Located in the historic Gold Spot building just three blocks west of the intersection of Roosevelt and Central Avenue, Calabria Italian Grocery & Deli offers a deli counter with made-to-order sandwiches and a few pasta dishes and salads. As the name suggests, the deli specializes in food from the Calabria region of southern Italy. The food is hearty and emphasizes cured meats, cheeses, tomatoes, and eggplant. The sandwiches, which are made from 12" baguettes, ressemble those found in the better Italian-American delis on the East Coast. Recently popularized breads from other regions of Italy are not offered, so sandwiches made with ciabatta or focaccia should not be expected. Still, the baguettes at Calabria are so good that trendier breads are unlikely to be missed.
Most of the sandwiches incorporate salumi of various types or chicken, but Calabria also does marvelous things with eggplant, producing both an eggplant parmigiana sandwich and a stuffed eggplant sandwich. All sandwiches can be dressed with toppings that include mayonnaise, mustard, lettuce, tomato, pepperoncini, pickles, onion, salt, pepper, oil, vinegar, and oregano. The one drawback to lunch at Calabria is that the sandwiches are quite large and filling. A half sandwich combined with a small green salad, an option not currently on Calabria's menu, would be a nice choice for those with lighter appetites.
In addition to serving lunch Monday through Saturday, Calabria functions as a small speciality grocer. Customers can buy meats, olives, sun dried tomatoes, and other items at the deli counter. A small cluster of shelves on the other side of the seating area provides a selection of pastas, beans, spices, and other dry goods. Calabria also offers a catering menu with various deli trays, hot entrees, and appetizers available in quantity with sufficient advance notice. The deli, which is run by a sister and brother team, has been a part of the restoration of the historic Roosevelt neighborhood and draws a steady crowd for lunch.
1001 N 3rd Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85003
Note: Free parking is availabe in a garage behind the restaurant.
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