The Fourth Earl of Sandwich liked his meat between bread so he could eat neatly without interrupting his cribbage game—surely one of humanity’s all-time greatest inspirations. But some versions of the layered lunch stack higher than others. Check out our picks for Morgantown’s most heavenly handhelds.

Photo by Carla Witt Ford

Saigon Pho Kitchen: The Banh Mi

Ask Rajagopal Sundaram about the unexpected culture-meld known as banh mi, and he starts with a history lesson. “When Vietnam was a colony, the French ate cold cuts on baguettes, and they considered it only for the masters,” he says. “After the French left, Vietnamese people marked the end of European arrogance by adding native ingredients”—like crunchy fresh and pickled vegetables and Vietnamese sauces. The sandwich became a fusion food, he says, offering the best of East and West.

Raj’s wife Pookie’s uncle sold banh mi on the streets of Saigon before he fled to Virginia in 1970. “We are doing exactly his recipe,” Sundaram says—including fresh Vietnamese-style baguettes—with two tweaks. “We add a spicy-tangy-sweet-chili-salty housemade soy sauce for a little more kick. Second thing, we have the cold cut ham, but we also have grilled meats—chicken, steak, pork—and we marinate them in a Thai–Vietnamese lemongrass-ginger-honey sauce. That’s what makes the Saigon Pho Banh Mi a little more distinctive and absolutely more delicious.” 3109 University Avenue, 304.241.1814, @saigonphokitchen on Facebook

Dirty Bird: The Vera Cruz

Photo by Sher Yip

A fresh deli roll is piled high with shredded lettuce, tomato, and red onion, then nine ounces of fresh, deep fried, pepper jack–smothered chicken. Bacon, avocado, and jalapeño round out the flavor, with a zesty cilantro lime mayo to really tickle your taste buds. 301 High Street, 304.284.9599, “Dirty Bird Morgantown” on Facebook

Iron Horse Tavern: BLFGT

Photo by Julian Wyant

What’s the best way to freshen up an icon of the sandwich world? A simple, impactful remix. Iron Horse switches up the nostalgic BLT with fat-sliced green tomato breaded in a Cajun panko breadcrumb and deep fried to a crunch. That’s not the only dazzling detail. The BLFGT is topped with high-quality Applewood smoked bacon and slicked with a Cajun remoulade. And for brunch, the BLFGT’s buttered, crusty Italian boule is roofed with an over-easy egg that breaks on the first bite and drips delectable yolky-ness over all of it. You’ll love every bite. 140 High Street, 304.296.6230, ironhorsetvrn.com

The Greeks: Gyro

Photo by Carla Witt Ford

Most often found in its natural habitat of blue check deli paper, The Greeks’ Gyro is an authentic concoction of seasoned, spit-roasted beef-and-lamb gyro meat with choice of tzatziki, hummus, spicy cheese, or tahini spread on pita and adorned with tomatoes, onions, parsley, and fresh-cut fries. Or sub in Greek Fries with feta and olive oil—transcendent. 331 Beechurst Avenue, 304.284.0055, thegreekswv.com

Apothecary Ale House and Café: Pepper Delight

Photo by Julian Wyant

One trick to Apothecary’s panini is Phoenix Bakery’s Italian bread. Vegetarian owner Grace Hutchens has perfected her Pepper Delight. “We’ve settled on mayo, pepper jack, goat cheese, banana peppers, mild jalapenos, and green pepper.” Served with a basket of Utz chips and Hutchens’ sour cream–based dip, it’s bar food deluxe. 227 Chestnut Street, @apothecaryalehousecafe on Facebook

Farmhouse Cafe: The Caprese Panini

Photo by Katie Griffith

For its Caprese panini, Farmhouse Cafe gets ciabatta from Pittsburgh’s BreadWorks and tomatoes, mozzarella balls, and balsamic glaze from Pennsylvania Macaroni Company in the city’s Strip District. But what elevates it is Chef Mark Shipley’s housemade basil pesto. Chips, pasta salad, or fresh fruit on the side. 10000 Coombs Farm Drive, 304.777.2756, farmhousewv.com

Clutch Wing Shop: Spicy Fried Chicken Sandwich

Photo by Carla Witt Ford

It may seem like a simple creation: fried chicken, lettuce, pickles, mayo, bread. But it’s more than the sum of the parts. Between a seared, garlic-parmesan-butter-slathered Kaiser roll sits a bed of lettuce donned with pickles, an edible cushion for Clutch’s famous spicy fried chicken—all of that garnished with house sweet chili mayo. 708 Beechurst Avenue, 304.212.5403, clutchwings.com

Terra Cafe: Black Bean Burger  

Photo by Julian Wyant

Secrets to Terra’s scratch-made Black Bean Burger include freshly cooked beans, peppers, onions, crimini mushrooms, and a house spice blend. The patty is seared and topped with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and drizzled with hot sauce, then sandwiched between homemade, toasted whole wheat pita slathered with cilantro-lime crème fraiche. Pair it with the delectable beet salad. 425 Industrial Avenue, 304.554.2233, Terracafewv.com

Crab Shack Caribba: Crab Cake Sandwich

Photo by Carla Witt Ford

Crab Shack’s switch from a Cajun-style to a Maryland-style crab cake has won diners over, says owner Bron Kayal. “We use a lot of high-quality lump crab meat and Old Bay seasoning in a mayo-cream base with a little Dijon mustard.” Served on a buttery brioche bun with house tartar sauce and handcut Old Bay fries, it’s a new town favorite. 420 Suncrest Town Centre, 304.599.4545; 69 Mont Chateau Road, 304.435.3469; crabshackcaribba.com

Woodburn Shanks: KC Royal

The meat’s the show here. Woodburn Shanks coats its quality cuts in housemade spice rubs, basks them in real hickory, cherry, and mesquite smoke, and serves them up Kansas City–style—original sauce on the side. Any sandwich with that kind of love behind it is going to sing. But our favorite, and owner Derrick Shanks agrees, is the KC Royal: sliced brisket with onion rings, melted provolone, and sauce. Make it a meal with baked beans, cheesy corn, jambalaya, and other great sides. 1616 Earl Core Road, 304.504.3047, @woodburnshanks on Facebook

Photo by Carla Witt Ford

featured photo by Carla Witt Ford

written by Pam Kasey and Julian Wyant

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