Feb 19, 2011

Carollo's: This Is Where To Get A Sandwich

Food: Gourmet Italian market, meats & sandwiches
Service: Walk-up counter
Atmosphere: More market than restaurant
Price: Sandwiches $5-$7
Rating: two napkins

If you don’t have a favorite sandwich in KC yet, it’s time to go to Carollo’s.

This little Italian foodstuffs and sandwich shop in the River Market has been quietly pumping out one of the best in town for years now, and it has become my absolute favorite.

This sandwich – like all good sandwiches – is simple in its preparation, but made perfect through the right combination of delicious ingredients. Here’s what I’m talking about: it’s the #1 sandwich on the list of six on Carollo’s old fashioned plastic lettered menu boards—The Napolitano. Isn’t anything labeled Napolitano delicious?

A huge Farm to Market roll (seriously, huge) is piled high with savory, top quality Italian meats including capocollo, salami, prosciutto and provolone cheese. Then come shredded lettuce and sliced tomato. Now here’s the trick to taking the sandwich to epic levels of enjoyment: one must request peppers, as well. Hot or sweet, either are fine. And the more the better. Neither are too hot or too sweet, but they add just enough spice, and a delicious vinegary zip that will blow the mind. It all gets dressed with more olive oil to bind and soften, wrapped up in butcher paper and dropped into the customer's hands with the most satisfying of thuds.

I’m sure a sandwich just like this is what Michelangelo brought in his lunch pail every day while painting the Sistine Chapel.

Carollo’s boasts a few other delicious Italian sandwiches (the #4 with mozzarella, basil and tomatoes is, not surprisingly, also incredible—and if basil isn’t fresh or in season, they’ll sometimes substitute the fresh stuff for delicious pesto). They also have a list of Philly Cheesesteaks and when weather permits, they run a grill outside the store and cook up their delicious sausages, as well as hot dogs and burgers.

The few dine-in seats available.
Among the shelves of imported Italian goods, there are a few tables with benches where lunch friends can stay to eat, but for me, it doesn’t matter where I consume this sandwich. Once I tear open that oil-soaked paper and get a whiff of those peppers and meats, my mind escapes to some little Italian corner of heaven and I temporarily lose my connection with this earth.

Sandwiches are funny things. Many just don’t care much for them, or can only picture anemic slices of turkey slapped on grocery store bread when they hear the word.

But others, like me, have an insatiable affinity for sandwiches, considering them the most estimable of foods.

My message to those not in the sandwich loving category: you just need to go to Carollo’s.

Rating: two napkins

Carollo's Italian Deli on Urbanspoon

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