The Hands-Down Best Meatball Subs In The US, According To Reviews

Some of the best Italian-style subs come from small delis with seriously good ingredients, freshly baked bread, or old family recipes for meatballs and marinara. High-quality ingredients are crucial to a great sandwich, and in a meatball sub, it's unsurprising that juicy, flavorful meatballs are the stars of the show. Marinara sauce is a classic topping, although some shops switch it up with unique takes on tomato-based sauces. Cheeses like provolone, mozzarella, Parmesan, or Romano work well on meatball subs, and some restaurants even include multiple varieties all melted together perfectly.


A few chain restaurants also nail the meatball sub and make the dish easier to access for those who don't live near a major city. Customers especially like these because the ingredients and quality are typically consistent from shop to shop. If you're in a new city — or even a new state — you can count on one of these chains to deliver a good meatball sub every time.

Potbelly Sandwich Shop in the United States

The Mama's Meatball sandwich from Potbelly Sandwich Shop uses beef and pork meatballs, marinara sauce, provolone cheese, and Italian seasonings. The bread is fresh, which is noteworthy considering Potbelly is a fast-service chain. The exact proportions of toppings on each sandwich may vary by location, but the ingredients are very consistent, and the pricing is always the same. One thing that customers noted about Potbelly in Yelp reviews was that they always knew exactly what they would get, even if they were visiting a shop in another state.


Customers consistently call out both the Mama's Meatball Sub and the Italian Sub as great items on Potbelly's menu. When ordering, you can choose an original-length sub, a big sub, or a skinny sub, although not all sizes are available in all stores. The big sub has around ⅓ more meatballs, cheese, sauce, and bread than the original, while a skinny is around ⅓ smaller than the standard version. Most stores also offer a half sandwich that you can pair with soup.

Dave's Cosmic Subs in Ohio

There are three meatball sub options at Dave's Cosmic Subs, including a vegetarian meatball sub, a vegan meatball sub, and the famous Dave's Best Meatball Ever, all of which come with marinara and Dave's cosmic sauce. The number of options for the meatball sub means that every customer can find one that works for their preferences or dietary needs. The majority of Dave's Cosmic Subs locations are in Ohio with one exception in Michigan. The business opened its first shop in 1997 but expanded thanks to a loyal customer following.


The meatball sub is the most reviewed and popular item for many customers on Yelp. The meatballs are particularly tender and juicy, plus the sandwich is loaded with marinara, cheese, and garlic. Most of this restaurant's subs come with Dave's cosmic sauce, which adds an extra Italian-dressing flavor to the sandwich. This gets top marks as a flavorful addition based on customer reviews.

Wawa in the United States

Wawa has perfected the customizable sandwich-ordering process. All of its subs are made to order, allowing you to pick your own roll, toppings, seasoning, and toasting preference. While the Meatball Parmesan sub is a classic option, you can add everything from pickles to peppers if you prefer. There are also plenty of bread options, each of which comes in three different sizes. When you order, you can also select whether or not you want your sandwich toasted.


In Philadelphia, the hoagie's birthplace, Philadelphia Magazine praised Wawa's meatball sub for its customization. The meatballs, marinara, and cheese aren't anything spectacular but hit all of the marks required for a good sandwich. What sets these subs apart is their practically endless customization options. When you order, you can select exactly what you want from a touchscreen display, pay for your sandwich while the Wawa staff prepares it, and pick up your meatball sub in under five minutes. Because Wawa is so popular, however, wait times can be long if there's a crowd.

City Sandwich in New York City

There are plenty of sandwiches to choose from at City Sandwich, including its Mmmeatballs option. This restaurant is a deli that combines Portuguese and Italian cooking. Its meatballs are made with a combination of pork and chicken Portuguese Alheira sausage, and each sandwich is topped with tomato cream sauce and mozzarella cheese. Yelp reviewers note that the sandwich is large and very filling.


Another thing these reviews loved about City Sandwich is how easy it is for a large group to receive exactly what they ordered. The menu features 18 specialty sandwiches, as well as the option to build your own from its selection of meats, cheeses, toppings, and sauces. Service is quick at the counter, but you can also order online. City Sandwich lovers who need to feed a crowd can even arrange one of the restaurant's catering packages, which includes 4-inch subs in quantities of 12, 20, 32, or 50.

Capriotti's Sandwich Shop in the United States

The Capriotti's meatball sub has two types of cheese, provolone and romano. The chain began in Wilmington, Delaware but now has more than 175 locations around the United States. Fortunately, its ingredients and quality are consistent. When you visit Capriotti's in any state, you're likely to have a similar experience. The subs are available in 5-, 8-, 10-, or 18-inch sizes. You can also customize by adding or removing cheese, adding peppers or extra spices, or doubling the meatballs on your sub. You can order online ahead of time for delivery, or you can pick your order up from the shop.


Customers on Yelp praise Capriotti's high-quality ingredients and the extra time it takes to make the perfect sub. The bread tends to be thick and hefty, which is important in a meatball sub with a lot of sauce. If you double up on meatballs, it's critical that the bread can keep the sandwich together without falling apart.

