Whatever I may have said about meatball grinders earlier in this thread, allow me to deliver an update: the best one to be found in Connecticut is, in my current opinion, at the Santopietro Deli in Waterbury.
I was informed about this place by a friend who grew up in that city, and instructed to try the meatball grinder before anything else. I am thoroughly obedient when it comes to such things.
Um, yeah. Look at this.
That gorgeous bread is none other than Milite’s, a Waterbury bakery that, as you may recall, supplies Carbone’s Market up in Torrington, the regional Nardelli’s chain, and undoubtedly many other sandwich purveyors.
Fortunately, the rest of the grinder held up to the bread. I chose to not have it toasted, since this particular bread is already very crusty.
The sauce was nicely balanced, with tang and sweetness meeting amicably, and the meatballs were well seasoned and wonderfully tender; they would very much stand on their own. I didn’t see them in the selection of hot items, but come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve seen that at any grinder shop. (I’d be very curious to see Franklin’s enormous meatballs prior to slicing.)
I must confess that I was tempted by the meatloaf, but I couldn’t waver from my objective. Also, this was the first time I’d seen franks and beans offered at any place like this – and if I weren’t in Connecticut, a state with its own proud hot dog tradition, I wouldn’t have given them a second look.