Carbone’s Market | Best Big Sandwiches in Connecticut

Review by: Michael Stern

Big, Bigger, Biggest

Years ago Jane and I came across a roadside tourist attraction with a sign outside that said, “Prepare to be Amazed.” I offer the same advice to anyone who goes to Carbone’s Market for a grinder (Connecticut’s word for a hero or hoagie). The size of these sandwiches really does amaze. Choose an 8-inch Regular sandwich or a Super-Sub, which seems about as long as a newborn baby. I have never summoned the courage to order an Extra Large, which outsizes even a Super-Sub. But length is not the most outstanding trait of these best big sandwiches. Girth will knock your socks off. No human jaw can encompass a torpedo with an 18-inch circumference.

What Goes In A Grinder

The main ingredient of choice ranges from bologna to veal loaf, always piled on in superabundance.  You needn’t ask for lettuce, tomato, cheese, mayo, oil, and spice; they come standard. Carbone’s sandwich-makers can further embellish it with bacon, onions, olives, pickles, or peppers.

The roast beef grinder, recommended by indefatigable contributor ketteract, sets the benchmark. The velvet-soft beef might not thrill taste buds on its own. But pile it high and boost it with a hail of pepper and salt and sliced onion and tomato and mayo and peppers: It becomes immensely satisfying. This sandwich needs — and gets — a sturdy length of bread. However, as is typical of Connecticut grinders, it is not a memorable loaf.

Hot Lunch

Connecticut’s best big sandwiches star, but Carbone’s also offers a steam table with hot dishes. A sign above the cauldron of chili warns HOT. But don’t worry; it’s not. Good northern-style chili with great clods of ground beef and beans in sweet tomato-red emulsion just whispers pepper.

How and Where to Eat

Carbone’s is a neighborhood grocery store where just about everyone ordering sandwiches at the counter is a regular customer known to the staff. There is no indoor seating and just a trio of picnic tables along the sides of an adjoining parking area. Grinders come firmly swaddled in heavy butcher paper, making it easy to carry them to wherever they’ll be eaten. But do not expect to munch one while driving anywhere. Even half a sandwich demands two hands as well as some sort of drop-cloth to catch all the ingredients that inevitably tumble out.

What To Eat

Roast Beef Grinder

Italian Combo Grinder

Chili (small)

Stuffed Pepper


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