Gondola II: An elevated experience

The gondola gets an update.

The OG Avanti’s gondola is the perfect poor man’s sandwich. It was simple, yet somehow so satisfying. I’ve mentioned before how the sandwich was a staple of all my favorite memories. . The classic sandwich was there for those early unrestrained and frantic college nights, for cabin parties in the woods, for cheap Sunday dinners with friends. It was there to soak up the beer while watching the greatest spectacle in racing at the Indy-500. And it even made an appearance at our wedding.

But what if we could take the simplicity of that sandwich and inject a little luxury? Take the basic deli cuts and elevate them into something even better.

We’re talking about upgrading to black forest ham, swapping in thinly sliced soppressata, adding in sharp cheddar and provolone instead of American, and slathering it with hints of pesto and stone ground mustard. Of course, we’re keeping the iconic Avanti’s bread the same. That sweet and comforting magical cloud of deliciousness is what ties this all together.

Of course, this updated recipe is something college Jake would never have been able to afford. But the result is a refined, tantalizing new take on an old favorite.


  • ~15 minutes prep
  • ~2 1/2 hours rising
  • ~25- minutes baking
  • Yields: 2 sammiches

Grocery list

For the Bread:

  • 1 tbsp active dried yeast
  • 1 cup warm (110-115 degree) water
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp honey

For the sandwich:

  • ~ 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1/2 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ~ 12 slices of black forest ham
  • ~ 12 slices soppressata
  • ~ 12 slices genoa salami
  • ~10 slices sharp cheddar
  • ~10 slices of provolone
  • 3/4 cup of light mayo
  • ~2-3 tbsp pesto
  • ~3 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice


  • Whisk the beaten egg in a small bowl with olive oil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let sit, covered with a towel, for about ten minutes.
  • Then add sugar, salt, and honey to the yeast.
  • Then pour in 1 cup of flour at a time, mixing evenly before adding additional cups.
  • Repeat until all flour is added.
  • Then mix in oil/egg mix.
  • Knead dough for about 10 minutes (by hand or using a mixer).
  • Knead until dough is smooth and stretchy.
  • Let cover, and let sit and rise for about 1 hour or more (up to 2 hours).
  • After time is up, divide dough into two equal halves. Shape into roughly about a foot long loaf (here’s a helpful video on how to get the shape right, then stretch the dough out so it’s about a foot long).
  • Place the two loaves on a parchment or foil lined baking greased baking sheet, and cover. Let rise for 30-60 more minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Place in oven and cook for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.

For the sandwich:

  • Once bread is done cooking baking, let cool for 10 minutes. Then use a serrated knife and slice bread in half lengthwise.
  • In a bowl, mix together mayo, pesto, and lemon juice. Spread evenly over both sides of the bread.
  • Top with alternating layers of meats, cheese, and finish with shredded lettuce and sliced onion for each loaf. Close and form sandwich, then slice into smaller cuts.
  • Serve and enjoy.