Sandwich delis are popping up everywhere across Melbourne and beyond. So, what makes a good one?

Adam Demase thinks it’s all in the bread. The co-owner of 3 Salamis uses schiacciata, a Tuscan flatbread that is similar to focaccia, at his new sandwich deli.

It’s made daily by a nearby baker, who Demase will not reveal the name of, and according to him isn’t “doughy or overpowering … so you don’t just feel like you’re eating bread”.

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The 3 Salamis team cuts the schiacciata to order, toasts the bread and, once it’s nice and hot, adds the sandwich fillings so they all “melt into the bread and oil”.

There are 10 different sandwiches on offer. The namesake 3 Salamis has been a crowd favourite so far. It’s packed with the holy trinity of salami, prosciutto and mortadella, and has green olives, provolone piccante cheese, house-made marinated capsicums and a spicy chilli spread.

Cured meats are sliced to order and sourced from nearby Puopolo Artisan Salumi, which hand makes salami and air-dried meats using local ingredients. Customisation is no stress and you’re welcome to add (or remove) any house-made spreads including pistachio pesto, truffle honey and spicy eggplant, meats, toppings, cheeses or vegetables.

You’ll also find handmade arancini by Demase’s little brother who works across the street as head chef at Tutti, with either traditional bolognaise or vegetable fillings. To drink, there’s coffee, cold Italian drinks from San Pellegrino and Galvanina and freshly squeezed juices.

It’s no surprise that locals – and Melbourne sandwich fanatics – have been queuing for 3 Salamis since it opened in February. This isn’t Demase’s first hospo rodeo, after all. On the popular Essendon strip, he also owns Tutti Trattoria, 2 Fat Greeks and Neverland Gelato. In 3 Salamis, he’s joined by his sister Carla Myers. The siblings were often called “salamis” by their nonna when they had done something silly growing up. Demase and Myers make up two of the three “salamis” behind the deli – the third is close friend Mitch Kargas.

Together, the team has transformed the previous office space into an old-school Italian deli. They restored the 1920s facade and stained glass and gave the interiors classic Italian checkerboard green and white flooring. Inside there’s bench seating and loaded deli fridges filled with produce.

Chillies hang to dehydrate in the shopfront window. Once they are dried out, it’s a Demase family tradition to then fry them in a pan with olive oil so they “puff up like crispy chips”, then they’re best enjoyed with bread, cheese and salami. When the sun’s out, you can also pull up a seat out the front on the nature strip.

3 Salamis
15 Napier Street, Essendon
0428 459 136

Tue to Fri 7am–3pm
Sat & Sun 8am–3pm