Welcome to the Eater Sandwich Supremacy 2012 Tournament. Over the next month, we're going to find out what is truly Philly's favorite sandwich. The winner won't be decided by a panel of food bloggers, publications, or critics. Our dear readers will vote on each and every matchup all the way to the end, and a winner will be crowned. If the end results of this tournament aren't right, we get to blame you guys, which is nice.
So, what are we considering a sandwich? Anything on two pieces of bread or on a roll. That includes burgers, hoagies, and yes, cheesesteaks, too. After a week of gathering nominations from readers, critics, chefs, and restaurateurs, we've whittled a gargantuan list of 149 sandwiches down to a more manageable 64.
Each head-to-head matchup will last 24 hours. The first round, which starts Tuesday morning and runs through Friday, will feature 8 matchups per day (in one post). The next round, which will run next week, will feature four per day, and so on. The full bracket is broken up into four divisions, each with 16 seeded entrants, just like the NCAA tourney.
Think you know which sandwich will win it all? Tomorrow we will have a downloadable interactive Excel doc that's a duplicate of the bracket. Fill it out with your picks, send it back to us, and the person(s) who guess the most right get one of each of the Final Four sandwiches on us.
First round matchups in the Sherman Hemsley Division:
1. DiNic's: Roast Pork Sandwich - The most nominated sandwich among the 64, this is often considered the Philly signature sandwich moreso than the cheesesteak.
16. PYT: Shortrib Burger - One of PYT's most popular burgers, and the tastiest by far. Covered in kimchi and Asian mayo.
2. McNally's: The Schmitter - This longtime Philly fave features griddled steak, salami, cheese, onions, tomato, and special sauce. Also available at Citizen's Bank Park.
15. Standard Tap: Softshell Crab Sandwich - The brunch favorite is seasonal only, but undeniably amazing. Fried perfectly on crusty bread with special mayo.
3. Tony Lukes: Roast Pork Sandwich - Tony Luke's is all about the cheesesteak, but his roast pork is the better sandwich, and one of the best in Philly.
14. Lucky's Last Chance: Mak Attack - A double-stacked burger topped with mac and cheese. Disgustingly fantastic.
4. Shank's: Chicken Italiano - No matter where they move, Shank's cutlet sandwiches are the best. Topped with sharp provolone and broccoli rabe is the way to go.
13. Sketch Burger: Truffle Butter Burger - Of all the amazing burgers at Sketch, the one doused in clumps of truffle butter and mushrooms is the best.
5. Good Dog Bar: Good Dog Burger - Stuffed with melty bleu cheese, this is still one of our favorite burgers in Philly, no matter all the hype around other newcomers.
12. Hot Diggity: Philly Surf and Turf - A Philly classic, the hot dog packed with a fish cake and pepper hash all on one roll topped with mustard.
6. Herschel's East Side Deli: Hot Pastrami -Somewhat hidden in the RTM, the Hot Pastrami at Herschel's is a deli star, and can hang with any NYC versions.
11. Blackbird Pizzeria: The Vegan Cheesesteak - The most nominated vegan offering in the tournament, The Vegan Cheesesteak is no slouch.
7. Cosmi's Deli: The Chicken Cheesesteak - Philly's best chicken cheesesteak is at Cosmi's, and can hang with it's beefy cousins.
10. Cafe Nhu Y: Banh Mi - The second-most nominated banh mi in town, closely following QT Vietnamese. We prefer Nhu Y, as the pate is much spicier than at QT.
8. Steve's Prince of Steaks: Cheesesteak - Steve's is the choice for anyone born and raised in the Northeast. They use sliced beef instead of chopped, and it's delicious.
9. Royal Tavern: The Angus Burger - One of Philly's hottest word-of-mouth burgers, the Angus is covered in Gouda, a long hot, bacon, and caramelized onions.
Stay tuned for the next division by midnight tonight, and all four will be in place when you arrive at work tomorrow morning so you can join in the fun.
May the best sandwich win.