The Twinbrook Deli Italian Cold Cut Sub
The Twinbrook Deli Italian cold cut: Best. Sub. Ever. Growing up in the D.C. suburbs, and even when I was only an hour away from both Baltimore and D.C., you’d think a good Italian cold cut sub would be easy to find. In fact, it’s not. I’m struggling with it here in central Illinois, now, too!
That’s not to say there aren’t lots of deli options around. There are. It’s just that none of them are amazing. Either the bread’s too dense, or the cold cuts aren’t very good, or…
Or, it’s because they’re not Twinbrook Deli.
I sometimes wonder if my snobbishness towards subs stems from being exposed to Twinbrook Deli, in Rockville, Md., at a very young age — and then all the way through my high school years — on a regular basis.
The Twinbrook Deli shop isn’t a fancy place. In fact, the Twinbrook Deli I knew growing up was more of a hole-in-the-wall. It felt a little like a bodega you’d find on the corner in Brooklyn, when to be honest, it was really a small space in an aging strip mall shopping center, about a 10 minutes’ drive from Rockville city center.
Note: I haven’t been to Twinbrook Deli, myself, in a few years, and apparently there’s been a renovation and an expansion…
And yet, regardless of the aesthetics of the shop, they make THE BEST Italian cold cut sub on the planet. Hands down.
Childhood friends of mine who’ve returned to the Rockville area to visit family, or for business, make it a specific point to stop in and grab a sub … even if it’s a little out of the way.
If friends know they’re going to swing by Twinbrook Deli, they’ll ask family members ahead of time whether they want any picked up and brought back. Even if it’s a plane ride away to get home.
My husband once stopped in Twinbrook Deli when he was headed towards the other side of Rockville, just because he knew I’d salivate over having an Italian cold cut. They were about to close, but he was able to grab one from the refrigerator chest just in time. Even not freshly made, they’re incredible. Incredible!
Friends of mine have pre-ordered Twinbrook Deli subs for a girls’ night in when out-of-town Rockville natives were visiting for an evening.
Patrons don’t just enjoy the subs privately, like one might do with a so-so sub from chain shop, they always share (with glee!!) on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat (you name it) just how excited they are to eat them. It makes those of us who’ve been without for a while, jealous.
(In the best way possible.)
What is it exactly that makes a Twinbrook Deli Italian cold cut sub so amazing?
My dad and I have gone round and round about this. It definitely has something to do with the bread, and with the oil and Italian dressing they use. Beyond that, it’s the ratio of meat to veggies to cheese to condiments.
But, mostly it’s the bread and the oil. For sure.
What makes the Twinbrook Deli Italian cold cut YOUR favorite?
Last Updated on May 18, 2021 by Liza Hawkins
Now I’m salivating here in northwest Florida for an Italian sub from Twinbrook Deli!!!
HA! It has that power, doesn’t it?
I live in Buffalo now and every time I come home, it’s one of the first places I have to go. Everything on it, and extra oil! Theres no place like it.
Some of my fellow Rockvillians might say Ollies is better but you and I both know TB Deli is hands down the best. Good review on my local beer/wine/Deli!
Also. Ollies doesn’t do subs anymore muahahaha
I’ve never tried an Ollie’s sub!
My family owned twinbrook Deli from 1968 and sold it in 2000. Glad to hear that they are still #1. We have lots of great memories and the best customers
That’s awesome, David! Very much beloved!
Yes they are. Because of u guys. We twinbrook is on the map haha. Hats off to u guys.
My boss is from new York. I brought one to work and he fell in love. Said that was one of the best subs he has had in a very long time. He even forced another doctor to eat it. Because he couldn’t believe how good it was. Of course the other doctor loved it as well.
What a cool story, Latoya!
Daniele (Miner) Vargas
HI DAVID!! Nice to see you’re still around…sort of! The deli is TWICE the size now (Mr Abe is now renting the old TV place next door) and the beer selection… THE BEER SELECTION is simply AMAZING now!! COME visit now…
twinbrook deli was the best n the 70;s, then ollies was the best until 2001.
My brother in laws brother, the late frank marchone, once owned the tb deli. Their fabulous sandwiches originated from Marchones italian deli in wheaton. I worked there in high school. New owners now but was in town a few months ago. Got an icc. Place still smells the same. Good memories
What a great story, Joanne!
in what year was that
in what year did frank marchone own twinbrook deli??????
