Middle Village deli honors fallen NYPD Officer Diller with ‘The NYPD’ sandwich fundraiser

Mario’s Meat Market and Gourmet Deli Owner Joe DiGangi and Council Member Robert Holden hold up a sliced “The NYPD” sandwich that’s being sold to raise funds for the family of the NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller, on Monday, April 1.
Photo by Anthony Medina

A local deli in Middle Village is raising funds for the family of NYPD Officer Jonathan Diller by selling “The NYPD” sandwich, made in honor of the fallen cop who died in the line of duty.

Mario’s Meat Market and Gourmet Deli, located at 75-55 Metropolitan Ave, is donating nearly half the price of the $16 sandwich to the go-fund-me page for Diller’s family, according to the store’s owner Joe DiGangi.

“The NYPD” sandwich is made of several classic Italian ingredients, including arugula, balsamic glaze, chicken cutlet, mozzarella, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes, and drizzled with a balsamic glaze.

Mario’s Meat Market and Gourmet Deli Owner Joe DiGangi shakes hands with former NYPD Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch and hands him his order of “The NYPD” sandwich. Photo by Anthony Medina

DiGangi says Diller’s death resonated with him as a father of two boys and as a husband.

“Just the thought of his wife having to raise that baby by himself and the kid not being able to see his dad anymore, it’s sad,” DiGangi says.

DiGangi told QNS he wanted to use the deli’s successful online audience, with 48.5K followers on Instagram, and community reputation in a positive way to help raise funds for Diller’s family.

Council Member Robert Holden, who represents Middle Village as part of his district, visited the neighborhood deli on Monday, April 1, and praised DiGangi for his initiative.

“We need more businesses doing this and more people certainly supporting offices to prevent this in the future,” Holden said.

Holden also shared that he was deeply saddened at the funeral service for Dillar and outraged at the fact that Dillar’s family will now have to carry on without their lives without him.

Jonathan Diller, 31, was shot and killed during a car stop in Far Rockaway last week.

Police say Diller and his partner were investigating an illegally parked SUV when Guy Rivera, 34 — a passenger in the vehicle with a documented criminal history — shot Diller below his ballistic vest. Police also arrested the driver of the vehicle, Lindy Jones, 41, who was also a career criminal.

At the deli’s opening on Monday, DiGangi says he is seeing hundreds of orders for “The NYPD” sandwich come in, with some customers placing orders solely to donate their money to the fundraising cause.

Mario’s Meat Market and Gourmet Deli Owner Joe DiGangi shows an order ticket from a customer that instructs the deli to take the money for the sandwiches and give the food to people in need. Photo by Anthony Medina

An unexpected visit from former NYPD Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, later took DiGangi by surprise. The two shook hands and shared appreciation for their work as Lynch thanked DiGangi for his initiative.

To many in the neighborhood, Mario’s Meat Market is a Middle Village staple. The shop opened in 1982 with Mario DiGangi, Joe Digangi’s father. Mario immigrated to the U.S. in 1971 and worked in multiple butcher shops in Queens. When Mario died in 2011, his son Joe took over the business full-time.

One lesson the current long-time deli owner told QNS he remembers hearing from his father, “You have to show the cops respect.”