In late March, my brother Dan was visiting from England. Like most of his visits, he had a rather lengthy list of food items that he was craving that are difficult or impossible to find in London. These include the obvious, like a good old-fashioned American cheeseburger, and quite a few things from the Italian-American playbook, including pizza, meatballs, and a good Italian-American style sub sandwich.
Well, the last of these is a little difficult to find around here as well. Sure, there are more Subways than you can shake a stick at. And most any decent gas station around here will make you up a grinder… but Dan was looking for a good, solid sub on crusty Italian bread, with some good meats and cheeses. And that’s a little harder to find, but after thinking a bit on the issue, I remembered one Italian deli we’ve got in the greater area: Marzelli’s in Newbury.
Marzelli’s is a bit off of my normal beat, but it’s located just east of the public boat ramp at the south end of Lake Sunapee in Newbury, so it’s a relatively popular spot for the vacationer crowd (as is their smaller location up in Sunapee Harbor, which primarily sells gelato and ice cream). But they’ve got the very basics of an Italian deli down pat: they’ve got a decent selection of Italian groceries, a nice cold cut case with all sorts of nice hams, salamis, mortadellas, and the like. A big refrigerator case filled with pre-made family- and banquet-sized trays of lasagna, meatballs, manicotti, and the like. And a nice deli counter where they make up sandwiches to order. The last of these is what we were after.
They’ve got a good number of sandwiches at Marzelli’s. Indeed, you have to love a place where one of the sandwiches is named Chicken Farmer, I Still Love You after a famous graffitied rock just each of Marzelli’s. But after looking over the menu, temped as I was by the much-loved Chicken Farmer, I settled on the “Gavone” with genoa salami, prosciutto, and soprosata.
These are served up as “wedge” sandwiches: they cut a length off of a long Italian loaf, slice it into two wedges, scoop out a little bread, and then pile up the meat and cheese. The result is quite a hefty sub sandwich, and the Gavone was definitely a good sandwich; the salami, soprasata, and prosciutto were all decent quality and flavorful, the veggies fresh, and the cheese tasty. A little oil and vinegar, and this was a decent sub, although the bread, while having a decent outer crust, was a little fluffier than I usually cared for. Still, a decent sandwich. I probably wouldn’t want one of these every day, but this was a nice sandwich to eat in the unseasonably warm weather while sitting on the dock in Newbury. And it’s certainly better than Subway, D’Angelo’s, or most any of the other places around here that pretend to be real sub shops.