Jeff Mauro's Favorite Sandwich Shops

The Kitchen cohost tells us where he gets his fix when he’s on the road.

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When Jeff Mauro started out at Food Network, he went by the moniker Sandwich King, and sandwiches remain one of his favorite foods to make — and eat. These days his focus is on Italian beef sandwiches, which he ships through his company Mauro Provisions. But Jeff has some other sandwich obsessions, too: No matter where he travels for work or for fun, he always leaves time to sample the best sub, hoagie or hero in town. Here are some that he can’t resist.

Someone passionately recommended this shop’s roast pork sandwich to Jeff, and now he’s sold. It’s shaved pork, broccoli rabe and provolone stuffed inside a crusty roll. "The hullabaloo is warranted," he says.

The pastrami on rye here is Jeff’s favorite sandwich on the planet. It’s piled with housemade smoky pastrami, and the rye is a perfect balance of soft and crusty. "Add a schmear of deli mustard and, boom, sandwich nirvana is achieved," he says.

Jeff has been asked "Is a hot dog a sandwich?" more than most people have. And for this reason, he loves chef Clay Conley’s hot dog panini, made with sauerkraut, mustard, chili and gruyere. "It’s unbelievably delicious...and undeniably a sandwich."

The Italian sub at this hometown spot is "the perfect ratio of Italian meats, fresh
bread, hot giardiniera and iceberg lettuce," Jeff says. The owner, George Nottoli, was "born to make subs."

There’s always a line streaming out of this place, because the hot chicken sandwich is a must-try. The first time Jeff ordered it, he had it as the side to a platter of bone-in hot chicken. "That’s the pro move," he jokes. "A fried chicken sandwich with your fried chicken."

This shop’s namesake, Hank, is from Jeff’s Chicago neighborhood, and Jeff claims that Hank makes "the best Italian beef on the East Coast." He orders his sweet and hot, and dipped.

Jeff has filmed The Kitchen in Montclair since the show started, so he has had plenty of chances to hit Belgiovine’s for a G2 sub: a chicken cutlet topped with long hots, soppressata, eggplant, asiago and arugula. He asks for extra peppers and a couple glugs of vinegar.

As a student at Bradley University, Jeff would go here for beers and a giant king tenderloin sandwich. The meat-to-bread ratio on this Midwest delicacy is preposterous: "The pork is the size of a hubcap while the bun is normal-size. It’s the exact thing my college body required." 309-686-9895

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