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The French dip is no ordinary roast beef sandwich. Traditionally served with a side of au jus for dipping, this rich, meaty handheld gets tastier and more tender with every dunk.

That delicious distinction came about purely by accident, according to one popular account. The story goes that California restaurateur Philippe Mathieu accidentally dropped a sandwich into a pan filled with au jus way back in 1918. The customer he was serving decided to take the juicy sandwich anyway and later came back requesting another dipped sandwich. Et voilà! The French dip sandwich was born.

Whether its French name is due to the French roll used for the sandwich or Mathieu’s French heritage, no one quite knows. But, to this day, it remains the house specialty at his former restaurant, Phillippe The Original, in Los Angeles.

A rival L.A.-based restaurant, Cole’s Pacific Electric Cafe, also lays claim to inventing the jus-dipped sandwich several years earlier, though there is little historical evidence to back it up, according to Thrillist.

Regardless of where it actually originated, the French dip has since become an American classic, now served at many restaurants all across the country. Some variations add on toppings such as cheese, peppers, and condiments including mustard or horseradish sauce.

Here are some of the best you can find at prominent chain restaurants.

Mimi’s Cafe

mimi's french dip
Mimi’s

Per order: 583 calories, 14 g fat (5 g saturated), 1836 mg sodium, 70 g carbs (2 g fiber, 6 g sugar), 43 g protein

Founded in 1978, Mimi’s Cafe is known for its house-made comfort food and fresh baked goods. The beloved eatery boasts 45 locations throughout 12 states and offers a classic take on the French dip sandwich. Customers can enjoy Mimi’s version, which is made with sliced roast beef on ciabatta bread and served with a side of au jus. Add bell peppers, caramelized onions, mushrooms, and mozzarella cheese for extra flavor.

Applebee’s

applebees prime rib dipper
Applebee’s

Per order: 1,390 calories, 72 g fat (22 g saturated fat, 1 g trans fat), 4050 mg sodium, 123 g carbs (9 g fiber, 14 g sugar), 64 g protein

The Prime Rib Dipper is Applebee’s take on the French dip. Served on a hearty toasted cheddar roll, the sandwich is comprised of thinly sliced prime rib, American cheese, grilled onions, and house-made herb mayo. The sandwich is served with French onion au jus for delectable dipping and comes with fries.

Lazy Dog Cafe

lazy dog french dip
Lazy Dog Restaurants/Facebook

Per Order: 1,130 calories, 57 g fat (20 g saturated fat), 3680 mg sodium, 91 g carbs (4 g fiber, 10 g sugar), 59 g protein

The family-owned eatery sources ingredients from local farmers near its locations. Slow-cooked pot roast, mozzarella, caramelized onions, and horseradish cream sauce adorn the chain’s Pot Roast Beef Dip on a toasted roll. The sandwich comes with warm au jus on the side so you can dip it to your heart’s content.

Shari’s

shari's french dip
Shari’s

Per Order: 680 calories, 33 g fat (11 g saturated fat), 3130 mg sodium, 63 g carbs (2 g sugar), 33 g protein

This family-style restaurant has customers salivating over its homemade pies, but there’s heartier fare to savor on the menu here, as well. Shari’s offers a coveted French dip sandwich (it’s been known to sell out) made with shaved prime rib on a French roll, served with au jus and a creamy horseradish sauce for accompaniment. The restaurant also offers a Philly French dip, which includes additions like grilled onions, peppers, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese.

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse

BJ's french dip
BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse/Facebook

Per Order: 1,590 calories, 119 g fat (37 g saturated fat), 3622 mg sodium, 105 g fat (8 g fiber, 18 g sugar), 56 g protein

BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse takes pride in its Classic Prime Rib Dip, served on a toasted hoagie roll. The chain serves it for lunch and dinner. It’s composed of sliced slow-roasted prime rib, au jus, and creamy horseradish on the side, along with coleslaw and fries.

Bob Evans

bob evans pot roast dip
Bob Evans

Per Order: 1,090 calories, 68 g fat (29 g saturated fat), 2550 mg sodium, 56 g carbs (7 g fiber, 9 g sugar), 60 g protein

Try your luck with Bob Evans Double Cheese Pot Roast Dip, in which slow-roasted pot roast, melted American and provolone cheeses, and caramelized onions are all served on grilled sourdough bread. The hefty sandwich comes with homestyle beef gravy for dunking—what could be better?

Black Bear Diner

black bear diner tri dip
Black Bear Diner / Facebook

Per Order: 490 calories, 16 g fat (5 g saturated), 2270 mg sodium, 44 g carbs (2 g fiber, 3 g sugar), 41 g protein

Black Bear Diner, the family-friendly restaurant with a strong presence on the West Coast and in areas of the Midwest and South, has a fun variation on the traditional sandwich on its menu. Its Tri-Tip Dip features seasoned tri-tip on a Tribeca ciabatta hero roll, served alongside au jus. Patrons have the option to up the ante with the addition of grilled onion, mushrooms, and Swiss cheese, too.

Bennigan’s

bennigans french dip
Bennigan’s

Knowing that the French dip doesn’t have roots in France helps explain the presence of the French dip on the menu at the Irish chain Bennigan’s. Sticking true to its Gaelic roots, Bennigan’s offers its Original Irish Dip, instead. This sandwich is made with roast beef and caramelized onions and served on a toasted garlic roll. It comes with au jus and a sour cream horseradish sauce.

J. Alexander’s

J. Alexander's french dip
J.Alexander’s/Facebook

J. Alexander’s is a beloved locale for those looking for well-executed small plates and a worldly wine selection. The restaurant chain takes a classic approach to the French dip, serving customers a baguette topped with horseradish and thinly sliced roast beef. A healthy heaping of French fries arrives with it.

Houston’s Restaurant

houston's french dip
Houston’s/Facebook

Known for its American classics, Houston’s Restaurant caters to those seeking a delicious meal. The hot spot’s USDA Prime French dip sees thinly sliced and roasted prime rib served on a toasted French roll. Au jus comes on the side to make it one juicy bite, but don’t take our word for it. One satisfied customer proclaimed that it was “the best french dip I’ve had…ever.”


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