10 Best Tucson Deli and Sandwich Spots
By Patricia Escarcega
Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tucson Local Expert
Tucson may not have as many traditional deli counters as you'll find in many East Coast cities, but that doesn't mean the city has a shortage of great deli cuts and monster sandwiches.
You'll find one of the biggest deli menus at the Sausage Shop Meat Market and Deli. The family-owned deli makes its own sausage and smoked meats on site. Try the "Ole Pueblo," the deli's savory take on a classic Philly cheese steak, featuring grilled, sliced brisket and loads of peppers and onions.
If you're craving something more traditional, it doesn't get more old-school than Tony's Italian Deli, a little slice of Brooklyn in the Old Pueblo. Quality meats and cheeses are packed into fresh-baked Italian bread for a deli sandwich treat.
The 4th Avenue Delicatessen is another must-try for all stripes of sandwich aficionados. The service here is quick, friendly and the sandwiches are stuffed with Boar's Head meats and cheeses. Try the "T-Town," featuring turkey, bacon, and lots of pepper jack cheese.
Finally, for a deli that delivers East Coast-style grinders, try the new Hopyard Deli & Market. The market sells gourmet import food items, and the deli side specializes in authentic grinders. Mouth-watering picks include the Chicken Parm and Hopyard Pastrami, which comes topped with the house coleslaw.
10 Beyond Bread
For a quick bite on your way to work or a day of sightseeing, bypass all those fast food chains and stop at Beyond Bread. The cinnamon raisin French toast is unbeatable, but if you like protein in the morning, try a made-to-order omelette, stuffed full of your choice of meats, cheese and veggies. Lighter appetites might prefer a simple croissant, muffin or scone. Later in the day, opt for a cleverly named sandwich or salad, a slice of dark chocolate cake or a massive cookie. Breads range from specials like Ancho-Chipotle-White Cheddar and Brie-Scallion-Chive to more traditional varieties such as challah and baguettes there are more than 30 breads in the regular schedule, about half of which are available on any given day. (520-322-9965)
9 Time Market
Time Market is a Tucson classic. This neighborhood market has been a local institution since 1919. The market is part coffee shop, part deli, part bar and part specialty market, conveniently located just west of the University of Arizona. You'll find craft beers and hard-to-find fine wine. Order up a wood-fired pizza, or sit on the patio and enjoy an espresso and dessert. You'll also find salads, sandwiches and fresh-baked breads on the menu. This busy neighborhood market is a favorite stopping point for shoppers looking for fresh organic produce and products. A perfect place to people-watch and soak in the ambiance. ((520) 622-0761)
8 Bison Witches Bar
You're probably wondering where the name comes from. Well, if you run the phrase "buy sandwiches" together, it might sound a bit like "Bison Witches." OK, maybe that's not so creative, but the food at this neighborhood college hangout is. They serve sandwiches, soups, salads and beer, but what a selection. Soups and salads are served in big bread bowls, making them a complete meal in and of themselves. But the sandwiches truly are noteworthy, due to their variety, massive size and general tastiness. Try the Hawaiian chicken, brie and roast beef, or the Wildcat (roast beef, smoked turkey, smoked gouda, lettuce and spicy honey-mustard). If you're feeling homesick, there's grilled cheese or PB&J--now that's comfort food! The beverage list is impressive too: 8 domestics and imports on tap, plus more than 30 microbrews and over 20 imports in bottles. Great drink specials (this is a college bar, after all!). (520-740-1541)
7 Hopyard Deli & Market
The Hopyard Deli & Market is Tucson's modern take on the traditional East Coast-style deli and market. The industrial-chic design of the deli manages to feel both modern, vintage, and thoroughly inviting. But the real draw here is the full-service deli, gourmet import food products, fresh grinders, and yummy baked goods. Behind the counter, guests can also find salads, deli sides, and other assorted deli goods. The "East Coast Grinder" menu features both hot and cold sandwiches, including the popular Hopyard Pastrami, which features lean, thinly-sliced pastrami topped with a sweet and tangy coleslaw, swiss cheese, shredded lettuce, and a dash of salt and pepper. ((520) 300-6256)
