Two graphic designers and a coffee roaster walk into a (sandwich) bar – and decide to stray from the ubiquitous, minimalist industrial-meets-Scandi cafe aesthetic. So goes the story of Pinco, a distinctive sandwich deli on Glen Osmond Road.

By joining creative forces, Elijah Makris and Saba Maghsoudi (co-owners of 2049), Ben Pankhurst (owner of Willow Bend Coffee) made a lasting impression on the east coast’s exploding sandwich shop scene. They have merged food, art and design into one slick space more reminiscent of an art gallery than your average lunch-hour pit stop.

Instead of heavy, maximalist sandwiches, chef Jarrah Gardener (ex-The Scenic Hotel) created a menu of eight classic sandwiches and focaccias that are big on freshness. Foccacia flavourings run the gamut from simple (think prosciutto and pickled radicchio; and a ham, mozzarella and Nap sauce combo) to more layered (think pastrami with piccalilli, pickled onion, dill pickles, Swiss cheese and a secret-recipe “burger sauce”).

The focaccias take inspiration from Gardener’s travels to Italy. Moving from the top to the toe of the boot – Venice down to Sicily – he found that the best sandwiches were the most simple ones: a generous portion of meat, quality cheese, a condiment and, say, some basil. He’s tried to replicate that approach at Pinco, starting with high-quality ingredients. That means mortadella, prosciutto, salami, ham and pastrami – stuffed into fluffy focaccia, toasted sandwiches and fresh baguettes – alongside radicchio agrodolce, marinated vegetables, fior di latte and more.

Fillings come from Barossa Fine Foods and Schinella’s, which is also supplying the focaccia, and the sourdough is from Spectrum Bakery. There are also pastries by Prove Patisserie, zeppole (fried dough balls) from Schinella’s, and coffee by Willow Bend.

While the menu is all about simplicity, the “retro future” interior is decidedly not. It boldly combines Italian stone, plywood, stainless steel and retro Scarpa chairs. It’s an intentional yet wacky backdrop to the lip-smacking lunch-hour offerings.

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Updated: July 31st, 2023

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