Italian sandwiches are really having a moment these days (thanks, social media!) so it seems more than fitting that Vancouver is about to have a new restaurant that specializes in just that.
The official opening day is November 6, though if you happen to pop by in the days ahead, you may catch the new crew in "soft open" mode.
Jo's is a family business that launched a deli shop in Chilliwack in 2018, followed by one in Vancouver in Kitsilano in early 2021.
Now Jo's kids are having their turn with the Mangia's Sandwiches concept, specifically son Kirk Bergez, who spoke with V.I.A. about the new deli-style shop.
Bergez, who oversees operations of the two Jo's locations as well as Mangia's now, explains that in some ways, the new restaurant is similar to its older siblings in that it is launching with a small menu of sandwiches with a selection of packaged foods like chips and cookies, as well as cold drinks, on the side.
However, Mangia's is taking the family brand in a slightly new direction, because the sandwich shop is doing sub-style sandwiches, aka hoagies.
The menu "skews a little more Italian-American," describes Bergez. To that end, guests can choose from a handful of deli sandwiches like an Italian cold-cut combo, roast beef, turkey, or veggie, as well as a hot meatball sandwich. The cold sandwiches come "classic" style, with shredded lettuce, tomato slices, thin shaved onion, vinaigrette, and salt and pepper, however you can customize as you wish from the classic toppings as well as items like roasted peppers or mushrooms. You can also opt to add-on pesto or a fiery spicy sauce for a small additional charge.
The roast beef is roasted daily in-house, and they also make the plump, aromatic meatballs that simmer in red sauce before they're deployed on a hoagie bun.
All of the meats and cheese are sliced to order, right in front of customers. They "use all the same quality ingredients," at Mangia's as at Jo's, notes Bergez.
Having the meats sliced as each sandwich is made not only ensures freshness, but also lets Mangia's and its staff lean into a core value of the concept, which is offering a community-focused space.
Bergez says that a guiding force in choosing where Mangia's would reside was that they "wanted a location with a really good community feel."
So far, in the weeks and days ahead of the grand opening, Bergez says people have been curious and excited about the shop and "very welcoming."
Focusing on sandwiches was a clear-cut way for Mangia's to "fill a bit of a void," adds Bergez, who says that Vancouver doesn't have quite as many Italian delis as other big cities, including Toronto, do.
With the popularity of fast casual concepts and room for a "more familiar food" like sandwiches, Bergez hopes Mangia's is positioned to serve locals who want something fast, fresh, and made to order with high-quality ingredients, whether it's on the way home in the evening or for a workday lunch.
Mangia's will be open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday.
Follow @mangiassandwiches on Instagram.
Video: Searching for the best sandwiches in Vancouver - Mangia's
@forkingawesomevia My search for the best sandwiches in Vancouver led me to @Mangia’s Sandwiches for a sneak peek before they open on Nov 6. This new sandwich shop is related to the popular Jo’s Italian Deli. Part 2 in my Best Vancouver Sandwiches series; find Part 1 on my profile! #forkingawesome #vancouverbc #sandwiches #vancouverfoodie 🎙️@LindsayWR ♬ Food - Andy Ms
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This article was originally published on September 22, 2023, and has since been updated