6 4th Avenue Delicatessen
4th Avenue Deli is a good lunch spot near downtown Tucson when you're craving quality deli eats. Friendly and quick service, fresh ingredients, and local flavors makes 4th Avenue Deli a winner. The deli uses Boar's Head meats and cheeses to build mouth-watering sandwich creations. Many of the sandwiches use bread from locally-owned Vero's Bakery bread. Prices are reasonable, especially the lunch specials. One of the house favorites is the T-Town, featuring turkey, bacon, and pepper jack cheese. Along with deli sandwiches, 4th Avenue Deli also serves a variety of sides and 12 different specialty hot dogs. 4th Avenue Deli also offers free local delivery. ((520) 624-3354)
5 Tony's Italian Deli
"Calling all displaced East Coasters," is the rallying cry of this Tucson gem. This southeast-side Italian deli is the closest thing you can get to going back east without having to step on a plane. Tony's Italian Deli evokes the classic Brooklyn corner market, serving up some of Tucson's freshest deli cuts and tastiest specialty sandwiches. Along with cold and hot sandwiches, you'll also find an array of Italian pasta entrees, salads, and pizzas. The deli also offers an excellent roster of desserts, including an authentic New York crumb cake and mouth-watering cannolis. You can even have your deli delivered straight to your door. ((520) 747-0070)
4 Dickman's Meat and Deli
Dickman's Meat and Deli in Tucson is a family-owned meat market and deli that carries USDA prime and choice grade beef. The deli is also home to a Wisconsin-style bratwurst that brings back memories of the midwest. The deli uses Boar's head meats and cheeses, and also carries a wide selection of fresh and frozen seafood and harder to find game meats. if you're craving deli for lunch or dinner, the star of the menu is without a doubt a steak sandwich known as "The Ugly Steak." The sandwich takes its name from a particular part of the sirloin. It might not be the prettiest cut behind the counter, but the results are a juicy, tender steak sandwich that keeps deli fans coming back for more. ((520) 885-8020)
3 Sausage Deli
Serving fresh, over-sized sandwiches for over 30 years, Sausage Deli has established itself as a sandwich hot spot for University of Arizona students. However, foodies of all stripes have been congregating here for years now to get a taste of the restaurant's original take on deli. Sit n the cozy dining room and savor the joys of the Hot Omar Sub while sipping on a cold beer, or call in your order for some of the best sandwich take-out in town. The restaurant also has a large outdoor patio and TVs, making this a good place to eat and watch the big game with friends. ((520) 623-8182)
2 Roma Imports
Roma Imports celebrates the spirit of the traditional Italian deli by staying true to its roots. The small shop carries a huge selection of Italian food goods, including high quality imported meats and cheeses. The menu features a large assortment of hot and cold deli sandwiches, including a classic caprese made with fresh basil and the "Ultimate Roma," made with capocolla, genoa salami, fresh mortadella, provolone, and roasted red peppers. On the hot side of the menu, you can't beat the "Roma Signature," a slow roasted pork shoulder marinated with mustard and beer, then topped with a crunchy slaw. The deli also carries an assortment of salads and hot pasta dishes. ((520) 792-3173)
1 Sausage Shop Meat Market and Deli
The Sausage Shop Meat Market and Deli is a throwback - in all the right ways - to the time of the traditional counter deli. The shop makes its own sausage and smoked meats on site, resulting in juicy, fresh cuts that you simply can't find at most sandwich shops. Guests can order aged steaks cut to orders, as well as large variety of cold cuts. The Sausage Shop also boasts one of the biggest deli sandwich menus in Tucson, including hot and cold sammies. Some house favorites include the sausage sandwich, with your choice of sausage and toppings. There's also the "Ole Pueblo" cheese steak, featuring sliced and grilled brisket, peppers, onions, and plenty of pepper jack cheese. ((520) 888-1701)
About Patricia Escarcega
Patricia Escarcega has lived in the Arizona desert since she was a teenager. She works as a writer and editor in Phoenix with her four dogs and two cats. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona and is working on a novel about growing up in the 1990s.
Read more about Patricia Escarcega here.