Bad As's Sandwich: Wicked Bad

Handhelds stacked with meaty goodness are the main attraction at John Collazo’s Bad As’s Sandwich.



The “IRA” features corned beef, pastrami, Havarti cheese, sauerkraut and homemade Thousand Island dressing.

Roberto Gonzalez

It’s a rare occurrence when you can walk into the Milk District’s handheld food haven, Bad As’s Sandwich, and not see John Collazo behind the counter or in the kitchen. The 40-year-old owner/chef works seven days week, using house-cured sausage, house-made dressings and condiments, and fresh roasted turkey, pork, corned beef and pastrami to build some noteworthy handheld delights.

Collazo isn’t shy with spices or ingredients. His bold flavor combinations include the signature Bad As’s sandwich’s stack of well-seasoned beef, pork, chicken and Havarti cheese with pickled onions and a hearty roasted garlic aioli. A frequent special, the Capone, is a mouthwatering Italian collection of mortadella, capocollo, ham, chorizo, Fontina cheese and basil-manchego aioli.

Collazo has an itinerate chef’s resume. Originally from Puerto Rico, he studied at the Restaurant School of Philadelphia, consulted in NYC for hospitality company Restaurant Associates, then it was on to stints in New England and Miami. His history in Orlando includes the kitchens of Raga, Kasa and Saffran. In 2014 he hand-built his Bad As’s food “truck” (“the smallest trailer in Orlando”) and hit the streets, earning a reputation for handcrafted sandwiches at events and the Food Truck Bazaar. “[Bazaar producer] Mark Baratelli had a lot to do with our success,” Collazo says.

Bad As’s’ road days ended in 2016 as he transitioned into the hallowed “brick and mortar” realm. His secret: credit cards. “I applied for every card you can think of.” He nods toward the counter. “Those bar stools over there … Amazon was our best friend.”

Aside from specials that appear and disappear on a whim, the menu runs between $9 and $14. Servings are large—and multi-napkin juicy. My one complaint: the bread. Some specialty items are baked in the kitchen, but there’s no room for full-service bread, and, sorry to say, the packaged  hoagie rolls suffer, especially if taken home. Allowing space for more bread baking is a great argument for expansion.

The location gained fame as the first home of Trina Gregory-Propst’s Se7en Bites, and before that was the location of the fabled Sandwich King. And yet, according to Collazo, he is the first occupant at this address. “In the Orange County records this was officially 203½ Primrose. We had to get the place rezoned to 207.”

Bad As’s 
Sandwich
207 N Primrose Drive, Orlando
badasssandwiches.com
407-757-7191
Sandwiches $9-$14

The menu started with 10 sandwiches; now there are around 80 “in the vault,” and Collazo is beginning to delve into tastes from his homeland, including a salt-cured beef rib version of Puerto Rican bacalao, traditionally made with dried cod. The beef is braised for 10 days and served with roasted parsnip puree (the Bam Bam). American Ninja combines tamarind-lacquered pork belly and Granny Smith apple slaw on charred bread. “For breakfast I bake a traditional Mallorca bread—took me three years to perfect.” The slightly sweet cross between a croissant and a Hawaiian roll is a quick bite with coffee, or as made into one of the six sandwiches served from 7 to 11 a.m.The shop has been transformed to Collazo’s specs—and his image. Floors, walls and counters were redone, and a wall removed to open the kitchen. The famous “Let us fill your pie hole” mural outside (which Gregory-Propst fought the city to retain) has been replaced by a sandwich-devouring fellow who looks quite familiar. “That’s my alter ego, Bad,” Collazo says. “My 15 year-old nephew drew it; there’s even a copy of my tattoo on his arm.”

The place on Primrose is just a sandwich shop, after all. But it’s enough to make John Collazo’s “bad as’s” dream come true, and court a growing throng of satisfied customers.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

Guide to Private Schools 2019

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

Top Doctors 2018

The Annual List of the Top Doctors in Orlando.

Best Doctors 2018

The Annual List of the Best Doctors in Orlando.

Orlando's Top Chiropractors of 2018

Check out our 2018 list of some of the best chiropractors in the Orlando area.

2018 Premier Veterinarians

The 2018 Pet Guide: Pet Resource Guide

Here are some of the places you can go in Central Florida when you need supplies, products and services for your best friends.

Premier Realtors 2018

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Health Hub: Make 2019 Your Healthiest Year Yet

The New Year is a time for change. If there’s a piece of your puzzle missing, what simple changes might help bring the picture into focus?

Second-Hand Santa

Harry Pecunia Jr. wants to top the 2,300 toys collected last year for kids less fortunate. Can you help?

Ultimate Cure Bowl Experience Sweepstakes

Enter today to win the ultimate bowl experience for you and three of your friends!

Kid Kontributor of the Month - Jake's Journey, Part 3

Read about Jake's Journey from the launch of Kid Kontributor of the Month "to infinity and beyond!"

Kid Kontributor of the Month - Jake's Journey, Part 2

Read about Jake's Journey from the launch of Kid Kontributor of the Month "to infinity and beyond!"
Edit Module