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A roast beef sandwich with cheese, mayo, and barbecue sauce sits on a paper plate, accompanied by thick onion rings.
Roast beef sandwich at Kelly’s Roast Beef
Katie Chudy/Eater

Head North of Boston for a Roast Beef Sandwich Road Trip

There are a few solid options in the immediate Boston area, but the North Shore is the ultimate roast beef destination

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Roast beef sandwich at Kelly’s Roast Beef
| Katie Chudy/Eater

The North Shore is home to an array of delicacies and oddities — fried clams in the former group, Greek pizza in the latter. North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches — messy and lowbrow as they are — fit into both categories.

The essential version — or, the super beef, as it’s known in most shops — consists of an onion Kaiser roll piled high with tender, rosy-pink roast beef shaved impossibly thin and topped with mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, and a slice of white American cheese. It’s known colloquially as a “three-way.” Pro tip: While it’s untraditional and may inspire some side-eyeing, add shredded lettuce. The “four-way” is infinitely better than the “three-way.”

Most beef shops sling a variety of sizes — junior beef, regular beef, and the aforementioned (and also the best) super beef. Junior beefs usually come on unseeded hamburger buns, while regular beefs are often served on a sesame seed bun. Every version is good, and what one orders depends largely on one’s appetite. (Get the super beef.)

Here’s where to get North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches (and a few worthy non-North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches) in and around Boston, but mostly north of the city.

Further reading: Where to Eat Fried Clams in and Around Boston; Boston’s Most Iconic Dishes

This map was originally published October 18, 2017. It is updated periodically, and the date of the most recent update appears above. The most recent update includes the removal of Roast Beast in Boston’s Allston neighborhood (closed in November 2019) and Courtyard in Newburyport (also closed).

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Zeno's Roast Beef

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40 Central St
Ipswich, MA 01938
(978) 312-1497
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Zeno’s Roast Beef in downtown Ipswich is in the same space once occupied by another giant of the North Shore’s roast beef sandwich club: Chick’s Roast Beef. Zeno’s is a no-frills joint serving exceptionally tender beef and — unsurprisingly, given its location — great fried clams.

A roast beef sandwich, piled high with thinly sliced beef
Zeno’s replaced Chick’s in Ipswich
Zeno’s Roast Beef/Official Site

2. Harrison's Roast Beef

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80 Chickering Rd
North Andover, MA 01845
(978) 687-9158
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Harrison’s — open at this address since 1984 and under a different name in Lawrence before — is popular with the Merrimack College crowd. It’s a messy sandwich, but it’s cheap, and the beef is plentiful. The interchanges that take place between the cashier and the kitchen staff are worth the price of admission. Order a super beef “four ways, no onions,” and the cashier will yell to his cooks, “super beef: four ways, no criers.” It’s the prime spot for a solid beef and even better restaurant parlance.

3. Nick's Roast Beef

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139 Dodge St
Beverly, MA 01915
(978) 922-9075
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Perhaps the best roast beef sandwich — or even the best sandwich, period. Most North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches require a plate and at least 17 napkins, but Nick’s version is — despite being handsomely dressed with mayonnaise and barbecue sauce — somehow minimally messy. The beef is pink and thin and as tender as the most tender filet. Go to Nick’s now.

4. Supreme Roast Beef

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18 Maple St
Danvers, MA 01923
(978) 777-0606
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This spot is aptly named. The beef is rosy, tender, and even a bit juicy. It’s been open in Danvers since the Nixon administration, so it must be doing something right.

A rare roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun
Supreme has been open in Danvers since 1973
Supreme Roast Beef/Official Website

5. Bill & Bob's Roast Beef

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9 Bridge St
Salem, MA 01970
(978) 744-9835
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There are three Bill & Bob’s Roast Beef locations — the other two are in Woburn and Peabody — but the one in Salem gets the nod here because it’s on the water. They’re all worth a visit, though. Get a side of onion rings because they’re delicious.

6. Mino's Roast Beef

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244 Broadway
Lynn, MA 01904
(781) 581-7577
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Mino’s is an institution. It’s been serving up roast beef sandwiches on Broadway in Lynn since 1975. Get a super beef with a side of crispy, golden onion rings.

7. Kelly's Roast Beef

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410 Revere Beach Blvd
Revere, MA 02151
(781) 284-9129
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Kelly’s Roast Beef is often maligned, but that’s because hating is a sport for Bostonians and their neighbors on the North Shore. The provenance of that ire seems to be that Kelly’s decided to expand — quality beef has no time for capitalism, after all. The truth is: Kelly’s hasn’t been around since 1951 because it’s slinging mediocre beef. It’s the OG, and it’s got an ocean view. The fried clams are also the best in the “roast beef and seafood” game.

Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams on a picnic table. Another sandwich with onion rings is visible in the background.
Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams at Kelly’s
Katie Chudy/Eater

8. Hot Box

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1 Bow Market Way
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 284-9600
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Somerville isn’t quite the North Shore, but it’s close enough. Hot Box (part of Union Square’s Bow Market), which is led by the same folks who operate beloved Bay Village sandwich shop Mike & Patty’s, specializes in two very Massachusetts things: South Shore bar pizza and North Shore roast beef sandwiches. Get both.

A three-way junior roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun sits on aluminum foil
Junior beef (three-way) at Hot Box
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

9. All Star Sandwich Bar

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1245 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139
(617) 868-3065
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In terms of style, this one is an outlier on the map, but it’s so good that it needs to be included. All Star Sandwich Bar’s roast beef sandwich isn’t served North Shore-style, but rather Buffalo-style (the city, not the sauce). The beef on weck is served on kimmelweck with spicy horseradish and a side of au jus. The beef is warm and sliced to order. One of Inman Square’s very best bites.

A beef on weck sandwich with rare roast beef on a kimmelweck bun and a silver cup of au jus
Beef on weck at All Star Sandwich Bar
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

10. Skampa

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424 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141
(617) 354-0009

Further east on Cambridge Street, roast beef returns to the North Shore style at Skampa. There are plenty of other sandwiches, wraps, subs, and pizza at this classic shop, too, but you’re here for one thing: super beef, three-way.

11. Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood

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304 Stuart St
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 917-5193
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Cusser’s — a fine-dining team’s homage to casual North Shore dining — is a seasonal spot that is primarily a takeout window, although diners can eat inside sibling spot Moon Bar if they choose. (The duo’s fancier sibling, Mooncusser Fish House, is upstairs.) There are two versions of the roast beef sandwich: typical three-way style or “Thoreau-style” with cheddar, pickled red onions, and Thoreau sauce. (The team’s older restaurant, located in Concord, is called 80 Thoreau.) Cusser’s will expand to a forthcoming downtown Boston food hall in winter 2020.

A roast beef sandwich with rare beef and barbecue sauce. The bun has sesame seeds and poppyseeds on top.
Roast beef sandwich at Cusser’s
Holly Rike

12. Cutty's

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284 Washington St
Brookline, MA 02445
(617) 505-1844
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Cutty’s does a lot of things very, very well, but its Roast Beef 1000 is what keeps the lights on. Slow-roasted, hyper-tender beef is stacked onto a brioche roll and topped with crispy shallots, sharp cheddar, and — what else? — Thousand Island dressing. There’s also a turkey version. (Note for those who follow Guy Fieri: He loves this sandwich.)

A roast beef sandwich on brioche, topped with crispy shallots, a slide of cheddar, and Thousand Island dressing.
The Roast Beef 1000 at Cutty’s
Cutty’s/Official Site

1. Zeno's Roast Beef

40 Central St, Ipswich, MA 01938
A roast beef sandwich, piled high with thinly sliced beef
Zeno’s replaced Chick’s in Ipswich
Zeno’s Roast Beef/Official Site

Zeno’s Roast Beef in downtown Ipswich is in the same space once occupied by another giant of the North Shore’s roast beef sandwich club: Chick’s Roast Beef. Zeno’s is a no-frills joint serving exceptionally tender beef and — unsurprisingly, given its location — great fried clams.

40 Central St
Ipswich, MA 01938

2. Harrison's Roast Beef

80 Chickering Rd, North Andover, MA 01845

Harrison’s — open at this address since 1984 and under a different name in Lawrence before — is popular with the Merrimack College crowd. It’s a messy sandwich, but it’s cheap, and the beef is plentiful. The interchanges that take place between the cashier and the kitchen staff are worth the price of admission. Order a super beef “four ways, no onions,” and the cashier will yell to his cooks, “super beef: four ways, no criers.” It’s the prime spot for a solid beef and even better restaurant parlance.

80 Chickering Rd
North Andover, MA 01845

3. Nick's Roast Beef

139 Dodge St, Beverly, MA 01915

Perhaps the best roast beef sandwich — or even the best sandwich, period. Most North Shore-style roast beef sandwiches require a plate and at least 17 napkins, but Nick’s version is — despite being handsomely dressed with mayonnaise and barbecue sauce — somehow minimally messy. The beef is pink and thin and as tender as the most tender filet. Go to Nick’s now.

