There's a healthy debate happening right in our great state.

This debate is a serious topic, with repercussions that could ultimately last for generations. Is there a right side to this argument? Who's to say? All I know is that it's downright tasty, both figuratively and literally.

And it's a debate we are going to try and settle right now.

What is this raging debate? Well, it's all about Maine food supremacy as we try to figure out what should be Maine's official summer sandwich: the Italian or the lobster roll.

Ah, yes. It's Maine's eternal battle between a traditional sandwich and a seafood delight that's become a global sensation.

In one corner we have the Maine Italian.

Amato's via Facebook
Amato's via Facebook

What is It: Ham & Cheese, Pickles, Green Peppers, Olives, Tomatoes, Onions, Oil, Salt & Pepper, on a long, hot dog-like bun.

While there are many variations, this is what the majority of sandwich connoisseurs would call the original Maine Italian.

History: The Maine Italian's history dates back to the turn of the 20th century. According to LoveFood and numerous publications, it all started with a Portland deli owner named Giovanni Amato. He would put together sandwiches on his freshly baked bread for the local dock workers. Over 100 years later, the Amato name lives on in his family's incredibly popular sandwich chain with the same name.

Where to Find Them: Well, everywhere. Deli's, variety stores, gas stations, bakeries, food court stands, grocery stores. You name it, there's probably a Maine Italian available.

-Originated in Maine
-A Filling Meal
-Relatively Inexpensive
-Easy to Travel With
-A Perfect Bite for the Beach

-Lacking Compared to an Actual Italian Cold Cut Sandwich
-Can Be Rather Messy
-Raw Onions Can Overpower
-Is American Cheese Actually Cheese?

Overall: Is it my favorite sandwich? Not even close. However, there's a certain nostalgia about a Maine Italian. Plus, it's such a great sandwich to take to the beach or on a boat. It's a wonderful part of this state's culture, and a true all-star option for a summer meal.

Now, let's take a look at the lobster roll.

Getty Images
Getty Images

What Is It: A buttery toasted hot dog bun filled with fresh-picked lobster meat and either butter or mayonnaise, lemon juice, and possibly some herbs or lettuce.

But let's be honest, it's really about a bunch of lobster in a toasted bun, ready for consumption.

History: The sandwich was first created in Milford, Connecticut, in 1929. However, it quickly made its way through New England, where it ultimately became a Maine staple.

Where to Find Them: Everywhere. Restaurants, food trucks, delis, gas stations, grocery stores, seafood shacks, hot dog stands. They are legit everywhere.

-It's Maine Lobster
-Butter is Involved
-A Variety of Styles, All Delicious
-Much Less Messy Than a Lobster Dinner
-Not as Smelly as Fish
-Great for all Seasons

-Not Cheap
-Not Healthy
-Contains Lobster (that's not good for those who, you know, don't like lobster)
-Originated in Connecticut (gross)

Overall: This is one of the most versatile sandwiches there is. You can find it everywhere from fast food joints to fine dining restaurants. It has worldwide appeal. It's an absolute monster in the summer as well. While not from Maine, it's certainly become a part of this state's fabric.

Which Sandwich Wins?

Give me the Maine Italian. I'm sure the countless years of scarfing them down on beach or boat days certainly helps. While lobster rolls are a fine choice, nothing compares to that quintessential Maine sandwich we like to call an Italian.

Which one would you consider Maine's best sandwich for the summer?

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These great spots can be found across the state and waiting for you to give them a try.

How many have you been to? How many would you like to try for the first time?

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