When Danny Serfer was a kid, his parents used to take him to a Broward County sub shop that unknowingly set the standard for all future sandwiches the chef would eat.
"It was a local place in a strip mall that sold subs, VHS tapes to rent, candy, and we would always go there and order ham and cheese with lettuce with this amazing salad dressing," he says. "Ever since then, I've been chasing that dragon."
That's why Serfer's forthcoming sub shop in downtown Miami's historic Alfred I. duPont Building will be named Vinaigrette Sub Shop. For months, Serfer has been working on the dressing that will adorn his sandwiches.
"It's made with quality red wine vinegar, olive oil, Romano cheese, herbs, and Calabrian chilies," he says.
Among the sandwiches the condiment will dress are classics filled with roast beef, ham, or turkey. Lately, Serfer has ventured into the seedy and perilous world of lunch-meat purveyors in hopes of emerging with something palatable and with enough quality to stand behind. He says so far he likes the company Old World Provisions for roast beef and Free Bird for poultry.
There will also be an intense focus on Italian cold cuts and sandwiches with offerings such as two-year-aged imported prosciutto, Calabrian salami, salami cotto, a fennel salami called finocchiona, and sweet and hot coppa, as well as cheeses such as scamorza and truffle-aged Gouda.
As for bread, Serfer plans to use Embarek Alibey's La Parisienne, which has long supplied his other restaurants, but he's also taking samples from Jim Lahey's Sullivan Street Bakery.
Sandwiches include the Italian combo, made with French ham, Genoa salami, pepperoni, provolone, tomato, lettuce, spicy Calabrian chili mayonnaise, and the shop's namesake vinaigrette; Calabrian salami and scamorza cheese with pickled peppers, lettuce, mayo, and vinaigrette; the Vinaigrette combo, with prosciutto, mortadella, Calabrian salami, soppressata, truffled pecorino, lettuce, mayo, and vinaigrette; and the Veggie AF, with Italian artichokes, piquillo peppers, pickled carrots, and vinaigrette.
A sandwich shop from one of Miami's leading chefs is long overdue. Seeing Michael Pirolo's eponymous sandwich shop open in Los Angeles after a brief test run as a pop-up in his Miami Beach restaurant was a heartbreak. In Miami Shores, Freddy Kaufmann serves spectacular sandwiches out of his butcher shop, Proper Sausages, but has been reticent to spin them out into their own location.
Perhaps Serfer will be the one to save Miami from the tyrannical mediocrity of the strangely adored Publix sub.
Vinaigrette Sub Shop. 169 E. Flagler St., Suite 5, Miami; 786-558-5989; vinaigrettesubs.com. Opening Wednesday, June 26. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Delivery will begin July 3.