Firehouse Subs in the United States

Firehouse Subs offers four styles on the menu, plus the option to customize your own sandwich. The classic Firehouse Meatball Sub has Italian-style meatballs with marinara, provolone, and Italian seasonings on the top, while the Sweet and Spicy Meatball Sub adds hot sauce and red pepper flakes. You can also get a chicken parmesan-style meatball sub, which uses chicken meatballs and tops the sandwich with parmesan and toasted bread crumbs. Finally, the Pepperoni Pizza Meatball Sub adds toasted pepperoni and extra provolone to the already-tasty sandwich.


All of this chain's sandwiches come in a small, medium, or large size. It's even available as a kids' combo meal, which includes a treat and a child-sized drink. The combos, as well as the numerous options for meatball subs and extra customization, make this a customer-favorite sub chain on Yelp. Plus, there are more than 1,250 Firehouse Sub shops where you can find these delicious creations.

Moochie's Meatballs and More! in Salt Lake City

The homemade meatballs on the subs from the Salt Lake City Italian-style deli Moochie's are a favorite with customers on Yelp. The restaurant's Atomic Meatball sandwich comes with feta cheese, marinara sauce, and a special jalapeño sauce made famous by Moochie's. The original restaurant is located inside a pottery shop, and it focuses on bringing the community together to enjoy great food. There are now three locations total, all of which serve fresh ingredients on homemade bread.


Moochie's even offers authentic Philly cheesesteaks in Utah thanks to its founder's upbringing in Philadelphia. The meatball subs are second in popularity only to the cheesesteaks. If you want to try celebrity chef Guy Fieri's favorite sandwich from the shop, you can get a classic meatball sub made with handmade meatballs, homemade marinara, and provolone. If you want something a bit spicier, opt for the Atomic Meatball, which adds jalapeño sauce. (Plus, if you fall in love with this sauce, you can take some of it home.)

Fazoli's in the United States

Fazoli's Meatball Da Vinci comes with pepperoni and mozzarella, as well as meatballs. Both the pepperoni and mozzarella are thinly sliced to pair perfectly with the meatballs and the rest of the sub. You can also customize and add extras such as sides and a drink to turn your sandwich into an entire meal, all while ordering online. This is a particularly cheesy meatball sub thanks to the large slices of mozzarella cheese on each sandwich. You can customize by omitting the meatballs, marinara, pepperoni, or mozzarella. Added parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes are also available.


The meatballs are some of Fazoli's most popular items according to Yelp, so it's unsurprising that they fit perfectly on a sub. While you wait for the restaurant to make your sub, you can also try some of its unlimited breadsticks. If you don't want to wait, you can order pickup ahead of time to make the experience faster and more efficient.

The Meatball Shop in New York City

It's not surprising that a restaurant focused on meatballs has a popular meatball sub. At The Meatball Shop in NYC, you can get classic meatballs, chicken meatballs, veggie meatballs, or make your own custom sub, all slathered with the restaurant's famous sauce. The OG NYC Meatball Sub comes with tomato sauce and mozzarella. The Chicken Parm Parm Hoagie is made with chicken meatballs, tomato sauce, and mozzarella and is topped with parmesan cream sauce. The Veggie uses pesto sauce with veggie meatballs and mozzarella. You can also add hot sauce to any sandwich, including any of the meatball subs.


The Spicy Pork Meatballs aren't available on any signature subs, but you can make your own. Sauce options include tomato sauce, parmesan cream sauce, pesto, spicy meat sauce, veggie ragu, and spicy-ish arrabbiata. The restaurant also offers multiple bread types, including white hoagie rolls and wheat rolls. According to Yelp, the customization and tender meatballs put this shop on the map.

Fontano's Subs in Chicago

A sub shop that started in Chicago's Little Italy, Fontano's sandwiches have been lauded by Zagat, the Chicago Sun Times, and plenty of happy customers, according to the restaurant's website. The deli first opened in 1960 and has been serving top-rated sandwiches ever since. In Yelp reviews, some customers called it the best meatball sub they'd ever had and even ranked it as one of the best meals they'd ever eaten. Subs come in 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12-inch sizes, and each one is heaped high with meatballs, marinara, and toppings.


Fontano's meatball subs are made with Mama Fontano's meatballs covered in marinara. The sandwich comes with melted cheese under the meatballs, which helps everything stick together. You can also add peppers to your sandwich. Those who really love meatball subs may want to consider taking on the 3-foot meatball sub challenge. For most customers, however, an 8-inch sub is plenty of sandwich for one meal.

Which Wich in the United States

For the ultimate customizable meatball sub, consider the option from Which Wich. It includes Italian-style meatballs and marinara sauce, plus more than 40 extra topping options. The meatball sub comes with meatballs, marinara, and parmesan. While the basic sandwich isn't anything exceptional, you can choose from three different sizes. Alternatively, you can make it into a bowl, a wrap, or a lettuce wrap.


