Sandwich Chains That Serve The Lowest And Highest Quality Breads

Let's face it. Bread is important, especially when it comes to building a sandwich. Sure, the toppings play a major role in how it tastes, but a hard, dry, or crumbly bread can easily detract from what could have been an amazing sammie. And on the flip side, a perfectly tender pillowy loaf with just the right amount of bite can make up for what would otherwise be an average sandwich.

When it comes to determining which popular sandwich chains have the lowest and highest quality bread, we first like to look at ingredients. After all, if it tastes good but contains crappy ingredients, can it really be described as high quality? Still, we know there's a little more to it than that — some of our favorite foods aren't quite so perfect nutritionally. Thus, we've also taken the opinion of customers into account, especially for establishments that tend to be a bit shy when it comes to revealing the ingredients they use.

The results of our research were rather interesting, and we even found ourselves a bit surprised at some of our discoveries. So, without further ado, let's dive into which sandwich shops have the lowest and highest quality bread overall.

Low: Blimpie

Blimpie stores are located all across the U.S., but people these days seem to be generally dissatisfied with the franchise. Citing mediocrity as the overarching reason, most people tend to view the sandwich shop as pretty average in terms of taste. What's interesting is that people seem to be paying special attention to Blimpie's bread, and in this case, it isn't a good thing.

While most sub reviews focus on the toppings and overall taste of the sub, Blimpie customers seem particularly displeased with the bread. Several reviewers have commented that it tastes stale and they simply don't enjoy it. Others claim that it has never been good, even in the company's better days, which is a shame when you consider the fact that bread can make or break a sandwich.

Also, it's worth knowing that almost all of the types of bread Blimpie offers contain soy, and the cheddar jalapeño and zesty parmesan flavors also contain dairy. Other than these few facts, Blimpie has chosen not to reveal what else it hides in its loaves. 

Low: McAlister's Deli

McAlister's Deli offers a variety of bread types, and while we can't explore every option here, we can at least go over some of the most popular ones. When it comes to what customers think about the bread, the reviews are somewhat okay, but some people are less than pleased with what they received. One ranting review claims the bread bowls are disgusting; apparently, they taste moldy and tend to get soggy quickly. Others who weren't quite so annoyed with McAlister's bread claim the bread is lightly toasted and makes a good foundation for a satisfying sandwich.

Thankfully, this is one of those restaurants that doesn't mind filling us in on its ingredients, so we can tell you with certainty that things don't look good. For one, the company uses high fructose corn syrup, which is known for increasing the risk of fatty liver disease, obesity, and more (via Healthline). This ingredient has such a bad reputation that many bread manufacturers these days make bread without it — which is why you aren't likely to hear much else about it in the remainder of this post.

In addition to high fructose corn syrup, the company also uses preservatives, dough conditioners, and soy in its bread, meaning it isn't the "cleanest" option you'll come across at a deli shop. Sorry, McAlister's Deli fans — we'll have to rank this bread quite low.

Low: Potbelly Sandwich Shop

Potbelly Sandwich Shop is another restaurant that isn't entirely transparent about ingredients, so we only have limited information to go by. What we can tell you is that the sandwich breads, such as the white and multigrain, contain soy but not milk or eggs. The white bread is also considered vegan, while the multigrain isn't because of the use of honey in the recipe.

Apart from this information, we're unsure as to whether or not the ingredients are of high quality, but we can tell you that sandwich fans aren't too fond of the bread either ... and it has nothing to do with what's inside. According to some customers, the bread at Potbelly's is dry, and this is especially true of the multigrain variety. Other customers concur that it has changed over the past couple of years and now tastes horrible. Even worse, it seems to compose the majority of the sandwich, leaving not much to savor as far as meat and toppings go.

We're not sure about the other bread types, but as far as the white and multigrain, people don't seem to be too pleased with the quality of Potbelly's bread.

Low: Penn Station

Penn Station isn't so clear about its bread ingredients, and honestly, the customer reviews are confusing and inconsistent as well. One patron claims the bread is fresh and crunchy, while another suggests that it's awful and cheap. Still, another claims Penn Station has the best bread near the East Coast. Which is it, people?

