BENSONHURST — Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis, Brooklyn’s lone Republican lawmaker, reached a new milestone on Saturday, Feb. 8 when Lioni Italian Heroes named a new sandwich in her honor.
Malliotakis — whose parents are Greek and Cuban — was in good company with Italian heroes named after legendary luminaries such as Dean Martin, Perry Como, Frankie Valli, Joe Pesci, Tony Danza, Alan Alda, Steve Schirripa, John Travolta and Sylvester Stallone.
Malliotakis’ custom culinary creation is billed as Lioni’s version of a Cuban described as “A hero that is a winner on both sides of the bridge.”
“Nicole was in about a month ago and we did a taste-testing and we made a delicious Italian version of the Cuban for a very hard-working community activist who works harder than anybody,” Lioni’s owner Paul DiSpirito told this paper. “We came up with about 15 versions of the sandwich and enjoyed every one of them. But our challenge was to come up with just the right one,” he added.
The sandwich consists of roast pork, Genoa salami, Virginia ham, Swiss cheese, Lioni smoked mozzarella, a homemade basil mix, deli mustard and sliced pickles.
Malliotakis was thrilled with the results but was worried about offending her father. “I said, ‘I know my mother’s going to be happy but my father’s not going to be happy. Where’s the Greek?’” Malliotakis asked. “And they said they would sprinkle a little olive oil on it as the finishing touch.”
DiSpirito agreed with Malliotakis, “We couldn’t squeeze the feta cheese in there,” explained DiSpirito. “So it’s strictly an Italian version of the Cuban with olive oil. They say in New York you haven’t made it until you’ve had a sandwich named after you,” he added.
Community leader Vincent La Porta was happy to be at the sandwich unveiling. “This new sandwich couldn’t go to a better person. She should get two sandwiches, a Cuban sandwich and a Greek sandwich,” said La Porta. “I’m sure her sandwich will have as much integrity as she does. She truly deserves it.”
Malliotakis is not the only politician to have a sandwich named after her. “It’s truly an honor to join the likes of [Assemblymember] Peter Abbate and [former State Sen.] Marty Golden by having my own sandwich,” said Malliotakis. Former City Councilmember Vincent Gentile also had a sandwich named after him in 2014.
“I’m very proud of my Greek and Cuban heritage, and to have a sandwich that is named after me and also represents my ethnicity is truly an honor,” Malliotakis said. “I hope everyone in Brooklyn and across the city comes and tries it. It is truly delicious.”
While Malliotakis was delighted with her delicious new namesake sandwich, no one was more elated than her mother Vera. “I’m so proud of her and she’s done some wonderful things, but getting a sandwich named after her is big,” she told this paper. “This is something really big,” she added.