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‘The Body’ draws regulars back to Joe’s Deli

As Joe’s Deli has cemented its reputation as a go-to spot for interesting sandwiches, the place has built a sizeable clientele of regulars.

In 2006 it opened at 1322 Hertel Ave., in space that was formerly Mastman’s Deli. A catering company followed, then a second location at 534 Elmwood Ave.

Along the way, a noticeable number of people started using Joe’s Deli as an extension of their own kitchens. One of the main reasons was The Body, a sandwich that started as a spin on the classic Vietnamese banh mi sandwich, but grew into its own local phenomenon.

“We have a pretty steady clientele of repeat customers, and a lot of the ones that come in three or four times a week, that’s one of their favorite sandwiches,” said Donny Keating, Joe’s Deli kitchen manager.

It starts with a pork loin, which gets a savory coat of yellow mustard, lime, cilantro and honey before it goes for a long, slow roast in an Alto-Shaam cooker, which helps keep it moist. Then the loin is sliced thin. When an order comes in, the cook warms up slices on the flattop with Sahlen’s ham.

Vegetables are another main ingredient, specifically a Joe’s Deli blend of thin-sliced carrots and jalapenos that have been pickled for a day or two.

The pork loin and ham goes onto a ciabatta roll, crusty with airy bubbles, which has been toasted, softening it slightly, and hit with spicy Sriracha mayonnaise. It’s topped with pickled vegetables, cucumber slices and cilantro leaves. The sandwich goes for $7.35, and is served with a pickle spear and house-made kettle-style potato chips.

Is it spicy?

“It has a good amount of heat, but the other ingredients kind of balance it out,” Keating said, adding carrots mellow the dish with cilantro and cucumber.

Some people do get it without the jalapenos if they’re not into spicy things, he noted. Others pair it with a cold draft beer, now available at both locations.

Info: Joe’s Deli, 1322 Hertel Ave. and 534 Elmwood Ave. (875-5637,