As a kid, Danny Serfer's 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."
Hence why Serfer's forthcoming sub shop in downtown Miami's historic Alfred I. DuPont Building on Flagler Street will be named Vinaigrette Sub Shop. For months, Serfer has been working on the dressing that will adorn its sandwiches.
"It's made with quality red wine vinegar, olive oil, Romano cheese, herbs, and Calabrian chilies," he says.
Among the sandwiches it 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 said so far he likes a company called Old World Provisions for roast beef and another named Free Bird for poultry.
There will also be an intense focus on Italian cold cuts and sandwiches with offerings like two-year-aged imported prosciutto, Calabrian salami, salami cotto, a fennel salami called finocchiona, and sweet and hot coppa as well as cheeses like scamorza and truffle-aged Gouda.
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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., Ste. 5, Miami. Opening date to be announced.