27 September, 2020, 10:39

7 Killer Spots For A Pastrami Sandwich in Tucson

It recently came to my attention that I didn’t know pastrami as well as I thought. I’ve eaten plenty of it. I might have been able to allude to a few good and logical reasons of what makes pastrami pastrami and why it’s not corned beef, but I’d only have been fooling myself and whoever I was talking to.

Pastrami isn’t beef simply brined, cooked and sliced – that much I knew. It’s brined, dried, rubbed, smoked, boiled, and hopefully steamed. As for the sandwich, being that it originated in a kosher butcher shop, it wasn’t served with cheese – just pastrami on rye, sometimes with mustard and a pickle. (For a great primer on how New York City’s Katz’s Deli makes their pastrami, check out this article.)

But I’m not here to lecture you. I just want to show you where to find some of the best pastrami sandwiches in Tucson. Some of them are New York City authentic, some not at all, and some a hybrid. The only criteria for this roundup was no Reubens and no subs.

In no order of importance, below are seven killer spots for a pastrami sandwich in Tucson.


500 N. 4th Avenue
The "Play Ball" at Bumsted's

The “Play Ball” at Bumsted’s includes horseradish mayo, spicy mustard, slightly heated pastrami, muenster, lettuce, and tomato.

A fine, fat sandwich served on local rye. Bumsted’s Play Ball is their own twist on a classic with horseradish mayo, spicy mustard, and Muenster cheese.

Visit Bumsted’s online at bumstedstucson.com.

Fifth Street Deli

5071 E. 5th Street
Hot Pastrami at Fifth St. Deli

Hot Pastrami at Fifth St. Deli

If you’re looking for an authentic New York City pastrami sandwich from a kosher deli, look no further. As the only sandwich on this list with pastrami direct from NYC with grain mustard on rye bread baked fresh in house, it doesn’t get more authentic than this.

Visit Fifth Street Deli on the web at fifthstreetdeli.com.


266 E. Congress St.
Pastrami & Rye at Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery

Pastrami & Rye at Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery

Downtown Tucson’s Hub offers a number of options including Pastrami on Rye, Pastrami on Swiss, and a Pastrami Reuben. It’s certified Angus beef pastrami-cized and it’s darn good.

Visit Hub Restaurant & Ice Creamery on the web at hubdowntown.com.


5066 E. Broadway Blvd.
The "New York City" (pastrami, Swiss, rye, and mustard) at Melt

The “New York City” (pastrami, Swiss, rye, and mustard) at Melt

Although Melt calls their pastrami sandwich the New York City, the inclusion of Swiss cheese makes it less so. Still, it’s delicious. Grilled rye and hot pastrami with melted Swiss and mustard make Melt’s pastrami sandwich a contender.

Visit Melt on the web at melttucson.com.

Sausage Shop

1015 W. Prince
Pastrami & Swiss at The Sausage Shop

Pastrami & Swiss at The Sausage Shop Meat Market & Deli

As one of only a handful of places that cure their pastrami in-house, the flavor of the Sausage Shop Meat Market & Deli’s pastrami is different from all the others. They also cure many other meats in house.

Visit The Sausage Shop Meat Market & Deli on Facebook.

Tony’s Italian Deli

6219 E. 22nd St.
Pastrami on Rye with mustard at Tony's Italian Deli

Pastrami on Rye with mustard at Tony’s Italian Deli

Tony’s Italian Deli keeps it simple with their basic Pastrami on Rye with mustard. It’s Boar’s Head meat and you can get it with or without Swiss, as well as Reuben style.

Visit Tony’s Italian Deli on the web at tonysitaliandelitucson.com.

Union Public House

4340 N. Campbell
House cured Pastrami Sandwich at Union Public House

House cured Pastrami Sandwich at Union Public House

Cured in-house, Union’s Pastrami Sandwich is well worth a visit. With swiss cheese and whole grain mustard on rye, this version of the classic will satisfy any pastrami purist.

Visit Union Public House on the web at uniontucson.com.

Did we miss anything? Let us know!

Adam Lehrman started Tucson Foodie in late 2008 as a way to track his search for the best food Tucson had to offer.