Word about town was Di Rienzo's (111 Beech Street, Ottawa) has the best sandwiches in Ottawa. Local Ottawa media personalities John Hua & Rita Celli as well as several local restaurant books have recommended Di Rienzo's as one of Ottawa's best bets.
I looked up the address on Google maps and had a couple of ways to go get their via OC Transpo. Nestled near Dow's Lake, in little Italy this place is great to take children exploring. I engaged my inner child by first taking OC Transpo's Route 95 westward from downtown along The Transitway to Bayview Station. At Bayview Station I transferred to OC Transpo's O-Train that runs from Bayview Station to Greenboro Station via Carleton University. On the O-Train I took it south one stop to Carling Station. What kid doesn't like a bus ride followed by a Train ride while on adventure?
At Carling Avenue, I walked westward a block to Preston Street and then north on Preston. If you continued south you would be into the National Capital Commission's Commissioner's Park near the Dow's Lake Pavillion and a great walking area especially during Ottawa's Tulip Festival in May. Throughout the summer this area is great for picnicing or perhaps eating a sandwich from Di Rienzo's. But this not being May or the summer I skipped this part as the temperature was hovering around freezing.
Northward on Preston I walked through Little Italy. Surprisingly though one of the first places I passed by was a "Turkish Restaurant". Really, this is "Little Italy?" But the rest of the street seemed pretty Italian with restuarants and local shops nearby.
I turned left on Beech Street into a residential neighbourhood and over the bridge over the railway tracks where I had just been whizzing by moments ago on the O-Train. On the corner of Beech & Champagne sit's DiRienzos. The store appears to have been renovated into a semi detached house from the late 1940s or 1950s. I ventured inside to check it out.
The inside of DiRenzo's is a two aisle grocery store with the main attraction being the sliced meat counter with two employees warmly greeting you. The numbered menu of sandwiches is above their heads with what they offer. But they will, apparently, gladly customize your sandwich anyway you wish. The two employees warmly welcomed the lady in front of me in Italian, so they do recognize repeat customers but the same warm smiling service is always offerred. The line moves steadily with the two employees making your sandwich and a third employee taking payment.
I eventually got to the front of the line and placed my order.
The Order: Quantity 1 #7 Turkey Sandwich (with lettuce, tomato, and cheese on a freshly baked hero).
The sandwich was quickley prepared and I paid. The only issue I had was on the menu, there is no pricing. But apparently this is easily overcome as all sandwiches are $5.00 each including taxes. Not bad for a freshly made sandwich considering Subway makes a footlong Cold Cut Combo for $5.25 plus tax.
The other downfall of this place is the confined space it is in which doesn't provide any seating. But apparently during the summer months Ev Tremblay Park, across the street from Di Rienzo's, is a good place to take your sandwich to enjoy. Again, this being December, I skipped this option and decided to head back towards the train with my sandwich in hand.
On the way back to the train I crossed over the Beech Street bridge and then turned right onto the pedestrian pathway running parrallel to the tracks. This is a picturesque little path with trees that hang over the pat with the running northward and southward from Beech Street parrallel to the tracks. As I walked along the path I opened up the sandwich.
The first bite was beautiful. It tasted like a freshly prepared sandwich should. It brought back memories of the 101 Deli from my time in the Rockaways of New York City. The kaiser bun like tasting bread was delicious. The turkey was freshly sliced and the lettuce and tomato did what they were supposed to, be there but not get in the way of the fresh turkey and bread. It was a perfect sandwich to a good day.
Overall, Di Rienzo's is an old school style Italian Deli. You come for the good food and good service at excellent prices. This is what make's it Ottawa favourite place to grab a sandwich to eat.
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