2900 Gilbert Avenue
My husband and I began training for the Flying Pig Half Marathon back in February and one of our goals was to tackle different sections of the course so that we wouldn't have any surprises come race day. We weren't too worried about the flat sections around Paul Brown Stadium or Downtown, but Mount Adams and Walnut Hills seemed a bit more daunting due to the inclines, so we focused our attention there.
Over the ensuing weeks we passed Giminetti Baking Company many times. The heavenly scent of freshly baked bread beckoned but we were in training, so we vowed to give the place a try after the Pig was over.
The bakery/café is located at the corner of Gilbert Ave. and Chapel St., next to the Thomson-MacConnell Cadillac dealership and across the street from the Easter Seals Work Resource Center. The building, with its distinctive green awning, is tidy inside and out.
Customers order at the counter and pick up their selections when their name is called. Chips and a pickle spear are included in the price of the sandwiches. They also offer several sides; the pasta salad and fruit salad are vegetarian-friendly, but the potato salad includes bacon. They also serve up several types of soup, and usually at least one is vegetarian.
I had checked out their online menu before visiting, so I was surprised to see a very different menu in the café. While the online menu lists several vegetarian sandwiches, the in-house menu only had one, although their build-your-own option can obviously be made vegetarian too.
As well as sandwiches, Giminetti also sells freshly baked pizza slices (not listed online) which I have to say smelled divine. I'm definitely going to try one on my next visit. I opted for a vegetarian panini filled with sliced tomatoes and basil pesto. It was supposed to have sliced avocado on it, but instead the sandwich was slathered in commercially-made guacamole. It was very messy to eat and wasn't what I was expecting. Had I known it would come with guac instead of fresh avocado, I would have chosen something else. As for the pasta salad, well, it was alright but didn't really suit my taste. I found it overly mayonnaise-y and bereft of vegetables. The bread was nice - not Servatii's nice, I hasten to add, but it has good flavor and crunch.
Although my visit was somewhat disappointing, I think this fast-casual café has promise; they seem to have adapted their menu to suit the area in which they are located, and that's understandable. They have a very strong carryout service and the restaurant is comfortable for those dining in. Employees are friendly and efficient, and the food is good - even though there were variations between what was listed on the menu and what I got. As long as the variations don't include meat, I'm good.
Oh - and yes, we finished our first ever half marathon!