The Sarge Sandwich at Junior's includes house-smoked pastrami served with Gulden's deli mustard on fresh-baked sourdough rye. Pro-tip: order double meat for an extra $5.

Junior’s NYC Deli

Ghost kitchen adds deli experience to Ballantyne pizzeria

Photos and text by Jessica Gaddy, Shrimp & Grisettes

Libretto’s Pizzeria in Ballantyne Commons East has a proverbial bun in the oven called Junior’s NYC Deli. The ghost kitchen inside Libretto’s Pizzeria has won praises from locals and the Charlotte foodie scene since opening in September 2021.

Mike Libretto grew up in New York City, surrounded by great pizza and giant subs. After operating Libretto’s Pizzeria in Manhattan for many years, Libretto moved to Charlotte. He decided that his friends and the Queen City needed “proper NY-style pizza,” so he opened shop in Uptown at the Epicentre in 2008.

Thirteen years and a pandemic later, he progressed from New York-style pizzas to New York-style sandwiches to offer more to his customers and keep the doors open. Libretto carefully crafted the hot and cold sandwiches alongside his brother Marc.

Sandwich sampling (clockwise from left): World's Best, Sarge, The Appolonia and Chopped Cheese.

Also, Mike is not officially named a Jr., yet his pop called him Junior as a kid, and Mike thought it fitted the new sandwich shop. With a list of sandwiches and a great name, Junior’s NYC Deli was born.

Junior’s has cultivated a following with its pastrami Reuben and its chopped cheese sandwich. Those may be the top choices by the regulars, but make no mistake, the menu is massive, offering over 20 unique sandwiches. Libretto ensured favorites like the French dip, fried chicken sandwich and Philly cheesesteak had their place on the menu to mix in familiarity among the lesser-known New York-style subs.

Newcomers are welcome at Junior’s and may be inspired to give something new a try. The Appolonia features smoked turkey with sliced apples and fig preserves, and the World’s Best Sandwich has thinly sliced prosciutto, fresh mozzarella and pickled red onion.

No matter the choice, every sandwich has a house-made ingredient, whether it’s the bread, sauce or meat.