Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca knows how to do a good sub – in more ways than one.

The popular pop-up Italian sandwich shop – which serves what head chef Josh Fry calls “Italian Macca’s” – ran out of the boarded-up worksite that’s now Poodle Bar & Bistro on Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, during Melbourne’s first lockdown.

It will soon take over the Poodle kitchen once more, while the double-decker venue takes a breather due to lockdown 2.0.

The hits are coming back – meaning cheesy, saucy rolls stuffed with fried bologna; meatball subs; and rich bone-marrow garlic bread ¬– alongside some new menu items.

“We’re going to offer basically a container of meatballs with some polenta as a meaty side to your sandwiches,” says Fry, who’s cooked in some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, including Andrew McConnell’s neighbouring wine bar Marion, and Cumulus Inc in Flinders Lane. “I guess [it’s] for if you didn’t want bread for once – [though] you might’ve come to the wrong shop.”

The meatballs are the same as the ones in the sub, but served with yellow polenta and topped with tomato sugo, parmesan and salsa verde. “I thought we might as well just do [meatballs] as an extra as well because people are always asking for extra meatballs,” says Fry.

There’ll be a few weekend sandwich specials too, such as tongue and tonnato (an Italian condiment made from tuna and mayonnaise).

“We take veal tongues and we braise them, slice them and then make them all crispy on one side, then serve that with a tuna mayonnaise and heaps of fried capers and a little bit of rocket, all on a Martin’s potato roll,” says Fry. “It’s pretty bloody delicious.”

The Poodle club sandwich – made with bread that’s brushed with chicken fat, toasted, then layered with crispy chicken skin, ham-hock terrine, iceberg, tomato and tarragon mayo – is also likely to make an appearance.

To share, there’s an antipasti box with olives, pickles, almonds, sardines, cured meats and Sardinian flatbread, or tiramisu for dessert.

Rocco’s Bologna Discoteca is popping up at 81–83 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy from Friday July 31 until the end of lockdown 2.0. Opening hours are Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 6pm. Order online or by phone (0435 236 115) for pick-up and delivery.

roccosbolognadiscoteca.com