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Sandwiches for the people: Local shop with dive vibes delivers big on meaty concoctions

Sandwiches for the people: Local shop with dive vibes delivers big on meaty concoctions

Jack McLaughlin

In bold red letters, the phrase is painted onto one of the walls of Neighbor’s Deli, a small, tucked-away sandwich shop on the city’s northwest side: “Sandwiches for the people!”

Owner Jon Snyder tells me with a wry smile that this saying has become something like the motto of his quaint, approachable eatery, and it’s not hard to see why.

The first place this is apparent? Their sandwiches, of course.


Nearly everything served from Neighbor’s voluminous all-sandwich menu (which fills up exactly seven large, black chalkboards inside the store) is absolutely loaded with meat. 

From the Neighbor’s Dip, with mountains of roast beef and melty provolone, to the indulgent Chicken Parm Panini or the classic Country Club, Snyder doesn’t shy away from piling on the protein.

But it isn’t just quantity, it’s quality that also sets the spot apart.

“I truly want to make the best sandwiches I can, so I take extra time and care,” he said. “Side-by-side with other sandwich shops, there’s no comparison.”

And while Snyder’s massive, meaty creations may appear chaotic or slapdash to some, there’s a method behind his madness.

“My stuff might look thrown together, but everything is by design,” he said. “If I make a breakfast sandwich and pop an egg yolk after it’s on top so it runs through the bacon, that’s what I’ve found is the best way to do it.”

And just like the food, his quirky but absolutely-worth-the-wait approach, is the same experience you’ll get when dining in Neighbor’s Deli. 

With brightly-colored murals painted by former employees adorning several walls, and chalkboard menus clogging up others, Neighbor’s feels welcoming, cozy, and lived-in.

Snyder, however, does have his own terminology for it. “It’ll say it, sure. It’s a dive,” he said with a laugh.

Photo by Ally Schnaidt

And when the native Ohioan is not in the back of the house over the flattop, he’s always ready to talk about anything Columbus, from Buckeye football to the city’s indie music scene.

“I’m a punk rock guy. In that scene things were sort of DIY, and we embraced what wasn’t perfect,” Snyder said. “Like the pops and scratches when you play a vinyl record, those imperfections are sometimes the best part. That’s what I’m aiming for.”

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