Spicy Salami on an Onion Bun

Spicy salami sandwich on an onion bun at Olliffe Summerhill.

I’ve been eating them since I was kid. My mother worked in an office building around the corner, and on PD days when I’d follow her to work to play with the photocopier, read comics or otherwise amuse myself. At lunch, I would be sent to get sandwiches at the butcher: Olliffe on Yonge in Summerhill. They were a treat. And they still are. They’re also a bit of a deal at $6.50 all in.

The Olliffe sandwich comes in three basic bread configurations: Kaiser, Challah or Onion bun. All are fresh, delivered that morning. Allotment of filling to bun, seems pretty random: a ham and cheese might be encased in any of three. The condiments are standard across all models: iceberg lettuce, thinly sliced tomatoes and Olliffe’s secret sauce. The secret sauce, like the Caramilk secret, is aptly named and not divulged. It’s most definitely a mustard-mayo concoction. I’m pretty sure it falls under the category of Dijonnaise, but it has a herbal kick, which I’m pretty sure is tarragon. The tarragon in the sauce gives it a Bearnaisey quality that pairs perfectly with Olliffe’s signature filling: rare grass-fed PEI roast beef. Actually, it goes with any and all the other fillings too.

If the buns and condiments are standard, the filling are not necessarily. The Olliffe sandwich is a butcher shop sandwich, and what goes into them is what’s around the shop that day. There is usually roast beef, turkey breast, ham and cheese and (my favourite) spicy salami. Then, there could be anything else from sliced up chicken cutlets to cooked sausages. Even the spicy salami will change in the composition of the different dry cured sausages, my guess it depends on which ends got used up from the deli counter. It does always, however, include a moisturising slice (or two) or mortadella. And all the sandwiches are generously filled.

A caveat: the sandwiches at Olliffe are made every morning, and when they run out, they run out. For the widest selection go before 11:30. If you get there after 1pm, they might not have any left, or you might not have much choice. They are served with a napkin in a white paper bag. They have from scratch made soups and salads as well. And there is a counter with a few stools to sit at, if you want to eat in, but most take out.

Full disclosure: alhtough this piece was not commissioned, Olliffe is a Good Food Fighter: one of the businesses and organizations that supports Good Food Revolution.

Malcolm Jolley is a founding editor of Good Food Revolution and Executive Director of Good Food Media, the company that publishes it. Follow him on