Delicatessens likely do not immediately spring to mind when you think of Austin cuisine. After all, this is Texas, the land of barbecue, not New York City where there’s a neighborhood deli on every corner. Nonetheless, if you set out to explore the Austin culinary arts scene there are some amazing sandwiches waiting for you. So the next time you feel an urge to devour a perfectly arranged assembly of bread, cheese and meat (or delightful substitutes for vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free friends) check out these amazing local spots:
For the most part, the NeWorld Cafe keeps its deli sandwiches straightforward and classic, choosing a scrupulous attention to quality ingredients and preparation over flashy menu items. It’s an old-school neighborhood lunch spot that prides itself on comforting favorites like a French dip sub, turkey club or “Award Winning Reuben.” For the more adventurous, there is the “Jersey” Sloppy Joe, a double decker with two meats, Swiss cheese, coleslaw and Russian dressing. If you just want a great sandwich and a cup of hot, delicious soup in the afternoon, NeWorld will serve you well.
Located at the University of Texas West Campus, Fricano’s has been serving up classic deli staples to hungry college kids, faculty and other local sandwich-lovers since 2006. The establishment is known for its generous portions and signature sandwiches like the pesto chicken Salad or Paul’s Spicy Reuben, which adds pepper jack cheese, pepperoncini peppers and Rocket Sauce to an old favorite. Those who don’t eat meat will be pleased to learn a veggie Reuben variation is also available, featuring avocado in the place of corned beef, as well as J.J.’s Veggie sandwich.
Austin Daily Press
For a small stand with only outdoor picnic-style seating, Austin Daily Press brings a surprising amount of variety to match the unimpeachable flavor of its offerings. Along with Italian deli sandwiches – or falafel – on ciabatta bread, the trailer serves up tortas, paninis, salads and amazing sides like jalapeno hush puppies. What’s really impressive, however, is the constant flow of remarkable specials like October’s La Mancha, which joins either chorizo or chorizo-flavored tempeh with pumpkin frites, Manchego Mornay, fig and apple jam and caramelized endive and celery.
A University of Texas breakfast and lunch institution, Food Heads offers several beloved specialty sandwiches, plus the option to build your own. The Lami, which found a place on Zagat’s list of the nine best sandwiches in Austin, includes grilled salami, mozzarella, spinach, tomato and blackberry balsamic vinaigrette on multigrain bread. The cafe also has exceptional daily soups and baked desserts on hand.
Beginning as a downtown trailer, Lucky’s has since expanded by acquiring a storefront on 5th Street. The new location adds pizzas to the menu, but the signature puccias, Italian sandwiches on fresh wood-fired bread, remain unchanged. The Puccia Classica is piled with ham, tomato, Fontina cheese, onion, greens and a chipotle aioli. Among the other options are the Hot Pastrami and the restaurant’s namesake sandwich with prosciutto. Still, for all the fantastic options on display, the traditional bread baked on-site is the real star.