When Breno Donatti took over the almost century-old Winfield Street Italian Deli back in 2015, one of his goals was to infuse some new school life into the menu while upholding some of the delis traditional recipes and values. What Donatti has excelled at since opening is using his background in fine dining as both an owner and a general manager to improve the business. He uses fresh, local ingredients from nearby farms whenever possible. He and his cooks have tinkered with recipes of deli classics, so you know after your first bite, that you’re not eating a bland, ordinary sandwich.
Since taking over the original East Norwalk location, Donatti has expanded the Winfield Street brand to include Winfield Street Coffee—specializing in coffee and pastry—at the Croton-Harmon Train Station and the Westport Train Station. Then, late in 2016 he bought the former Art’s Delicatessen at 13 Post Road West, a full-service deli and coffee shop.
Coffee, you say? Donatti has also put a real focus on making a damn fine cup of coffee; fancy La Marzocco espresso machines, Counter Culture Coffee, and the hiring of coffee director/guru Konstantin Suvorov combine for awesome caffeinated creations.
Coffee is great, and it had to be mentioned…but I’m here to talk sandwiches!
I stopped by the Westport location to try a dozen-plus sandwiches. The tough part? Narrowing the choices down to six! Really, you can’t go wrong at Winfield Street, but here’s what I came up with.
(Bacon, sausage, two eggs, cheese, and home fries on a hard roll)
The morning after that drunken night out or a day during a tough work week calls for a cure that’s meaty, adequately greasy, slightly messy, and carb-ridden. This breakfast sandwich is all that. Maybe don’t skip your evening gym session when you decide to crush a Hungry Man.
Egg in a Hole
(Toasted/griddled Italian bread, two eggs, thick bacon, sriracha, cheddar)
If you’ve ever had a “toad in the hole,” “eggs in the basket,” or whatever it is you call it, this is a play on that. The top griddled layer of the sandwich houses the egg, and the rest is melted together in the middle like a grilled cheese. The sriracha is a particularly nice burst of flavor and spice. Clearly, we’re going for healthy choices with this list.
Sliced Chicken Cutlet
(With Parma prosciutto, smoked mozzarella, and roasted red pepper vinaigrette on a pressed hard roll)
This crispy, not-too-bready, pressed sandwich was one I may not have ordinarily ordered but I was into it after just one bite. The thick, white meat chicken cutlet was juicy and properly seasoned. I especially liked the smoky taste that came through in the mozzarella that Winfield Deli smokes in-house. The roasted red pepper sauce was a nice touch that pays tribute to a well-known local chef, Pietro Scotti. It’s his recipe from when he owned the original Winfield Street Deli.
(Garlic, basil, and prosciutto stuffed pork loin, and roasted garlic mayo on panini-pressed bread)
Sorry, Connecticut, but good porchetta sandwiches aren’t easy to come by unless you cross state lines to go to Tarry Market. But wait! Winfield’s panini version is worthy, although I could’ve used a touch more of the garlic mayo. More garlic with pork is never bad, and vampires are a real problem in 2018. I also loved the punch of basil. Someone saw one of my Winfield posts on Instagram and said that he gets it in the morning with an egg on it. Totally doing that next time!
Italian “Art’s” Combo
(Soppressata, ham, salami, mortadella, hot capicola, prosciutto, provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, EVOO, red wine vinegar)
This was a tough one. It was either this or the Reuben (which I loved, btw), but an Italian deli should have a good Italian combo and this deli does. Plot twist! It’s the same combo that was made by the former occupants, so Breno decided to keep it on the menu because it has a local following. I dig that. And I dig the six different meats. I add mayo to mine (don’t hate) with the dressing, just because I can. Try it sometime.
(Mozzarella and marinara on a toasted Cassone wedge)
Normally, chicken parm sandwiches aren’t good. They’re under seasoned, the chicken is dry and tough, and places think the sauce will hide all those mistakes. Well, this chicken parm sandwich was quite the discovery; tender chicken cutlets, homemade red sauce, and just enough mozzarella perfectly married on partially crispy, still somewhat soft and chewy bread. This is my favorite chicken parm sandwich in the area, and it’s not even close.
Winfield Street Italian Deli
13 Post Road West; Westport
(203) 557-6540; https://winfielddeli.com/