Sure, you could ring in National Sandwich Day by whipping up a PB&J in the kitchen. But where’s the fun in that? Cincinnati is full of mom-and-pop sandwich shops serving only the finest deli creations. Here are five of our favorites:
Izzy’s doesn’t call this its “World Famous Reuben” for nothing. Really, you really can’t go wrong with any of the items on this restaurant’s menu, but if you’re looking for the ultimate sandwich experience, opt for the savory dish that put this Cincinnati chain on the map. Bookended by two thick slices of rye bread, the signature Reuben is piled with corned beef, sauerkraut, Izzy’s “special” dressing, and melted Swiss cheese. Multiple locations. izzys.com
The Wheel’s Grinder
Craving something a little more sophisticated than your average deli find? Located in Oakley, The Wheel is an Italian food market specializing in grab-and-go entrees with elevated ingredients, like hand-rolled pasta and homemade bread. Ring in national sandwich day with The Wheel’s take on the classic grinder, topped with salami, ham, provolone, red onion, and vinaigrette. 3805 Brotherton Rd., Oakley, thewheeloakley.com, (513) 271-0291
The Pickled Pig’s Roasted Veggie Baba
Looking for something a little more veggie-forward? This Walnut Hills sandwich shop, located just off I-71, can whip up a mean “veggie Baba” that puts the average vegetarian sub to shame. Marinated cucumber and tahini lemon dressing bring rich Mediterranean flavor to this deli favorite, while the crispy pan de cristal adds a savory crunch. 645 E. McMillan St., Walnut Hills, smokedandpickled.com, (513) 748-7114
Scherpies Produce & Deli’s Ham Sandwich
Ever since opening its doors in 1987, this beloved St. Bernard deli has been a community staple. If the homemade soups and salads aren’t enough to get you through the door, keep it simple and try the ham sandwich, served with all the classic fix-ins: lettuce, tomato, onions, and pickles. Feeling extra spicy? Make it a double-decker. It is a holiday, after all.
503 E Ross Ave., St. Bernard, www.facebook.com/scherpies.deli.14, (513) 641-3223
Carl’s Deli’s Turkey Sandwich
On the outside, Carl’s Deli is everything your sandwich shop should be: inviting and colorful, with plenty of bistro tables for dining al fresco. Inside, this Hyde Park deli is serious about its sandwiches. Pick out a side or two from the bakery case—we recommend Joanie’s Crabmeat Artichoke Salad, a local favorite—and keep lunchtime simple with a rotisserie turkey sandwich, served with swiss cheese on multigrain bread with lettuce, tomato, and mayo. 2836 Observatory Ave., Hyde Park, carlsdeli.com, (513) 871-2275
This story was updated November 3, 2022.