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Announcing: The Great Sandwich Smackdown

March Madness for food lovers begins.

It's time for the Sandwich Smackdown! Pictured here Ray's cheesesteak, the club at Stachowski's, Bayou Bakery muff-a-lotta, and Shawafel's chicken shawarma. Photographs by Scott Suchman.

Calling all competitive food lovers: Your March Madness is about to begin. Each year Best Bites Blog picks a popular dish and pits local purveyors against one another to establish a victor in the category. Last year fried dough flew as doughnuts went round for round in the Great Doughnut Derby, with Mac’s Donuts, emerging triumphant. This year’s tournament promises to be even more exciting.

Washingtonians have long proved their love for sandwiches, whether in the form of a breakfast “brick” at Market Lunch, midday pastrami from DGS, or a Ray’s to the Third steak and cheese come dinnertime. Established spots like the Italian Store have maintained a loyal following through the decades, while newcomers such as Red Apron are pushing the sandwich scene to new heights. So who makes the best? We’ve narrowed down a list of 16 of the most popular sandwich-makers so you can pick a winner.

We know sandwiches are a little like children—it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite. This list certainly isn’t reflective of every great bread-bound dish in Washington (if it were, we’d be running the competition into May). We’ve simply picked a range of cuisines and styles that are reflective of the area’s great offerings.

Each weekday beginning Monday, March 17, we’ll publish a post pitting two eateries against each other until a winner emerges in the final rounds. Fill out your bracket, then vote each day in our online poll. The winner will get bragging rights, as their title of Sandwich King or Queen will be posted on our website and social media.

May the best sandwich win!

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