New Jersey native Joshua Pollack is doing his best to re-create his childhood food memories for a Denver audience. He started with Rosenberg's Bagels & Delicatessen in Five Points in 2014, creating bagels, smoked fish and other Jewish deli items that were part of his family's holiday traditions. Last spring he added Famous Original J's on the same block as Rosenberg's, this time channeling New York City pizzerias. And for the trifecta, Pollack is ready to launch Lou's Italian Specialties, an Italian market and sandwich shop that will open at 3357 Downing Street on December 11.
Lou's will be far more than a simple sandwich shop. While an impressive roster of hot and cold subs will be the stars of the menu, Pollack is building a menu of housemade pastas and sauces, deli salads, heat-and-eat meals, and meats and cheeses, both imported and from some of Colorado's top purveyors. In addition, the market will sell Italian pantry staples like olive oils, vinegars, dried pastas, spices, grains and canned and jarred goods.
"We've got this shared memory of what this thing is supposed to be," says Severino. Pollack and Somers have known each other since before they both moved west to attend the University of Colorado, and Somers and Severino worked together at two different establishments in New York and New Jersey.
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Even something as simple as iceberg lettuce on sandwiches is given thought. "The way the shaved lettuce holds the dressing is why it's shaved," the owner notes. "It's like mise en place — everything has its place."
Lou's is set up for both variety and volume; catering will be a big part of the business, and menu items have been designed with portability in mind (Pollack says he's tested sandwiches himself to see how they hold up to road trips). In fact, there's no seating inside the deli, so everything is takeout; come December 11, Lou's website will have online ordering so you'll be able to pick up your food quickly or have it delivered.
Pollack purchased the building where Lou's will open three years ago, knowing he'd turn it into a deli. It was vacant for years before that, hunkered on a triangular lot with views of 34th and Downing streets. Across the street, there's a Family Dollar store and a per-scoop Chinese restaurant. Pollack understands the working-class roots of the neighborhood, so he's offering sandwiches and other items at a variety of price points. Whether you opt for a classic Italian sub with inexpensive meats or shoot for high-end charcuterie, the portions are big and filling. Standard subs are built on two-foot loaves cut to small and large sizes, and there will also eventually be three-foot (and longer) subs available for parties.
Lou's will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Keep up with the Lou's news on Facebook and Instagram.