A good pastrami sandwich is hard to find and worth searching out. Werner’s Specialty Foods on Johnson Drive, an old-world style German deli (formerly the Swedish Swanson’s), makes the best one I’ve sampled in town, and it’s only $3.89. Like all Werner’s deli sandwiches, the pastrami comes with whatever you want — choice of bread, choice of spreads and condiments, choice of cheese. But for a purist like me, the correct combination is: pastrami on rye with spicy mustard, hold the cheese, hold the tomato, lettuce, onion. You don’t want a bunch of hamburger toppings detracting from the smoky, spicy flavor of the pastrami, which is made from beef that has been brined, dried, seasoned with garlic, mustard seed and other spices, then smoked and finally steamed to render the connective tissue in the meat. The meat is then sliced thin and piled high on bread to make a classic American sandwich. The pastrami at Werner’s is a juicy, mild, beefy delight that tastes great on rye. If you’re not a purist, try it with Swiss on an onion bun for a kicky variation. The secret is out about Werner’s great deli meats, sausages and grilled brats, so you’ll want to try to avoid the lunch crush. At high noon, you’re unlikely to get in and out in 10 minutes. You can’t call ahead, but you can print an order form off its website and fax it in to have your order waiting when you get there.
Of course, the nice thing about waiting to place your order or waiting for your sandwich to be made is that Werner’s is a little grocery store as well as a deli, full of wonderful unusual European foods, from butter, to chocolates, to real fermented sauerkraut to take home for later.
Werner’s Specialty Foods
5736 Johnson Drive, Mission
Online: WernersWurst.com, Facebook
Fax for takeout orders (no phone orders accepted): 913-362-0085
Hours: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday
Parking: Free but limited
Don’t miss deal: Pastrami and cheese on rye, $3.89
Vegetarian options: Cheese sandwiches