Monday, October 6, 2008

Garzelli's Grinders

Garzelli’s Grinders
637 Ohio Pike
Union Township

While out shopping for a new washer and dryer recently we visited Garzelli’s Grinders. We knew nothing about the restaurant - but it was walkable from the Recker & Boerger parking lot and since we were already there, why not? Truthfully, we first tried our luck at BW3 next door, but when I learned that they had removed the veggie buffalito from their menu (although our server told me that I could still order the chicken buffalito and request it without chicken, but then went on to inform me that I’d still have to pay the full price) we decided to bail.

Garzelli’s is a small, local franchise and also has locations in Florence and Edgewood. Judging from the décor, it isn’t sure if it wants to be an Italian restaurant or a sports bar. There’s a painting of an Italianesque scene near the door and shelves filled with decorative bottles of olive oil dot the walls, but then there are plastic beer banners strung along the walls and doorways, and a few football jerseys tacked up in a half-hearted attempt to bolster enthusiasm for the sport. On the day we visited they were televising a Bengals game but the room was only sparsely populated, mostly with people uninterested in watching a football game.

Their menu states that they have “the best sandwich in Greater Cincinnati,” so that’s what we decided to try. I ordered the “Very Veggie” grinder, which comes with mushroom, green peppers, onion, lettuce, tomato and mayo on fresh-baked bread, and because I was intrigued by their salad selections, I also opted for a Greek salad.

I was surprised by the size of the salad – a small is actually quite a good size and runs a mere $3.50. WIN! Garzelli’s has several salads to choose from, so if a Greek salad doesn't appeal, they also have one with sun-dried cranberries, feta, red onion, walnuts and raspberry vinaigrette, and a basic house salad.

The veggie grinder was decent. The bread was warm and crusty and the fillings plentiful. I was a little dismayed that they put all the toppings on first and then heat the sandwich, because warm lettuce is just…well, yuck. I’m also not really down with massive amounts of mayonnaise but hey, they give you your money’s worth and then some.

One reason I think the restaurant is able to keep such reasonable prices is because they have a limited number of toppings for their various dishes. Whether you order a pizza, grinder, or calzone, the toppings are pretty much the same for vegetarians: mushroom, green pepper, onion, black olive, mozzarella, and pizza sauce.

It wasn’t the most inspiring of meals I’ve ever had, and I don’t necessarily agree that theirs is “the best sandwich in Greater Cincinnati,” but it was cheap and filling, and sometimes that’s all you need.
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