I believe Frank would have been too young to have owned it before us and I’m pretty sure he didn’t own it after us.
Remember Mom taking us up there each week to see Dad and fold pizza boxes in the back room when we were little kids?
You’re thinking of Marchone’s Deli in Wheaton…they also make great subs. But TB still wins.
I grew up within walking distance of the deli. I moved away about 13 years ago…but can’t find anything close to it. Thankfully my mom still lives there…when I visit that’s my excuse to get the Italian cold cut…with extra hots,and vinegar and oil. The best! Ollies was great…but since it changed hands…not even close.
I’ve tried so many subs from so many delis since moving away from Rockville, and nothing compares!
Been coming here for years and never had a bad cold cut. Recently married to a true Irish lady, who’s had a few cold cuts from around the world, says these were the best she’s had. Dnt know if it’s the ingredients or the pride of the shop but it deff holds a spot in my heart.
There’s nothing fancy about the subs, and yet they’re so strikingly amazing compared to any other sub I’ve tried! I can’t even replicate it at home… (And, I’ve tried!)
Loyal TB Deli Fan
My Dad “discovered” Twinbrook Deli when my family and I moved to Wheaton, MD in the mid 70’s and I have been going there for those damn delicious subs ever since. They have not changed, even when the ownership did. The new owners were wise enough to keep making them the same wae and so I continue to be a loyal customer. You’ve never had a cold cut sub until you’e had one from Twinbrook Deli
Super smart on their part to keep the subs unchanged. It’s a Twinbrook/Rockville institution!
I have been married to a Philadelphian for ten years and if there is anything I have learned about a proper sub (*ahem* hoagie) is that amoroso bread is the best vehicle for a precious cargo of meats and cheeses and Twinbrook Deli does it right. This place has been Fletcher Approved! (that’s the husband)
HA! Yes, or “grinder” as my Connecticut-raised grandmother would say.
Marchones in Wheaton is now Fillipos. Same owner, new name. He’s been there for decades and wanted his name on his business. Great italien cold cut subs (and meatball). I think it is the best. Am excited to try Twinbrook Deli today!
Oooh – Jeff, you’ll have to report back after your experience! (Noted Fillipos nee Marchones the next time I’m in the area. Always up for a new food destination!)
So I went up and had my first Italian! It was delicious! Thanks for letting us know. I met another first timer who saw your article.
I ordered a large with everything, except only banana peppers. It came with Mayo as well as oil and vinegar. Comparing to Marchones/Fillipos, I would say they were equivalent in quality. TBs onions and toppings were tastier (next time, no mayo) but M/F use a sharp provolone which makes it stand out. I think they both use the same bread. It has the perfect texture. I read that Fillipos gets it from Philly. Anyway, it’s a draw! I’d eat both 😉
Jeff – thanks for coming back to share your “first timer” experience!!! It’s funny, you’re not the only one who sneered at the mayo (which I happen to love, especially the flavor meld with the other dressing/oil). A good friend of mine who grew up working at a deli near Baltimore was like, “Is that…mayo? Nope.” HA! But, indeed. Delicious and worth it anyway. Too funny that someone else was there who’d read this article, too!
I’d never sneer at Mayo! It made this sandwich a little too rich.
Haha – okay “sneer” wasn’t the right word. My friend definitely “sneered” — he’s not a fan of mayo on the sub. I could see how it adds a layer of richness though, and for me it wasn’t too much.
I worked at TBD from 1999 to 2002 and have kept the secrets! Still go there multiple times every time I’m back in town (and I live in South Korea now). The bread is special. The sauce is special. The tuna and chicken salad recipes are also special. The slicer settings are perfect. It’s all a combination of magic. Love this place!
“It’s all a combination of magic.” <-- Described perfectly. Yum!
We rediscovered Twinbrook Deli from my youth after trying to find a somewhat local cold cut sub comparable to Atlantic City’s White House Subs. TBD fits the bill perfectly. Hey family, guess what’s for dinner! Worth the drive? YUM YUM
Definitely worth the drive if you have the time!!! Your family’s in for a treat!
Sheryl Turgeon (Mason)
grew up right behind the deli I still will drive the hour from my house to get one!
Sheryl Turgeon (Mason)
Amazing subs I grew upright behind the deli. I will make the 50 mile trek now and again for a sub!
It’s SO worth it!
