S. Kentucky Ave.


Divicious’ Divicious club

A meat-lover’s dream, this club comes with roast beef, turkey, and salami. Get it with all the toppings and, if you’re doing it right, a side of loaded potato salad. 128 E. Main St.


Red Top Pit Stop’s smoked brisket grilled cheese

There’s a theory among barbeque connoisseurs: If the restaurant’s logo contains anthropomorphic pig, it’s worth a stop. Red Top’s hungry piggie, with its fork and knife, is all the proof we need. The brisket’s the thing here, piled between two slices of bread and melty cheese. 12160 US Hwy. 98 N


Black & Brew’s Meltaway

No list of sandwiches is complete without a mention of Black & Brew. Crowds may flock to the smoked turkey, but we only have eyes for the Meltaway: a perfect combo of oven-roasted beef, hickory-smoked turkey, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, and red onions on a French baguette. Plus, salty au jus for dipping. 205 E. Main St.

Go out and try a few of these sandwiches around Lakeland and then tag us on social media and let us know what you think!