by Eric Ginsburg
It’s always seemed counterintuitive to me, weird even, that businesses name food items after people. There are too many cannibalistic and salacious jokes to be made about eating “Mikey Gaga” or “Pauletta” for lunch.
But it’s a thing, almost a stamp of authenticity at this point, and so when one of the guys behind the counter at Giacomo’s Italian Market says the Nicoletta is his favorite on the menu, nobody raises an eyebrow. We go with it.
I trust the guys behind the counter at places like this, but since my friend had already ordered the Genoa salami, hot capicola and fresh mozzarella sandwich with lettuce tomato and onion, I asked the server for his second choice so I could try both.
And that’s how I ended up with the Rosselli, a sautéed sausage sandwich — one of Giacomo’s specialties — with spinach and melted fresh mozzarella. Nailed it.
I never understood the appeal of letting someone else order for you, figuring I was perfectly capable of making up my own mind and discerning between menu items. It would agitate me as a kid when my family would go to a restaurant and my dad asked my mom, “What do I like here again?” The idea that someone could be unable to make up their mind with a menu in hand, or forget an enjoyable entrée, was entirely alien to my own instincts.
But then, after eight years of vegetarianism and having my decisions so severely limited at restaurants, staring at a menu with such an extensive list of meat options became almost too much to deal with.
At other restaurants it’s easier to narrow down the choices — I’m generally going to avoid the beef head when ordering a burrito at Villa del Mar, and I’d basically never select clams over turkey or chicken when picking lunch on autopilot.
But at Giacomo’s, where Frank Sinatra’s likeness peers out the front window of an otherwise unremarkable commercial strip near the intersection of Battleground and New Garden in northwest Greensboro, there are more than a dozen homemade meats on the menu. That’s not including three imported options such as pancetta or prosciutto. And then there are 11 specialty sandwiches, on top of nine subs and four hot heroes.
The only place around here with more sandwich options that comes to mind is Sub Station II on Randleman Road in south Greensboro, but though the fast-food place is delicious and popular, it doesn’t rise to Giacomo’s level.
Even though there are a bevy of meals to order, Giacomo’s trade is as a meat market — the fact that its website is salamisbymail.com kinda says it all. It’s a venerated Greensboro institution, and has been for decades now, but plenty of people overlook the fact that Giacomo’s also peddles sandwiches featuring its fantastic meats.
Like the Rosselli, a sweet-sausage joy that I might try with half hot sausage next time, considering that the shop offers several sausage options including mild, hot, sweet, cheese & parsley, chicken and more. The Nicoletta was great too: a dependable cold sub with satisfying, fresh mozzarella if ever there was one.
The man behind the counter delivered for us, but the thing about a place like this is that he could’ve had the worst taste and it wouldn’t have mattered because of the quality of options to choose from. And that’s part of the reasons I put my fate in his hands — I knew he couldn’t screw up too much.
Visit Giacomo’s Italian Market at 2109 New Garden Road, Suite E (GSO) or call 336.282.2855.