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LA-based deli Heroic Italian opens pop-up in Castro with delicious sandwiches and salads

Photo courtesy of Heroic Italian
By Jay Barmann - Published on January 15, 2021.

Los Angeles-based sandwich outfit Heroic Italian recently got its feet wet in the Bay Area, launching a pop-up in mid-December inside wine and spirits shop Swirl on Castro (572 Castro Street). With online ordering available, it's a quick and delicious lunch or dinner option — and if you pick it up yourself rather than opting for DoorDash delivery, you can snag a bottle of wine too.

The special of the house at Heroic Italian is called the OMG, and it's a Italian-sub-esque combination of prosciutto, salami, capocollo, mortadella, porchetta, smoked mozzarella, artichokes, tomatoes, housemade giardiniera, mustard, and black truffle mayo. Having sampled this, I can attest it is a delicious, beautifully crafted sandwich — bolstered by a fantastic fresh roll from SoMa-based Montesacro Pinseria. Also the lightly pickled tomato and giardinera (pickled vegetables) really put it over the top.

For warm sandwiches, there are two options with rotisserie chicken, including the the Genoa (with basil pesto and roasted tomato).

There are also some great salads, including the roasted-vegetable-heavy Mount Etna, and two vegetarian sandwiches — the Marinetti, with imported Bufala mozzarella, avocado, roasted tomato, pesto, and aged balsamic glaze; and the Vegan, with avocado, roasted tomato, carmelized onion, vegan pesto, and house-made giardinera.

It's not a cheap sandwich, at $15-16. And contrary to some of the marketing photos, though, the OMG sandwich is not enormous — but it's really just the right size. As owner David Bullitt told Eater last month,  But, he adds, the sandwiches are "lovingly cared for and lovingly crafted," and you "won't walk away bloated."

Heroic Italian began with a location in Santa Monica that was actually opened by Bullitt's brother, Jeffrey Merrihue. Both Bullitt and Merrihue were former tech guys in Silicon Valley, and SF-based Bullitt decided last year that he wanted to follow his brother into the restaurant business, and thus the pop-up was born. He quickly found a partner in Swirl owner Sabeen Minns, and for the time being, the business will be operating out of Swirl's retail shop — where the popular wine bar has sat dormant since March 2020.

Online orders can be ready in about 20 minutes, or can be scheduled in advance, and DoorDash delivery is an option as well. 

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