I used to get the Italian sub at Twinbrook Deli when I grew up in the neighborhood. You are spot on! The oils and flavor would blend right into the bread making it that much better. Thanks for the memories!
You’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by!
Live right down the street from Twinbrook Deli… It’s the sauce…..
Daniele (Miner) Vargas
Amen John!! It’s a combo of the sauce and the bread!!
In the late 80s / early 90s, we used to “illegally” skip out of Rockville High to make lunch runs to get Twinbrook Deli subs. Teachers would even give us their orders! Worth getting busted over!
I went to Rockville HS, too — and I definitely remember some offsite lunch runs to Twinbrook Deli!
I currently live right across the street from Rockville HS. Twin room deli is my favorite lunch spot. Sometimes I walk my dog all the way over to that shopping center just so I can get a sandwich. If I could make one suggestion though: I used to order the Italian cold cut just as your article suggests but that was only because I had yet to discover the Cajun Turkey! Mind blowing sandwich especially if you enjoy a little spice. I think I’m going to head over there right now!
Oooh – thanks for the tip, Mike! I’ll have to try that turkey!
Been eating these great subs since I was a kid.Grew up on Veirs Mill Rd. Still live in the area and my kids love them too. Did I forget to say I will soon turn 60 and still enjoy them to this day. The pizza is mighty tastiest too.
Awesome! I grew up off Aspen Hill, so not far!
Grew up in Twinbrook with Deli subs and G.J.’s pizza. The best of both! When my brother-in-law was oversea’s in the Air Force we overnighted him one for a special surprise!
What a great story, Nan! As a kid I didn’t like G.J.’s pizza (a travesty, I know), so I need to retry as an adult!
Spot on! I have yet to have an Italian sandwich as good… it is the gold standard.. what kind of bread is it?! Does anyone know? Seems like if you can solve that piece, the rest falls into place…
Someone mentioned the bread here, or over on the Facebook post. It’s definitely something special!
We eat at Twinbrook Deli at least once a week. The main problem is that I now have to avoid eating at all other sub shops, because they are always a disappointment in comparison.
That’s a good/bad problem to have, Frank!
Grew up in Twinbrook/Rockville. Went to RM, but went to TBD a lot but I’m a creature of habit and my first sub there was a cheese sub with the works! I’ll never forget, i was 11 y/o with my best friend Noah McWilliams! Great times and great sub! Family still gets them and tells me how great they are! Every time I’m in town, I get a sub!
What an awesome memory, George!
twinbrook deli is trash and the people that work there are the most disrespectful people and are racist I’ve lived in the area for 30 years so glad the previous owner Dave sold it he invented the sub . Now it’s not the same the pizza is disgusting the beer is warm and expensive
Anthony – your experience is vastly different than everyone else.
Yea I’m sure it’s different I’m a local and know everything about this area and I’m serious when it comes to my food and twinbrook deli fell off when Dave sold it and new owners dont make the sub the same marchones aka Filippo’s in Wheaton Santucci deli on university blvd and anglos on Georgia and norbeck have the best subs and pizza in the area hands down thanks for the reply have a great day
Another person mentioned Marchones/Filippo’s, too — I made a note to check that out next time I’m in MoCo!
Hi my name is josh Leonard and yes twinbrook is the best. I worked there out of high school.with Joanna and marni and Trish and Jeff it was always my fab and I miss the people I worked with I even married one of them me and Trish got married. So love you twinbrook deli!
What an awesome memory, Josh!!
My mom is from Rockville. We LOVE TB Deli! I live in southern Ohio now. A friend goes there for work and I have him bring me back a couple back in a cooler. Soooooooo good!
Im truely sorry to report to everyone, but the original twinbrook deli subs are no more. The cold cut that was tightly rolled with paper wrapping, and marked $5.95 with black crayon, has been gone for some time now. Several years ago the twinbrook deli was sold, and the new proprietor either refused to or has forgotten how to make the original twinbrook deli cold cut sub that we all grew up eating. Trust me when i tell you, the cold cut sub you would get there today, dosent even come close to the original. Back in the 80s & 90’s, hands down, that was the best cold cut sub in maryland.
Such a bummer! The OG Twinbrook Deli sub is something special, that’s for sure. When I last had one in the mid-20-teens, I remember enjoying it — can’t say with certainty it was *as* good as the original in the ’80s and ’90s, though.