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Dec 4, 2002 12:05 AM

Nardelli's - World's best grinder

  • s

In a recent trip back to my home town of Waterbury, Connecticut, I made the pilgrimage to Nardelli's for the combo grinder - ham, salami and provolone.

It was one of the few occasions where the reality was even better than the memory.

The loaf of bread is least a foot long and is the store's own Italian bread. Half the size of this gargantuan sandwich would be considered large in SF where I now live.

I always thought the ham could not have been as good I imagined, but it was. In a sandwich packed with flavor, the ham starred.

The unique part of this grinder is the house made marinated pickle and pepper mix. If I lived in the tri-state area, I would make the trip to Waterbury every now and then just for this sandwich. If you find yourself on I-84, it is just off Exit 25.

I topped it off with Nardelli's white birch beer. Heaven.

Walking into the shop, you are overcome with the aroma top notch Italian food. You can almost fill up on the olefactory wonderfullness.

Here's a link to Nardelli's.

I think that there is a difference between a hogie which is Philly-based, a grinder which is Connecticut based, a po boy from Louisiana, a sub, etc, etc. I say this is the finest example of a Italian meat combo grinder in the universe.

Just $5.25 for a grinder that is big enough for two to fill up on.

The link below is to a review by



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  1. n

    Wow! Thanks so much for posting that - my husband and I drive up north from NJ several times a year, and have often seen the signs for Nardelli's, but always assumed they were just a chain like Blimpies.
    How nice to know we can pick up some real food on the way.

    4 Replies
    1. re: njtomainetraveller

      Nardelli's does have an excellent grinder, no doubt about it. But, even better, is the grinder at Carbone's meat market just up Route 8 in Torrington - exit 43.
      There is absolutely nothing in the world better than a Carbone's grinder.

      1. re: Gioia

        Thanks, Gioia!
        What kind of sandwich should I ask for when I go there?

        1. re: njtomainetraveller

          My personal favorite is the roast beef. (It's actually what we had for lunch right after we were engaged!) They roast it themselves. It's always tender and moist, without being slimey.
          The combo (ham and salami) is also great.

          They're biggest (16 inches, I think) easily feeds 4. There's so much meat I have to take some off to get my mouth around it.

          If you like peppers, they make their own, which, I'm told, are also fabulous. Same goes for hot grinders.

          It's on Oak Ave in Torrington, CT. For those of you who really want to know what a "grinder" is, this is the place to find out.

          1. re: Gioia

            Wow, as I was reading the original post World's Best Grinders... I was surprised to see it was not Carbone's in Torrington!!!! Then to my surprise other folks named this fab grinder market. Those grinders are the best. I like the ham with those wonderful homemade peppers. Actually, Torrington is a little place in NW CT that has some good spots to eat.

    2. More than - er, 15 years ago, when I was in college, I would make trips up to Waterbury, Ct to visit 2 of my roommates. In between trips to the Barleycorn for cheap beer and Blackie's for great hotdogs, my friends introduced me to "grinders" (said w/appropriate Wahterbury accent), which was a funny name for a hero to a LI girl like me. Anyway, I don't think Nardelli's existed then, but we'd go to an inconspicuous-looking deli called, I believe, the Grandview Market (in the Bunker Hill nabe?), and get some of those ham and cheese beauties, topped w/hot peppers, onions, vinegar and oil, and god knows what else - mmmm! Like nothing I'd ever had before. Nothing fancy, but so good!
      Thanks for the Waterbury grinder memories!!!

      1 Reply
      1. re: Lisa M
        Stanley Stephan

        Nardelli's has been in business since 1922. I don't think the quality or ingrediants have changed in the whole time. As they say on their site, the only change was to the price. In 1922 it was ten cents.

        The site mentions that in the original location on South Main Street, lines would form around the block.

        Waterbury surprisingly enough was a great food town. It was a factory town and the Italians, Poles, Irish, Germans, etc wanted good food and plenty of it at good prices. Also, there was very little else to do in Waterbury besides eat. I was sentenced to 18 years in Waterbury, I mean, I grew up there.

        Sadly, there is very little left of the town. The outstanding European bakeries seem to just be a memory. Blackies is still there with their great hot dogs. Until recently they were closed on Fridays. It was a big Catholic town and Catholics didn't eat meat on Fridays, so Blackies took the day off.

        Dominicks apizza is still there and I had one of their wonderful sausage and mushroom pizza with so much house made sausage that there was barely room for sauce and cheese.

        But much of the town has been malled and the chains are moving in. So long live the Nardelli family and their shop. They are a delicious time trip to the past.

      2. you're got to be kididng me.........i read the roadfood review and tried the place....lousy bread, ice-cold cold cuts, the "pepper salad" had no peppers in it.......subway would have done me better

        just my $.02....BTW, Stanley Stephan's post looks like spam-vertising to me!!

        2 Replies
        1. re: vegas
          Stanley Stephan

          Well, Connecticut magazine voted it the best grinder for the past three years.

          I was hoping the title would be a challenge to hounds to name a better grinder place. Perhaps you have an idea other than Subway.

          I'm a regular contributor on the San Francisco board. The only link I have to Nardelli's is one of deliciousness.

          1. re: Stanley Stephan

            That's because Connecticut has no WaWa's. Almost any Hoagie from Philly is better than any "grinder" I've had in Connecticut in the almost 30 years I've lived here!

            That said, Nardelli's is pretty good,there's way too much meat on the sandwich. Come on America, you're getting fat! How about something flavorful, not just heavy. Carbones, also good, but even more of a commitment.

            Best cold cut meat sandwhich to me buy some boar's head lunch meats of your choice and lightly toast some sliced Portuguese bread from your deli-section. I like a little mayo, bananpeppers and swiss or provolone, depending on how "italian" I went with the cold cuts. Of course Cape Cod, Mystic, or Lays kettle cheaps for the finishing touch. How hard is that? Sandwich would be done before you got to the head of the line at Nardelli's.

        2. Like many of the other users I have to go with Carbones.