For almost two years, Lil Papi’s International Deli in Concord has been offering a sandwich experience that takes your taste buds on a world tour.
📍 1096 Concord Pkwy N, Concord, NC 28027
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From Puerto Rican and Dominican delights to Greek, Peruvian, and Argentinian specialties, Lil Papi’s menu showcases a vast array of international sandwiches. Doubling in size and adding an impressive 25 menu items since opening in Sept 2021, Lil Papi’s continually evolves to keep its offerings fresh and exciting. This distinctive deli is now gearing up to commemorate its second anniversary!
Photo Credits: Lil Papi’s Instagram and Facebook pages
Nate Pena, the visionary behind Lil Papi’s, embarked on this journey immediately after graduating from college. A former Liberty University football player, Nate’s college days, where he passionately cooked for his teammates, sparked the idea that later evolved into the establishment of Lil Papi’s.
- Fun Fact: The items on the menu are numbered after Nate’s teammates from his college football team. Whenever a new sandwich is added, Nate makes a point to reach out to his friends and tell them, “Congratulations, you made it to the board!”
Nate is pictured with his Liberty Brother.
Nate’s family has been integral to the birth of Lil Papi’s. His parents own Carmen Leris Tax Center & Insurance, the neighboring tax center in the strip mall where Lil Papi’s is located, and took a “leap of faith” when they joined forces with their son to establish Lil Papi’s.
Instead of a run-of-the-mill sandwich shop, Nate aimed to introduce a fresh and diverse culinary experience to the region inspired by Nate’s own family heritage, a fusion of his mother’s Dominican Republic origins and his stepdad’s Greek roots, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors at Lil Papi’s.
Nate’s creativity in the kitchen extends to crafting sandwiches inspired by his favorite entrées, such as the mouthwatering Big Blue sandwich—a nod to the classic cordon bleu.
- Among the most sought-after creations on the menu are the Dominican Chimi, the Primo Italiano, and the Little Havana.
What’s a sandwich without the perfect bread? Lil Papi’s sources its daily supply of bread from Panaderia Odalys, the bakery located right next door, ensuring that every bite is fresh. For those seeking the quintessential Lil Papi’s experience, try ordering your sandwich “Papi’s style”. This includes a medley of fresh ingredients such as lettuce, tomato, onion, salt, pepper, and oregano.
Feeling adventurous? Try an Arepa! Arepa’s are round corn patties that are grilled and eaten almost daily in Colombia and Venezuela. They can be cut open and filled with a variety of savory ingredients. The Roasted Pork Arepa at Lil Papi’s is filled with shredded pork, pink sauce, and provolone cheese.
- For a glimpse into the world of Lil Papi’s, check out this video review created by Mr. Chimetime, infamous North Carolina social media food influencer Rashad Mooreman.
Notable items like the pimento cheeseburger sandwich, which was once a “special” menu item, now find a permanent place in the “Hall of Fame” menu online. Homemade desserts including cheesecake, coconut cake, and carrot cake, Jamaican and Dominican sodas, as well as sides like Caribbean corn salad, Dominican potato salad, and Mediterranean pasta salad, all contribute to making this deli a must visit.
With such a selection of sandwiches, all priced under $10, there is something everyone can enjoy!
- Nate says, “Good food has the power to bring happiness and I want to bring a little happiness to everyone’s day.”
Nate’s desire to bring happiness through food has created a place that resonates with the community. Now, regular customers love to stop by to see what’s new and exciting on the menu. Lil Papi’s even has regular visits from the local police and fire departments.
As Lil Papi’s approaches its second anniversary, it’s clear that they have become a favorite dining spot in Concord. But Nate isn’t going to stop there… Lil Papi’s journey is set to expand! With a second location in Taylorsville on the horizon, more food lovers will soon have the opportunity to savor the diverse, internationally-inspired delights this deli has to offer.
Nate’s journey from a football field to the kitchen has resulted in a delicious deli where sandwiches are reminders of friends and food is synonymous with happiness. It’s clear that Lil Papi’s mouthwatering international sandwiches have captured the hearts and taste buds of Cabarrus County.
Planning to visit? Tell ’em Cabarrus Weekly sent ya!