To add to the confusion, the restaurant keeps the details concerning its bread murky. For example, the website seems to indicate that the company sells kosher bread, but that bread is only kosher until it enters its shop. Once the box is opened, the bread is no longer kosher — making its original kosher status practically meaningless. Another confusing component of Penn Station's bread is its use of soy; whether or not the sub shop utilizes soy in its bread is unknown because the company seems to claim it does and doesn't, all in the same paragraph.

Sigh. We wish companies like this would be more open to disclosing ingredients so we could see for ourselves what's inside. Either way, whether or not you'll enjoy this bread is likely to be a toss-up; but overall, we don't like what we're hearing. 

Low: Erbert and Gerbert's

With stores that checker the Midwest and South, Erbert and Gerbert's may not be as familiar to you as some of the other sandwich shops on our list. Still, when it comes to its bread, most people think it's decent but not amazing. Bear in mind that this opinion applies not only to the bread itself but also to the sammies as a whole. One customer on Reddit describes them as what you might eat when all the other sammie shops are closed, which we think is a real shame. Those with differing opinions liken the bread to that of Jimmy John's, which they think is a really good thing.

Due to the split opinion and general "meh" vibe that people tend to give off when reviewing Erbert and Gerbert's, we've given the sandwich chain a lower ranking than some of the others. You should also note that the shop is rather tight-lipped about its bread ingredients, aside from divulging that both the French and wheat bread contain the common allergens egg and soy.

Low(ish): Jersey Mike's Subs

Jersey Mike's subs are delicious in their own right — but is the bread up to par? That's to be determined. Unlike a few of the restaurants on this list, Jersey Mike's is pretty open with its ingredients list, and for that, we're thankful. From what we can tell, this popular sandwich chain puts quite a few additives in its bread, and honestly, we wish it wouldn't. Preservatives, dough conditioners, and a few other additives show up on the list, both for white and wheat varieties.

Jersey Mike's also features other bread types, including a gluten-free option. According to customers, the gluten-free bread isn't perfect, but perfection isn't usually expected when it comes to gluten-free fare. Though dry, the bread still has a good taste and works as a doable alternative to regular bread. We also aren't seeing preservatives, dough conditioners, and as many additives as the other breads offered — at least not at the time of publication.

So, what do fans think about the other bread options? There aren't a lot of opinions out there, but we can attest that the bread is decent. It isn't the tastiest and softest we've ever tried, but it isn't disgusting either. The real star of the show tends to be what Jersey Mike's packs inside its subs, and thus, the bread serves as an acceptable base. 

High: Quiznos

Like so many other establishments, Quiznos isn't giving us the 4-1-1 on the ingredients it uses in its bread for us to determine whether or not it's up to par. Still, customers tend to love this company for its zestily flavorful bread options, including the jalapeño cheddar and crowd-favorite rosemary parmesan. In addition, Quiznos' white and wheat bread options do not contain dairy or soy, according to the company's website, whereas rosemary parmesan and jalapeño cheddar contain milk.

Aside from the bread, we must say there's a strong cult-like following of Quiznos sandwiches, and customers lament the fact that there aren't many stores around anymore. For those of you lucky enough to still have Quiznos in your area, you'll have a chance to relish those tasty and savory bread options while the rest of us have to settle for a distant memory of what once was.

High: Which Wich

Several folks have made the claim that the subs at Which Wich have no equal, leading us to believe this sandwich chain is dishing up decent-tasting bread. In case you've never heard of the sandwich chain, you can find a Which Wich in many states in the U.S., as well as several international locations, including Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. The sandwich chain doesn't offer the variety of bread that other chains do (sorry, gluten-free fans), but it does offer both white and wheat. Fans seem happy with the taste of this bread, and we gladly found that the company doesn't mind laying bare the ingredients in its sammies. 

Overall, it seems that the bread is good, but it does contain your typical preservatives, dough conditioners, and soy additions. It's worth noting that while the white bread is vegan at the time of publication, the wheat bread isn't due to the presence of honey. All in all, Which Wich serves up good bread that'll make a wonderful foundation for your Grinder, Cali Club, or Reuben Wich Sandwich. 

