Maybe it’s the near-impossibility of making a bad sandwich at home — all you really need is fresh ingredients and a bread knife — that in turn makes is so hard, when dining out, to distinguish a remarkable sammi from a good or even average one. When done right and proper, a fresh delicatessan or café sandwich, paired with a bowl of soup or espresso, can hit so many proverbial sweet spots it stays locked in one’s positive dining memory for years. When seeking a notable lunch stop in Calgary, these sandwich purveyors are a fresh-cut above the competition.
This Kensington Italian grocery and deli offers hearty submarine-style sandwiches stuffed with Sicilian favourites like prosciutto, capicollo and even chicken parm. Peppino’s has close to thirty different sub choices, most with a strong Italian influence, but Joe’s Special — mortadella, capicollo, and Calabrese aalami, cheese, lettuce, and house dressing — is a must-try, if it’s your first visit. 1240 Kensington Rd. N.W
The essential carnivore’s stop in Calgary, Holy Smoke’s chopped beef brisket and pulled pork sandwiches pile moist, smoked cuts of meat on fluffy white buns. The option of rounding out the meal with beef ribs ($1 per bone) or chili con carne makes this small Southern barbecue pit a unique lunch find in the city. 4640 Manhattan Rd. S.E.
Calgary sandwich lovers panicked momentarily when Caffé Mauro’s original First Street location closed down, but the re-born Mauro (open since 2009) came back strong, serving the Beltline its signature Italian sandwich combinations, like the delicious prosciutto bocconcini (salty prosciutto, jalapeno veggie spread, olive tapenade, roasted peppers and mixed greens on fresh baked focaccia bread). With its impressive espressos and friendly staff, this incarnation of Mauro seems set up for a long, long run in Calgary. #120 999 8 St. S.W.
Boxwood has four different sandwiches on its menu and each is a gourmet composition served on housemade ciabatta. The Spragg Farm spit roasted porchetta, farm-raised roast chicken, and Vietnamese style lamb sandwiches have meat lovers covered, but Boxwood’s chickpea fritters and roasted eggplant sandwich could make anyone seriously consider vegetarianism. 340 13 Ave. S.W.
Image courtesy of Alexa Clark.