Chef Bernie Matz has been a part of the local food scene since his days in the Wet Paint Café kitchen with Doug Rodriguez (early Nineties). Over the years, Matz has become a bigger part of the local food scene, and as Menin Hospitality’s Corporate Culinary Director he’s seemingly got more projects on board than there are sandwiches at his brand new Halves & Wholes (including the 24-hour Al's Diner at the former Firestone across the street, Ricky's, and the South-of-France-inspired Bakehouse in the South-of-Fifth neighborhood next to Menin's Radio Bar). Menin also has a hand in Gale Hotel South Beach, Sanctuary South Beach, and The Mondrian to name but a few).
There are a dozen featured sandwiches at Halves & Wholes, which is located at 16th Street and Alton Road in South Beach -- right across the street from Menin’s immensely popular Bodega Taqueria y Tequila. But let’s get back to the sandwiches. First off, they are big, and available as the name of the place suggests: halves and wholes. A half at Halves & Wholes is a whole lot of sandwich, meaning both lengthy and stacked tall. None are stacked with more meat than the “Stack,” which is piled with pork roast, short rib and slab bacon, with crispy fried onions, cheddar cheese, and BBQ sauce.
The meats are all roasted in-house using a vertical broiler. So while a “Clubhouse” sandwich is tame compared to others on the menu, the rotisserie chicken that anchors the sub is especially tender and moist.
There are special sandwiches each day, and if "The Reuben" is available, grab it. Thick slabs of the softest corned beef you’re likely to encounter (made in-house) make this an outstanding rendition. The marbled sandwich roll is just right, as are all the breads (they come custom-baked from the Delray Beach bakery, Old School). When it comes to making a great sandwich, nothing is more important than the bread.
The "Eggplant Croqueta" sandwich is another knockout: Fluffy fried rounds of eggplant jolted with shaved pickle, fried onions, Swiss cheese and Dijon dressing.
I’m saving the "Fritaloaf" for my next visit: Chorizo meatloaf, cheddar cheese, potato sticks, frita sauce, garlic parmesan aioli and arugula on baguette. Like most sandwiches here, this one is $8 for a half, $14 for a whole. Most others go for $9/$16, with a couple for a buck or two more.
Beverages include, besides soft drinks, local craft beers from MIA Brewing Co. and Funky Buddha Brewery, a zesty “Fizzy Sangria” from Flip Flop Wines, and an excellent Passion Fruit hard cider from Rekorderlig.
Halves & Wholes is a 36-seater with bright white subway tiles that lend it a Northeast sandwich shop feel. It is open for lunch, dinner and late night dining seven days a week (noon to 5 am). If you love sandwiches, you'll love this joint.