East Coast style sandwich from Wario’s Beef & Pork in Columbus (photo courtesy of Have Heart Media)
Food + Drink

Wario’s Beef & Pork, Columbus

This walk-up spot in our capital city’s Arena District serves up hulking, East Coast-style sandwiches.

After opening in the late fall of 2020, the little sandwich window in Columbus’ Arena District quickly became a word-of-mouth hit, spawning a legion of dedicated fans and earning Wario’s Beef & Pork accolades as one of the city’s best new food spots.

Chef Stephan Madias, who previously cooked in Columbus restaurants such as The Crest and the bygone Market Italian Village, helms Wario’s Beef & Pork (a name inspired by the antagonist from Nintendo’s Mario Brothers video game series). When the walk-up window, which formerly housed another sandwich joint, became available, Madias and a business partner quickly formulated their idea.

Madias’ care and attention to ingredients is what sets Wario’s Beef & Pork apart from the typical sandwich shop. The kitchen crafts almost everything from scratch, from sauces to smoked and cured meats to meatballs to the zesty giardiniera. The sandwich bread, or “stick,” is baked locally to Madias’ specifications by Matija Breads.

“Everything on every sandwich is appetizing to eat just how it is,” he says.

Wario’s Beef & Pork focuses its menu on five sandwiches: The Steak, a nod to classic Philly cheesesteaks; The Cold Cut; The Roasted Pork (another Philly signature); The Chicken Cutlet; and The Vegetarian, filled with homemade falafel. Every Sunday, the shop features a meatball sandwich, and other weekly specials — all sure-fire sellouts — have ranged from bodega breakfast sandwiches to Italian beef to pastrami to shawarma.

Newcomers are best advised to order The Steak “Wario’s Way.” This takes the already-huge sandwich with eight ounces of shaved ribeye, house-made cheese whiz and grilled onions, and then adds provolone and white American cheese on a semolina-seeded roll. The monster creation is enough to feed two people.

Madias takes pride in The Cold Cut sandwich as well. The colorful meal combines three types of meat — rosemary ham, soppressata and hot coppa — with a picante provolone, house giardiniera, Wario sauce, tomato butter, shaved lettuce and onions on a semolina-seeded roll. The crisp giardiniera, lettuce and onions play nicely with the savory meats, cheese and sauces. Wario’s also features a side of house spuds: smashed and roasted potatoes fragrant with herbs and Parmesan cheese and served with a rich and sweet onion-based Wario sauce.

“It’s not your everyday sandwich place,” says Madias. “I would describe it as an East Coast-style sandwich shop, focusing on each ingredient as its own entity and finding a way to put them together.”  

111 W. Nationwide Blvd., Columbus 43215, 614/914-8338, wariosbeefandpork614.com