When you walk into John Fresco’s deli looking for some nice feta cheese or a bottle of Kalamata extra virgin olive oil, direct from Italy, it is possible you’ll leave with an Italian special, a sandwich with butter and mustard on which is layered calabrese salami, hot capocollo, spicy portadella, onions, banana pepper, la bomba sauce and egg plant. The smell of it alone will convince you need one. And hands down, it’s likely the best tasting sandwich you’ll get in Thunder Bay.
Much of what John stocks is directly from Italy at the best prices in town. He has the best in cold cuts, cheese, olive oils, specialty canned tomatoes, pastas, anti pasto, and much more.
“I’m always on the computer searching for new products, new items,” says John, who turns to break into conversation with one of his many regulars. While making sandwiches for a couple new guys who work in Calgary, he doesn’t hesitate to get to know them.
John’s lived in the area since his family moved from Italy in 1957. Formerly working at the mill, he took time out during a strike to rethink his path. He analyzed the market and decided to open a shop and he became a real community guy, even delivering orders for the elderly who have trouble leaving home.
And for customer appreciation day during the annual street fair, he sells his signature Italian sandwiches fully loaded for only $5.75. “Last year we couldn’t keep up,” he laughs.