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Gandolfo's NY Deli on University (Tempe)


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Gandolfo's NY Deli on University (Tempe)

Bazel | Apr 21, 2006 05:59 PM

Sandwich making is not rocket science. However, making a good sandwich takes effort. So it was with great interest that I watched the build out of a new deli, Gandolfo’s, just east of Hardy on University in Tempe. A recent drive by revealed a ‘Now Open” banner hanging and I knew I would need to plan a lunch stop soon. Not being familiar with the name I was hopeful that this NY deli might be a home grown establishment – not to be, the slick (all matching) interior and a scan of the take out menu revealed that this is a new chain entering the Phoenix market. A visit to their website shows that this location is one of three locations now open with two more planned.

Here’s one diners opinion….

• Ample parking. Although my visit was after the typical lunch rush for this area, the number of open parking spots made be believe that even during lunch rush spots would be available (parking is an issue with many of the establishments in this area).
• Big menu – lots of variety and menu is organized by type of meat; chicken, turkey, beef etc. In addition they seem to have a good number of out of the box toppings available like feta cheese and marinated mushrooms. Side options in deli case looked pretty fresh and not out of a box.
• Plenty of meat and well dispersed ingredients. Not only could I see the meat on my sandwich, I could taste it too along with an even layer of lettuce and well positioned tomatoes. This is where the making an effort part of a sandwich is important. Sandwiches represent the careful layering of a variety of ingredients so that you get a little bit of everything in each bite conveniently delivered in a package you can hold. There is nothing worse than a mound of meat and haphazard placement of accoutrements. Pickles could have been sliced a bit thinner, but tasty none the less. Many sandwiches are offered hot or cold. At $5.09 for a 6” sub I felt that in relative market terms, my sandwich was a fair value.
• They serve Pepsi. Just a personal preference.

• Service. Call me odd but I really would like to see companies make an effort. This is a new establishment and chances are I have never been in before. Having someone behind the counter greet me and maybe offer some pointers or explain their menu as I stare at the massive board on the wall would be nice.
• Sort of Service. It was after the rush and yet there were still 6 folks or so hanging out behind the counter. Honestly I think 4 people participated in the production of my sub. First, learn to manage your staffing plan. There was a lot of dead weight hanging around and this costs money. Again – with the place being new maybe some of these folks were technically in training. Given that more than a few tables were still dirty and the trash needed to be taken out, who ever is running that joint needs to take it up a notch and pay attention to where his staff dollars should be invested.
• Bread. Somewhat disappointed in the roll. While fresh it was really too soft for my taste. I keep hoping for a crusty roll that threatens to scrape the roof of my mouth. My guess is that the bread is coming from Riccobonos in Chandler and unless you have big volume I don’t know that they’ll produce a special batch.
• Food Handling. OK – this is really the big one. Just because you are wearing gloves doesn’t mean you can touch anything you want. Gloves are meant to make keeping your hands free from cross contamination easier. In the short amount of time I was there I saw one person hand slap a co-worker leaving for the day (his hands were bare) and turn and make a sandwich followed by another diddling with her hat and then make a sandwich. I know this is picky – but cross contamination is a big deal and people really need to think about what they are doing in those gloved hands. Plus the lap top bag hanging out on one of the prep tables was a put off.
• Hot Sub Preparation. While I ordered a cold sub, I was encouraged by the number of subs available hot. However the row of 3 microwaves leads me to believe that hot equaled nuked. While I saw vent hood tucked back along the wall - not sure how this impacts hot sub production. Maybe if one of the many staff hanging out behind the counter would have ponied up some basic info I would know the answer to this question.

Final Verdict – I’ll go again in a few weeks to see how things have settled in and see if some of my concerns have improved. I think food quality and value may be good for the price but I am holding out a final verdict on service delivery.

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