I took today off, and randomly decided to spend the day in Mystic.
My first impulse was to go to Mystic Pizza. Not fantastic pizza, I’d been told, but it seemed like it was worth visiting at least once, for the novelty. On the way there, I had a change of heart and decided to see what there was for grinders in the area. Good heavens, am I glad I did that, because it led me to Pasta Fresca & Piadina.
Simply put, this is the Carbone’s of southeastern Connecticut.
It’s away from the touristy area of Mystic, with little decor and a somewhat surly woman working the register; as with Carbone’s (or, for that matter, Franklin), you come here for, and judge solely on, the food.
I got a combo with Genoa salami, capicola, mortadella, provolone, lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil and vinegar, mustard, and black pepper. The place is takeout-only, so I ate in the car.
The meats were everything you’d expect from fine Italian coldcuts, the bread was delightfully crusty (some of the best grinder bread I’ve had in CT, honestly), and, best of all, the grinder itself was structured well enough to be eaten without making a big mess. I took advantage of this as I ate the second half in on a bench in the seaport parking lot.
I also got their pasta salad – I’ve really been on a pasta salad kick lately – and was not disappointed. It was basically potato salad but with pasta instead of potatoes: creamy, eggy, chivey. This is what I’d wished Rein’s would do with theirs.
The place itself is teeny-tiny, easy to miss.
Had I noticed the soppressata special beforehand, I might have gotten that instead.
They also sold their bread by the loaf. I chalk my failure to procure some up to sheer absentmindedness.
With my experience today, I now declare that Carbone’s, Franklin, and Pasta Fresca & Piadina form an east-west giant grinder axis in Connecticut. (Previously I’d named D’elia’s for the southeast, but while they are excellent, they’re not in the “giant” grinder tradition.)
I know I’m going to receive flack from some of the other posters on here for what I’m about to say, but you know what??? Since there’s no rhyme, reason or rationale for their gripes… to hell with them…
I know that you’re aware that there is a Boston group that meets up monthly or ever other month…. We usually go all over Southern New England, is there a reason why you haven’t expressed an interest in joining us????