Sep 25, 2010

Pandolfi's Puts Some Italian Back in Columbus Park

Restaurant: Pandolfi's Deli
Food: Good quality Italian deli
Service: Friendly. No waitstaff. Walk-up counter.
Atmosphere: Clean. Polished.
Price: $7 - $8 sandwiches
Rating: One Napkin

Our ugly black Kitchen Aid non-French-door-style refrigerator held nothing of value to my lunch needs on Friday last week when I peered in to grab something before heading to work (hate that fridge), so round about 11:00, I did a cattle call for other lunch-trippers at the office.

Failing to persuade any compatriots to leave the office (did I forget to wear deodorant or something?), I decided to take advantage of my freedom and check out a new place in Columbus Park that had been on my radar for a while - Pandolfi's Deli.

New is actually a relative term. Pandolfi's has a history in Liberty, MO, where they opened in 2002, but then sold to Sorella's in '04. Given its own rich Italian heritage, Columbus Park seems the perfect new locale for this clearly Italian-themed sandwich shop. Pandolfi's should make a nice compliment to the more formal sit-down style Garozzo's, but, as I found on this trip, could prove tough competition for dive-y La Sala's. Time will tell.

What I could tell in my quick trip to Pandolfi's is that they're doing a solid business both in terms of sales and quality of product. When I arrived at about 11:45, the dining room and tables out front were more than half full with customers in corporate attire who'd driven over from their downtown offices. If the word has already spread among that crowd that Pandolfi's is worth the trip, they're golden (especially since the crowds at Happy Gillis overwhelm their small seating capacity on a daily basis and Pandolfi's could make for a nice overflow option).

Ordering is the usual deli-style walk up cashier style. No wait staff. That's not a knock on the service, though. Owner Jake Hendershot manned the register on my trip and made an obvious effort to be friendly, quick and personable, memorizing everyone's names and calling them out when their orders were ready. Several customers, apparently regulars, walked up to the counter just to visit with Jake, who always obliged while also helping prepare the food.

Service was a bit slow, but there wasn't much of a line, so the vibe coming from Jake and the kitchen was one of "relaxe, enjoy yourself. Your food will be done soon enough and we're going to make sure it's up to our standards." I'm good with that approach as long as they're able to respond to crowds during crunch time.

Prices proved a little steep. I plunked down over $8.00 for my #8 (guest's choice) with salami, provolone and olive tapenade. It was a big sandwich to be sure, but my internal restaurant comparison computer immediately paired that against Carollo's even larger sandwich which comes in the $6 price range and I couldn't help but think Pandolfi's was shooting a little too high.

The ingredients, though, may justify the cost. Pandolfi's boasts Boar's Head deli meats and fine cheeses, too. No cheap stuff. The bread is a nice Italian roll, not too soft, but not too hard. And the olive tapenade made for the perfect dressing on this sandwich - salty, briny, and with just enough olive oil to further soften the bread for ideal texture in every bite. That tapenade alone will bring me back.

The rest of the menu is standard for an Italian deli - salads, soups like past e fagioli, desserts including biscotti, chocolate chip amaretto brownies and delicious-looking cannoli. And I love that pellegrino and Izze sodas are available by the bottle.

Overall, I'd call Pandolfi's a good Italian deli with touches that give it a leg up on the competition. I'll still be going to Carollo's when there aren't many dollars in my pocket, but this won't be my last trip to Pandolfi's.

Rating: One Napkin

Pandolfi's Deli on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

Beside the embalming fluid smell the lingers threw the air as u try to eat a meatball sandwich that taste like ground hamburger with no flavoring. With that out the way the genuis who said LaSalas is dive-y is an incompitant idiot for not wanting to eat at the world renoun LaSalas deli number one top rated deli in the kc metropolitan area for 91 years and counting strong!

KCNapkins Guy said...

Thanks for reading! Before attempting to slam my intelligence, though, you should have checked the spelling of your insults... It's incompetent, not "incompitant."
I had no idea LaSalas was rated number one for 91 years... whose ranking/scale is that on?
I have nothing against LaSala's. It's just a different vibe than Pandolfi's. Hopefully they aren't putting you out of business yet.

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