This excerpt was taken from an article originally published in January 2017 by Andy Kryza.

Along with the abilities to hitchhike and review movies, properly holding a sandwich is one of the many great things our thumbs allow us to do. That’s because sandwiches are among humankind’s greatest inventions: handheld, delicious, and available in endless varieties. All you need is two slices of bread and something to put between and you’ve got a meal.

Much like humans and other creatures with opposable thumbs, sandwiches have evolved over the years. Where once they were simple vessels for silverware-free eating, they’re now complex works of artistry, from the bread to the meat to the condiments. The list below contains a mix of legends and newcomers that represent the best bread-based delights in the US, culled from our nationwide network of hungry primates. The Earl of Sandwich would approve. So would Darwin… and not just because one of the spots is named after him.

Masterpiece Delicatessen

Justin Brunson, the chef behind Masterpiece Deli, also owns one of Denver’s most important restaurants (the acclaimed Old Major), and his culinary talents are equally showcased at this humble deli. One of the major feats of this Mile High shop is its versatility. The menu features a mouthwatering 12-hour-braised beef brisket smothered in a rich Taleggio fondue and served on a baguette. And damn it if Masterpiece’s bland-as-hell-sounding roasted vegetable sandwich isn’t one of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat, too. The flavors of the fresh zucchini, wild mushrooms, and piquillo peppers mesh gloriously with the hummus, a zesty tomato tapenade, and aged provolone on a baguette. Though the Cubano — loaded with Black Forest ham and brined mojo pork and glued together with melted Swiss — might be enough to tempt even the president of PETA over to the dark side.