139 Dodge St
Beverly, MA 01915

4. Supreme Roast Beef

18 Maple St, Danvers, MA 01923
A rare roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun
Supreme has been open in Danvers since 1973
Supreme Roast Beef/Official Website

This spot is aptly named. The beef is rosy, tender, and even a bit juicy. It’s been open in Danvers since the Nixon administration, so it must be doing something right.

18 Maple St
Danvers, MA 01923

5. Bill & Bob's Roast Beef

9 Bridge St, Salem, MA 01970

There are three Bill & Bob’s Roast Beef locations — the other two are in Woburn and Peabody — but the one in Salem gets the nod here because it’s on the water. They’re all worth a visit, though. Get a side of onion rings because they’re delicious.

9 Bridge St
Salem, MA 01970

6. Mino's Roast Beef

244 Broadway, Lynn, MA 01904

Mino’s is an institution. It’s been serving up roast beef sandwiches on Broadway in Lynn since 1975. Get a super beef with a side of crispy, golden onion rings.

244 Broadway
Lynn, MA 01904

7. Kelly's Roast Beef

410 Revere Beach Blvd, Revere, MA 02151
Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams on a picnic table. Another sandwich with onion rings is visible in the background.
Roast beef sandwich and a side of fried clams at Kelly’s
Katie Chudy/Eater

Kelly’s Roast Beef is often maligned, but that’s because hating is a sport for Bostonians and their neighbors on the North Shore. The provenance of that ire seems to be that Kelly’s decided to expand — quality beef has no time for capitalism, after all. The truth is: Kelly’s hasn’t been around since 1951 because it’s slinging mediocre beef. It’s the OG, and it’s got an ocean view. The fried clams are also the best in the “roast beef and seafood” game.

410 Revere Beach Blvd
Revere, MA 02151

8. Hot Box

1 Bow Market Way, Somerville, MA 02143
A three-way junior roast beef sandwich on a sesame bun sits on aluminum foil
Junior beef (three-way) at Hot Box
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Somerville isn’t quite the North Shore, but it’s close enough. Hot Box (part of Union Square’s Bow Market), which is led by the same folks who operate beloved Bay Village sandwich shop Mike & Patty’s, specializes in two very Massachusetts things: South Shore bar pizza and North Shore roast beef sandwiches. Get both.

1 Bow Market Way
Somerville, MA 02143

9. All Star Sandwich Bar

1245 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02139
A beef on weck sandwich with rare roast beef on a kimmelweck bun and a silver cup of au jus
Beef on weck at All Star Sandwich Bar
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

In terms of style, this one is an outlier on the map, but it’s so good that it needs to be included. All Star Sandwich Bar’s roast beef sandwich isn’t served North Shore-style, but rather Buffalo-style (the city, not the sauce). The beef on weck is served on kimmelweck with spicy horseradish and a side of au jus. The beef is warm and sliced to order. One of Inman Square’s very best bites.

1245 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02139

10. Skampa

424 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA 02141

Further east on Cambridge Street, roast beef returns to the North Shore style at Skampa. There are plenty of other sandwiches, wraps, subs, and pizza at this classic shop, too, but you’re here for one thing: super beef, three-way.

424 Cambridge St
Cambridge, MA 02141

11. Cusser's Roast Beef & Seafood

304 Stuart St, Boston, MA 02116
A roast beef sandwich with rare beef and barbecue sauce. The bun has sesame seeds and poppyseeds on top.
Roast beef sandwich at Cusser’s
Holly Rike

Cusser’s — a fine-dining team’s homage to casual North Shore dining — is a seasonal spot that is primarily a takeout window, although diners can eat inside sibling spot Moon Bar if they choose. (The duo’s fancier sibling, Mooncusser Fish House, is upstairs.) There are two versions of the roast beef sandwich: typical three-way style or “Thoreau-style” with cheddar, pickled red onions, and Thoreau sauce. (The team’s older restaurant, located in Concord, is called 80 Thoreau.) Cusser’s will expand to a forthcoming downtown Boston food hall in winter 2020.

304 Stuart St
Boston, MA 02116

12. Cutty's

284 Washington St, Brookline, MA 02445
A roast beef sandwich on brioche, topped with crispy shallots, a slide of cheddar, and Thousand Island dressing.
The Roast Beef 1000 at Cutty’s
Cutty’s/Official Site

Cutty’s does a lot of things very, very well, but its Roast Beef 1000 is what keeps the lights on. Slow-roasted, hyper-tender beef is stacked onto a brioche roll and topped with crispy shallots, sharp cheddar, and — what else? — Thousand Island dressing. There’s also a turkey version. (Note for those who follow Guy Fieri: He loves this sandwich.)

284 Washington St
Brookline, MA 02445

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