Chains are known for tossing corporate-calculated amounts of ingredients onto a flavorless roll and calling it a sandwich. And while it may curb hunger in the strictest sense, it’s got no discernible soul. Fortunately, there’s the Little Italy sandwich at J & W to restore your faith in the lunchtime standard. Genoa salami, honey ham, kicky capicola, and plenty of provolone achieve seismic balance with iceberg lettuce, tomato, onion, and banana peppers on a white bun. It’s a first bite that you never want to end. For 23 years, owner Andy Vuozzo—an obvious New Yorker, as evidenced by plenty of Jets and Yankees memorabilia on the shop walls—has been honing deli sandwich technique on an unassuming residential street (the chopper shop being the sole exception) in Norwood. His behemoth BLT—the bacon stratum can be measured in actual inches—is really a BLT. Vuozzo also makes a mean New Yorker with pastrami, Swiss, and spicy mustard on rye that necessitates plenty of breath mints. Whether you’re having an office party or the friends over to watch a game, Vuozzo’s party trays (think salami roll-ups, finger sandwiches, deviled eggs, and classic relish trays) are über-fresh and designed to feed a crowd.
J & W Sandwich Shoppe, 2004 Worth Ave., Norwood, (513) 631-9755, jwsandwich.com. $4–$6. Lunch and very early dinner (they close at 5) Mon–Fri.