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Food & Drink

What’s on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que

By Rebecca Fleming| Photography by Gabby Frank
What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que

Name: Elm Street Italian Deli Contact: 15 Elm St., 905-662-2570, @elmstdeli
Neighbourhood: Downtown Core Previously: TLP Sandwich Co. Chef-owner: Lawrence La Pianta (Cherry Street Bar-B-Que) Accessibility: Barrier-free entrance; no washroom

The food

Call the foot-long sandwiches what you will—submarines, heroes, hoagies or grinders—that’s the specialty here at Lawrence La Pianta’s new deli in the downtown core. “Barbecue will always be my first love—this is just kind of who I am,” says pitmaster La Pianta. “This is the result of nature versus nurture: I was born into this—I’m Italian, after all—but barbecue was what I chose to do.” Everything here is house-made, including the meat, the sauces and the bread, which was the biggest battle. “We do a lot of catering and events at Cherry Street, so we were already putting together our own charcuterie boards, our own mortadella, our own salami. This was just a natural extension. We had all the production in place—now it’s just a lot more.”

Half of the menu is pork-free (the other half is very porky, as per tradition) and there’s one vegetarian option (the Regina, named after La Pianta’s vegetarian wife). He plans to add a couple more veggie options, though, including an eggplant parm and a pasta dish. Sides include olives, peperonata and rapini.

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
The Sergio Leone—or what La Pianta calls the “Italian Texan”—is Cherry’s Street’s brisket, stewed down with marinara sauce and spices, then topped with sweet provolone, garlic rapini, roasted red peppers and house giardinera aïoli. $8.50/$15.95.

 

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
Mikey Morts is stacked with house-made (pistachio-free) mortadella, fior di latte, lettuce, red onion, tomato and roasted red peppers. $7/$12.95

 

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
“This is the guilt-free sandwich! It’s just turkey!" laughs La Pianta. It’s more than that, though. The Tommy Tacchino is topped with slow-smoked turkey breast, sweet provolone, lettuce, red onion, tomato, roasted red peppers, basil aïoli and muffuletta spread. $8/$14.95.

 

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
“The sandwich that took the longest was the burger, because I wanted one that was completely different from the one we have at Cherry,” says La Pianta. Thus, La Pianta’s cheeky take on a pizza burger was born. For it, he tops an all-brisket patty (or two of them) with sweet provolone, pickled veggies, marinara sauce, lettuce, tomato and basil aïoli. $9.95/$14.95

 

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
“I thought I had a lot of refrigeration space, but you get into bread making and realize you have about 100 litres of poolish sitting around just waiting to be made into bread,” says La Pianta.

 

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What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
A sandwich artist at work.

 

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
Chef-owner La Pianta.
The drinks

What you’d expect from a sandwich counter: pop, water and a few different Italian sodas. Coming soon: straight-up espresso (because there’s just not enough fridge space for milk).

The space

Previously home to TLP Sandwich Co. (Barberian’s sister spot), the small space is primarily set up for takeout service—though there is a ledge at the window if you can’t wait to scarf your sub. “We have a rule here,” says La Pianta. “It’s a no-judgment zone, so eat like nobody’s watching.”

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que
The shop is decorated with Italian movie posters and photographs of La Pianta’s parents and their hometowns in Italy.

 

What's on the menu at Elm Street Italian Deli, a new sandwich counter from the guy behind Cherry Street Bar-B-Que

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