at Downtown Deli
by Karen Miltner
originally published October 23, 2008 at http://www.democratandchronicle.com
Regardless of whether you are the type of person to call the glass half-empty or half-full, most people would call the half-sandwich at Seneca Falls' Downtown Deli a whole lot of food. That was the lowdown in downtown Seneca Falls one afternoon earlier this month when I was soliciting the locals for lunch recommendations.
"The halves are huge," one shopkeeper told me.
"Don't order a whole sandwich, you won't get out alive," a passer-by warned.
Duly warned, I walked into this main drag hangout glowing with retro neon, chrome and big, shiny cushy booths. I stepped up to the counter, read through the 20-plus picks of hot sandwiches, and decided on a Reuben, which here gets the wacky title of Paul's It Sure is Enough. The gooey, meaty, giant half was cut in half, with sauerkraut and Russian dressing oozing out, making me wonder if I had ordered a half or whole. But sure enough, at the cash register, the tally was less than $5.
Why did I throw in a mac and cheese? Because I had all that money to burn. A palate-cleansing pickle was in order, too.
The Deli has subs and soups and chili and salads, and cookies, brownies and slices of cheesecake. If you want something stiffer than soda or water to wash it down, there's Coors Lite and Swedish Hill wines.
By the way, if you think you can't get anything for less than a nickel anymore, you're wrong. For just a penny, you can buy a peek into your future and slimness, as the leftover scale from the former pharmacy not only tells your fortune, but it also dials up your weight. "I think it's 5 pounds in your favor," says owner Ann Sandroni.
I skipped the fortune-telling weigh-in. Even a half-sandwich and a few bites of mac and cheese gave me the belt-tightening sense that a 5-pound credit would not be enough for me to leave on a light note.
Cheap Eats Picks
What I ate: Half a Reuben for $4.29; half a pickle for 50 cents; small macaroni and cheese for $1.99.
Other good deals: It's all pretty affordable. Whole subs and sandwiches top out at $7.29.
Address: 53 Fall St., Seneca Falls.
Phone: (315) 568-9943.
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
Accessibility: The outdoor deck is not wheelchair accessible. Neither is a portion of the seating, which is raised on a platform.
Good to know: Breakfast bagels and baked goods available. Kids' specials. Street and public parking in back of building. Outdoor deck with view of Cayuga-Seneca Canal is open in nice weather. The Deli offers a free Thanksgiving meal to anyone in Seneca County.
Picture: Karen Miltner
Karen is an eternal omnivore and self-avowed vegesexual who is happiest in the kitchen or at the table with friends and family. Prior to being a reporter, she schlepped for various food-related businesses in Seattle. She lives in Irondequoit.
By bread alone
By Chuck Agonito
Posted Thursday, February 23, 2012FingerLakesTimes.com
We have talked about bread before. I admit to knowing nothing about making dough or baking bread. I disposed of the deluxe bread machine I was given. Didn't matter if I used scratch ingredients or a quality bread mix, my end result was more like a rock than a loaf of bread.
Normal bread in Geneva has already achieved legendary status in the world of artisan breads, and I enjoy Dustin Cutler's creations. I never eat plain white store-bought American bread.
I can live just fine with one kind of bread. That would be Italian, either round or traditional loaf. Those loaves baked by supermarket chain stores will not do. They are usually mushy or doughy, and turn into sawdust one day later.
Breads I buy have a real crust and a chewy center with an almost nut-like flavor. Days later, this bread will still make great toast. Like I said, I have no idea how these qualities are achieved, or why supermarkets cannot make bread like this.
Lucky for me I have found two bakers who meet my criteria for Italian bread. Martusciello's opened in 1959 and has a large store and bakery on Lyell Avenue in Rochester. They are open seven days a week. Some other Rochester bakeries may be more familiar to you, but Martusciello's breads are clear winners. In Geneva, Madia's Big M carries this brand, but only on Saturday mornings.
I have found an equally good bread source for the other days of the week, and it is in downtown Seneca Falls. Pat Sandroni owns Nonni's Italian Imports at 55 Fall St. He has some special meats and cheeses, homemade sausage and meatballs, and pastries. He offers freshly baked bread Tuesday to Saturday.
His breads also meet all my standards- great crust, chewy inside, and long-lasting. When I ask what makes his bread so good, he just says "Ann." He gives full credit to his wife for the bread; she bakes it each morning next door at the Downtown Deli.
As if I wasn't addicted enough, the Sandronis also sell containers of ltalian herbs and spices- just add their blend to your favorite oil and start dipping.
The only problem I have with both these breads is they never make it home intact. Passengers in my car, and sometimes the driver too, rip these loaves apart.