Lanza Brothers

Apr 5, 2015

IMG_7855It was the time of morning when commuters fill every nook and cranny of our freeways, so we took the back streets from South Pasadena to downtown where we still share a studio with fellow photographers at Figueroa and 23rd Streets. We drove down Fremont Avenue, turning right onto West Mission Road that merges into Valley Boulevard then becomes North Main. The area becomes increasingly industrial and just before bumping jarringly over the tracks (if one doesn’t slow to a granny crawl) is Taylor Junction. Just opposite Lamar Street—which leads to San Antonio Winery, the only winery out of a hundred along the L.A. River to survive Prohibition—is what a friend of ours calls the place to get the best submarine sandwich, ever.

Lanza Brothers Market. According to the signs, the “brothers” have been making famous sandwiches since 1926.

Being fans of the sub sandwich, we had nostalgic visions from our childhood of Italian delis every half a mile (exaggerating) in Fairfield County, Connecticut, let alone the rich choices in New York City, including the traditional Jewish delis. It’s deli heaven.

In the world in which we grew up, a sub sandwich meant a sandwich with Italian meats and cheese. So, when our friend waxed on about Lanza’s Italian sandwich and we caught it out of the corner of our eye as we sped past on our back-way downtown, we knew we had to stop on our return route.

The store is a gem. We love this sort of spot—basic, working out of cardboard boxes; campy with crazy-large and -shaped bottles of wine and liquor; handwritten signs; a deli case that is so old and worn that it’s difficult to see the meat; and a Dean Martin doll lording over the place.














We ordered the sub with everything (mayo, mustard, tomatoes, lettuce, onions and pickles), then a roast beef with only mayonnaise and lettuce because we like our beef simple.




Rolls seemed to be the bread of choice and both sandwiches were made quickly, though this may have been because it was only 10 a.m.

Our judgment? The roast beef sandwich was fine, but we are extremely picky about our roast and it wasn’t pink enough or sliced thin enough for our liking.

Lanza’s Italian sandwich? The sub is very, very good—and even more so because a full size costs only $5.50. No vinegar and olive oil are added, which we consider rather mandatory, but Lanza gets points for including capocollo along with the usual ham, mortadella, and Italian salami. The roll is crunchy on the outside, light and airy on the inside. Next time we’ll remember to request some yellow pepper chilies (spicy or mild available). When we returned home, we added a splash of red wine vinegar, a dribble of olive oil, and a few cranks of fresh pepper. A very flavorful sandwich.




Lanza Brothers Market, 1803 N. Main St., L.A. 90031. Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, 8:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Tel.: 1.323.225.8977.



The bus driver stopped to pick up a sandwich…



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