You can customize your sandwich by adding double meatballs, changing up the cheese, adding extra marinara or other sauces, sprinkling on extra oils and spices, or even adding fresh veggies. Based on Yelp reviews, the customization is what brings people to Which Wich. You can get your sandwich made however you like with any substitutions. Because it's a chain, its food is also consistent across all locations. If you have a special combination that you like on your meatball sub, you can be sure that it will be an option at any Which Wich you want to visit.

All About the Bread in Los Angeles

The fresh-baked bread from Los Angeles restaurant All About the Bread is frequently called out by happy customers on Yelp as one of their favorite aspects of the shop's sandwiches. The bread used in all of its subs is baked fresh every 30 minutes. This means you never have to worry about getting stale bread for your meatball sandwich. The inside is soft and fluffy, which is perfect for soaking up extra marinara.


Back on Yelp, the meatball sandwich is the second-most reviewed item on the restaurant's menu. The meatballs inside are massive and almost require a knife and fork to eat. The establishment's super fresh bread is loaded up with meatballs, marinara, provolone, and parmesan. It even comes with extra marinara on the side so that you can customize your sauce preference. Unfortunately, you can't make any substitutions with this order, but as many happy customers will attest, its combination of sauce, meatballs, and cheese nails it.

Dibella's Subs in the United States

With bread baked fresh twice daily, it's not hard to guess just how delicious the sandwiches from Dibella's Subs are. Dibella's can customize each sandwich, including adding its recommended toppings: grilled peppers and onions. In particular, the meatball sub has marinara and mozzarella, and the meatballs are made with a mixture of pork and beef. While they're large, they're still manageable on a sub. The marinara pairs well with the meatballs and soaks into the bread, which has a soft, fluffy interior. According to Yelp, these meatball subs tend to be on the cheesy side, which is perfect for those who like that boost of flavor on their sandwich.


Dibella's offers in-person, pickup, and delivery options, as well as curbside pickup and catering when you're ordering for a crowd. The chain is made up of 40 locations within several different states and regions (mostly the Northeast U.S.). If you want a chain that has plenty of spots but that you won't see on every corner, Dibella's strikes a good balance.

Bari in Chicago

The meat and cheese counter at Bari offers some of the best sandwich ingredients in Chicago. The shop was opened in 1973 by two Italian immigrants, and it's now owned and operated by their sons. In addition to subs, the restaurant offers salads, sides, soups, a full deli counter, and an Italian grocery. The subs are also a great value for the size and quality at $9.75 for a 9-inch sandwich.


Bari's meatball sub uses a family recipe and comes in a 9- or 12-inch size, though you can also get a whopping 3-foot sub if you want to feed a crowd. Customers on Yelp noted that the meatballs are pretty large but still soft and juicy. They squish down into the soft bread and soak up all of the marinara and cheese as you eat. The sandwich also comes with sweet peppers inside. Bari does offer extra toppings, such as peppers or other cheeses, but these cost extra.

Parm in New York City

Not only does this meatball sub get rave reviews, but it also puts Parm on the list of best sandwiches overall according to the Food Network. The meatballs are based on the chef's grandmother's recipe, and they're made from a mixture of pork, veal, and beef. You can order the meatball sandwich as a roll, which comes on a sweet semolina bread, or a hero, which comes on a sesame hero bun. While Parm doesn't have very many customization options compared to some sub shops on this list, the high-quality ingredients certainly attract customers' attention on Yelp.


Parm has multiple locations in New York City with dine-in, takeout, and delivery options. That said, the wait times can be long, depending on which location you visit and the size of your group or order. Of note is that Parm gets a lot of attention not only for its food, but also for its founding chefs, Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi, both of whom have Michelin Stars.

Defonte's in New York City

According to Eater New York, Defonte's is one of the best sandwich shops in New York City. It's located in Brooklyn and has been in business since 1922. The decor is classic deli and the subs come in very generous portions. You won't find a lot of the frills of a newer restaurant here, but you'll love the classic Italian food. Many customers on Yelp recommend ordering a medium sandwich, although you can still expect to have some leftover.


The Dino is Defonte's version of a meatball parmesan hot hoagie. It's served with homemade meatballs, marinara sauce, and parmesan cheese on a hoagie roll, and you can add extras like mozzarella, peppers, or even a pickle to your sub (though these cost extra). If you prefer a deconstructed sandwich, Defonte's also offers a meatball marinara hot dish (with or without mozzarella) that comes with a side of bread.


To make this list, we researched the best meatball subs across the U.S., looking at customer reviews, recognition and awards, and menu options. We also happily tested major chain restaurants, providing first-hand opinions for some of the most common and accessible meatball subs in the country. While many featured similar taste profiles overall, there were subtle differences, specifically in the sauce, meatball texture, and cheeses. Fresh bread also put many of these sandwiches in a whole different league than those that relied on older, more stale rolls.


The bread, meatballs, sauce, and toppings were the most important factors when we assessed each meatball sub experience overall. Fresh ingredients with flavor and texture ranked high, but customization options were also highlighted by customer reviews. Basically, if a restaurant allowed customers to make the exact sub they wanted, it was worth mentioning. Consistency was also an important factor; once you find a fantastic meatball sub, you want to be sure that it'll live up to your expectations with each future visit.