What’s on the menu at Lambo’s Deli, the sub sandwich shop’s new Leslieville location
Including all of their hits and a very fun lineup of pop
Name: Lambo’s Deli
Contact: 1372 Queen St. E, lambosdeli.ca, @lambosdeli
Owners: Justin Leon and Cristóbal Bascuñán
Chef: Cristóbal Bascuñán
Accessibility: Not fully accessible
Lambo’s original location, on Bellwoods Avenue, used to be a convenience store frequented by co-owner Justin Leon in his teens. When Leon signed the lease in March of 2020, he was working in sales, but growing up in a food-loving Lebanese and Italian family drew him to the restaurant industry. Subs weren’t supposed to be the focus—in the beginning, Leon wanted to sell groceries and pantry staples alongside sandwiches inspired by NYC icons like Faicco’s and Defonte’s. And then the pandemic hit. Leon and Lambo’s co-owner Cristóbal Bascuñán spent six months renovating the space, biding their time and assessing the industry fallout. Finally, on October 2, 2020, they just crossed their fingers and opened.
Their stacked sandwiches were an instant hit, which prompted them to shift from a mini grocer to a decidedly sandwich-forward takeout operation. But, since the original business plan didn’t involve churning out hundreds of sandwiches every day, there wasn’t sufficient prep space for the growing demand. The pair spent two years looking for a larger second location before landing in Leslieville.
Now, with nearly double the space of the original location, there’s room to grow—and Leon, a long-time west-ender, is feeling the east-end love. “I’ve essentially been living here for the last eight months as we set up, and the vibe of the neighbourhood is fantastic,” he says. “Leslieville is an incredible community—vibrant, charming and friendly.”
As always with deceptively simple fare, the devil is in the details. Here, every sandwich is thoughtfully composed, both in concept and in practice. Virtually all of the add-ins (spreads, sauces, pickles) are made in-house. Meats and cheeses—like imported Italian mortadella, prosciutto crudo and fior di latte—are sliced daily for optimal flavour and texture. As for the bread, Lambo’s developed its signature bun in partnership with Tre Mari Bakery. It’s somewhere between a baguette and a classic sub bun, with a crunchy exterior, a sesame seed coating and a light, fluffy crumb that doesn’t pull as you chow down.
With this foundation, Lambo’s built its tight menu of fan favourites, including the Italian Trio (soppressata, prosciutto, mortadella), dressed with a punchy house-made Calabrian chili spread. Overall, the menu is similar to the Bellwoods shop, with a few tweaks and refreshes (for instance, all the mayo was replaced with roasted garlic aioli). With all the extra room, regulars can look forward to more variety in the future, including hot sandwiches.
Behold the pop lineup of your sub shop dreams. There’s Topo Chico, a solid selection of Italian soda, Mexican Squirt, Orange Fanta, Boylan’s Cream Soda, a few of La Croix’s fun underrated flavours (like Beach Plum and Black Razzberry), Jarritos, Vernor’s Ginger Soda, and vanilla and cherry Coke.
The spacious, sun-drenched room at the corner of Queen and Greenwood is decked out in Lambo’s signature green-and-white colour palette. Behind a cheerful menu display that declares “From our deli to your belly!” there’s a big open kitchen. Like the Bellwoods shop, this is still a takeout-focused operation, though there are a few seats at the window. And near the display of Covered Bridge chips and pop, there’s a selection of branded merch.