High: Snarf's Sandwiches

Snarf's is a sub joint stationed only in Texas, Colorado, and Missouri. It isn't a well-known chain across the U.S., but for the locals, this is one of those sub shops that simply cannot be beaten. When it comes to the bread, it's safe to say that people really enjoy it. Concerning the traditional white or wheat options, customers claim that the taste and quality of the bread make the subs taste as good as they do.

Unlike many of the sandwich chains on this list, this company is transparent about what's lurking in the bread. The company goes out of its way to say that it uses unbleached, unbromated white flour, which is certainly good news for those looking to avoid potassium bromate, a very controversial and potentially carcinogenic dough-enhancing additive that's been banned in Europe. Still, you can expect the company's bread to contain preservatives, soy, and dextrose, which may not strike the fancy of all customers.

As far as gluten-free options, celiacs and gluten-sensitive eaters alike concur that the restaurant doles out fantastic bread. Expect it to be composed of rice flour, potato starch, modified food starches, xanthan gum, guar gum, and more. So, while it isn't the cleanest gluten-free bread we've found, consumers think it tastes good.

High: Firehouse Subs

Known primarily for its hot sandwiches, Firehouse Subs is a fairly popular eatery that features all sorts of delicious options. People seem to especially love the restaurant's bread, claiming that it is soft and tasty and provides a tasty backdrop to the ingredients as a result.

With that said, looking over the ingredients list for the large white sub roll reveals that the chain uses preservatives, soybean oil, and dough conditioners in the bread. The wheat subs contain all of these ingredients too, as well as caramel coloring, which may be associated with negative effects in large quantities (via Center for Science in the Public Interest). While these ingredients aren't likely to cause you to keel over at first bite, it's worth considering the various components contained in the bread.

Even so, we do think customer opinion matters in terms of taste and we certainly love soft bread when it comes to constructing an exemplary foundation for subs. For this reason, we think Firehouse Subs deserves a high-five in terms of tastiness and perceived quality.

High: Subway

Okay, hear us out. We know some of you are rolling your eyes, and indeed, you have good reason to. After all, everyone knows Subway has a marred reputation when it comes to its bread ingredients, so how on earth could it be ranked so high in this post?

Things change, folks. After a court ruling in Ireland declared Subway's bread was confectionery, the company made strides to clean up its act in major ways. It stopped using azodicarbonamide, a type of dough conditioner often used in bread, and according to what we see, those positive strides didn't stop there. As far as the white and multigrain bread, we hardly see anything to complain about. There are no dough conditioners, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup anywhere in sight, according to nutrition information released for the 2022 menu.

Still, fans shouldn't get too excited. While there are limited ingredients in Subway's white and multigrain bread, other types, including the gluten-free variety, Italian herbs and cheese, and other specialty breads, don't look as good. Dough conditioners and other additives make it hard to select Subway as our top choice. Even so, customers still seem to love the Italian herbs and cheese over most bread types, so it'll be up to you to choose which matters more to you — clean ingredients or a really tasty foundation for your sammie. 

High: Jimmy John's

We hate to say a sandwich chain bread is of high quality without knowing what ingredients it uses, but Jimmy John's bread receives such outstanding customer accolades that we couldn't help but give it the props it deserves. Dishing up yummy sandwiches on wheat and French bread, Jimmy John's is known for doling out delicious bread that is baked in-house. According to regional managers we've scouted online, the information about Jimmy John's specific process for getting the bread extra tasty is top secret. Nevertheless, we know that Jimmy John's aims to keep everything, including its meat, minimally processed. 

Based on the taste and texture of these sammies, we know the quality is there when it comes to the bread, too. Regarding allergens, Jimmy John's bread contains no soy, sesame, or dairy. The only allergen that appears to crop up in the bread is wheat and gluten — which is, of course, to be expected for bread that isn't proclaimed to be gluten-free.

All in all, we think Jimmy John's bread is a very high-quality bread in terms of customer approval and quality. These soy-free, dairy-free, sesame-free soft pieces of bread are cooked fresh daily and have certainly won the blessing of customers. It just might be one of the highest-quality breads from a sandwich chain you can get your hands on.