Vino's Pizzeria and Brew Pub is just like home for me, except they don't let me watch television in my underwear or play the Bangles' "Eternal Flame" on repeat at full volume for hours on end. Despite those shortcomings, the place offers me a regular respite from the cares of the world. I've even got my favorite table just inside the room where all the brewing equipment sits, which allows me to get a full dose of my two favorite smells: pizza cooking and beer being brewed. I've written at some length about brewmaster Josiah Moody, and while it's his inventive and delicious craft brews that hold the top place in my heart, there's one more menu item that keeps me coming back to 7th and Chester again and again: the Muffaletta.
Now for you traditionalists out there — and recent posts have led me to believe that there might be one or two of you in the reading audience — this muffaletta isn't quite what you'd find on a New Orleans menu. Instead of the traditional mortadella, salami, and ham, Vino's works with what they have and layers on ham, turkey, and pepperoni. That last bit is really my favorite touch, because it provides all the salty oiliness that salami would normally give the sandwich while adding a peppery kick as well as a flavor that reminds the diner that they are, indeed, at a pizza joint. Toasted mozzarella and the necessary olive salad finish the sandwich off, and it is served in quarter, half, and whole portions — so there are definitely some nods to tradition at work here. The resulting sandwich is a thing of beauty, with crusty bread, luscious cheese, and a load of different meats that all work together to deliver bite after bite of sandwich perfection.
At a place where a hungry soul can get cheap, delicious pizza by the slice, this excellent sandwich might get overlooked. But the next time you've a hankering for a great craft beer, use a pint of your favorite to wash one of these tasty sandwiches down. Then drink another just because.