after hearing about this incredible deli for quite some time, my family and i finally took the chance to pay gaetano’s a visit. accompanied by friends who know the owner, we made our trek after the conclusion of sunday mass, starving and craving the italian specialties the shop had in store for us.
upon arrival, the deli instantly invites customers with its red and green exterior and glass doors propped wide open, allowing alluring smells to waft out onto the sidewalk, enticing passersby like myself. the inside of the store is relatively cramped, but most of the space is taken up by cases, racks, and shelves of various meats, cheeses, hot entrees and bread imported from the bronx, so i really can’t complain. behind the high counter, what appeared to be hundreds of loaves of crusty italian bread sat waiting to be sliced and transformed into the delicious sandwich i would be enjoying for lunch later on. the glass enclosures flanking the base of the counter displayed both hot and cold prepared foods, ranging from chicken cutlets and eggplant parmigiana to a wide selection of stuffed breads, pasta salads and side dishes. naturally, my mouth began to water within moments.
after surveying the menu, i decided on the “michael angelo,” a sandwich consisting of prosciutto, mozzarella and roasted red peppers(three of my all time favorite sandwich toppings) and i chose to add a few slices of tomato as well. my dad and sister chose the same and we stood amazed as our friend sliced what appeared to be pounds of prosciutto to top our sammies. he then layered the salty cured meat onto the bread i had been admiring, followed my fresh mozzarella and thick slices of both the peppers and tomatoes. we took our seats on the sidewalk-turned-patio outside of the restaurant and within a few minutes the tables we had scooted together to make a small buffet were covered in dishes piled with sides and samplings of the deli’s best selling spicy sopressata and creamy, mild mozzarella.
shortly, my lunch arrived and i’m pretty sure i resembled the heart eyes emoji instantly. the sheer size of this sandwich was incredible, and folding it in half to pick up and eat was a feat(my sister left hers open faced and chose a fork as her weapon of choice for conquering the behemoth). once i maneuvered my hands around the creation and sunk my teeth into the crisp bread and savory toppings, a cascade of olive oil and tomato juice started down my arm; a sure sign of a good sandwich. each bite after was complete bliss. although i was originally concerned that i would not be able to finish the monstrous masterpiece, i persisted and you can bet i cleaned every last morsel off of the plate with absolutely no regrets whatsoever.
aside from the terrific food gaetano’s has to offer, i must also mention the warm and friendly owner, milanno, and his staff because they truly made our experience all the more fabulous. despite the sunday lunch rush, we were attended to promptly and politely and milanno went as far as to invite myself and a friend behind the counter to pose for a picture in front of the bread-adorned wall, using a loaf as a prop, of course! also, he did not mind me snapping pictures of his products or poking the lens of my nikon under the hood keeping the hot entrees at serving temperature.
overall, my afternoon at gaetano’s was a complete culinary treat, made even better by some of the kindest employees i have ever met. i would 100% recommend this authentic italian eatery to anyone- foodies, prepare yourselves.
sink your teeth into this!