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Grinder spots in Pasadena....

  • g

Did a search for meatball grinders and didn't come up with much, so let me try and explain what I'm looking for....

Basically, I'm looking for a hole-in-the-wall type place that MAYBE would do pizzas, but the focus would be on grinders. In New England these places are dotted on almost every block, but it seems like most places I've found out here (Pasadena) tend to focus on pizzas and offer sandwiches as an after thought.

Just to be specific... I'm not looking for a "hoagie" or "sandwich" place, but a spot where HOT grinders are the norm, toasted in big ovens, wrapped in butcher paper, and made to-go. Specifically, meatball grinders are what I'm looking for. Usually a place like this has stuff like sausage and peppers, Chicken Cutlit, etc.

I've tried Pasadena Sandwich Company, and while I like the sandwiches, they don't offer meatball grinders. I like Domenco's for Italian, but their meatball grinder doesn't even come close to what I'm looking for....

I was thinking about trying Pietro's, but have read mixed reviews. Another place mentioned was Hey That's Amore, but the idea of driving over near Old Town to get take-out kind of puts me off. I've also tried The Kitchen, but was disappointed to say the least.

Anyone help me out there?

Gusto

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Hey That's Amore
27 E Holly St, Pasadena, CA 91103

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  1. Lee's Hoagie on Colorado in Pasadena. Hole in the wall hoagie place, but no pizza.

    1. Mario's Italian Deli in Glendale has butcher paper wrapped sandwiches you're looking for.

      5 Replies
      1. re: monku

        Mario's Italian Deli & Market
        740 East Broadway
        Glendale
        (818) 242-4114

        http://www.mariosdeli.com/

        1. re: Norm Man

          I tried Mario's in Glendale last weekend, and it was fantastic. The entire deli/shop/sub counter is an absolute gem. Fresh baked breads await the scrumptious grinders being made by the friendly staff. If you call your grinder in ahead, there's a separate counter for express check-out. (As long as you're not getting anything from the deli).

          The meatball was superb. The bread is already pre-toasted, meaning the shell is already slightly crusted, while the inside remains soft. (They don't put their grinders in the oven AFTER making it, as far as I could tell). Meatballs were top-notch with just enough marinara and ample mozzarella. Their grinders only come in one size, but you won't be disappointed. Not quite as big as Pietro's in Pasadena, but definitely bigger than Porta Via.

          Marios also offers quite a selection of Italian wines, some nicer bottles for those interested in that sort of thing. They even had a couple bottles of Opus One.

          The deli is split between meats (on the right) and cheeses (on the left). The rest of the store has all different kinds of Italian gems like homemade spumoni, italian imported noodles, dried sausages and salami, a nice selection of sodas (Americana, Boyle's, Stewart's, etc.), even Cappuccino flavored ice cream. Mmmm...... There's also a spattering of tables where you walk in, so you can eat your food there, if you wish.

          Not only the best meatball grinder I've tried thus far, but a great place all around. I will definitely be heading back to Mario's!

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          Porta Via
          424 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

          1. re: Gusto

            Gusto, glad you like Mario's Italian Deli. Were there 3 pieces of bread in Mario's Deli's Meatball Sub?

            On their cold subs, Mario's Deli cuts their Sub Rolls into 3 pieces so that there is also a piece of bread in the middle of their cold subs.

            1. re: Norm Man

              It's funny you should mention that, because my wife (as always) ordered a Turkey Molasse grinder and kept asking,"Is there an extra piece of bread in this?" I guess she was right! As for the meatball, though, no extra piece of bread in the middle that I remember. I can't tell you how much I really enjoyed this place. I wish Mario's was a little closer so I could visit more often!

              1. re: Gusto

                Yes, Mario's doesn't cut the bread into three pieces for a meatball sub.

                The last time I went I got a combo sub and the meats tasted different, maybe they switched suppliers? Not sure, but it wasn't as good as before.

      2. Couple of places come to mind that you may want to try, although I fear neither will live up to NE standards.

        Luigi Ortega. http://www.luigiortegas.com/home.html

        Tarantino's.
        784 E Green St
        Pasadena, CA 91101
        (626) 796-7836

        And a bit out of the area in nearby Arcadia is Roma, which does a fine meatball sub and also serves pizza.

        Roma http://www.romaarcadia.com/

        Pasadena Sandwich Co. has really gone downhill in the past 6 months unfortunately.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit

          just sayin'...the PSC owner, Steve Fink, died about 10 months ago, and not sure if his family is maintaining the operations or not, but guessing it hasn't been an easy time for them.

        2. First off, if you did your search for "grinders," specifically, it's not surprising that you found so little. That's simply not the nomenclature used in this part of the world.

          I know you're not looking for a "hoagie" or "sandwich" place, but basically, that is the type of place where you are going to find a hot meatball sandwich.

          Lee's Hoagie House in Pasadena would be the best choice.

          Eastside Market and Italian Deli is, at non-rush hour, 20 mins. or less from Pasadena.
          http://www.esmdeli.com/

          Here's a link on the exact same subject. It's from 2009, but the info. therein appears to be accurate.

          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/621780

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          Eastside Market
          1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          Lee's Hoagie House
          2269 E Colorado Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91107

          4 Replies
          1. re: Jack Flash

            +1 on the Eastside Market rec. from a former CT grinder lover.

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            Eastside Market
            1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

            1. re: JAB

              I'm a fan of Eastside Market, I always get the #7 or #9, but not a fan of the meatball sandwich.

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              Eastside Market
              1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

              1. re: reality check

                Truth be told, I always get the hot roast beef sandwich (don't remember the #) there but, have gotten both the meatball and sausage sandwiches previously.

                1. re: JAB

                  #9 is the hot roast beef and pastrami combo.

                  #7 is the cold cut combo. I usually get this during summer.

                  I love both sandwiches. I just don't like the meatball sandwich from Eastside Market.

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                  Eastside Market
                  1013 Alpine St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

          2. In regards to Hey That's Amore, I know it's kinda close to Old Town, but you mind he experience of going there not so bad. It is right around the corner from the parking garage on Raymond near Walnut that has free parking for the first 90 minutes. Perfect for pick-up or even a leisurely lunch.

            That said, they seem to only have lunch hours and since I don't work (though live) in the Pasadena area, I've never made it there.

            As for other places, I know Porta Via makes a meatball hoagie with their fresh made meatballs, though I couldn't tell you if it is what you are looking for.

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            Porta Via Italian Foods
            1 W California Blvd, Pasadena, CA 91105

            Hey That's Amore
            27 E Holly St, Pasadena, CA 91103

            2 Replies
            1. re: inlikeflt

              Can't believe I didn't mention Porta Via. I get their meatballs all the time (to serve w/spaghetti); just never thought of getting them in a sandwich. They have both beef and turkey; surprisingly, I actually like the turkey ones better than the beef!

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              Porta Via
              424 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

              1. re: inlikeflt

                Tried Porta Via last night.... I like their meatballs, but it's more of a meatball sandwich. Not to mention, at $7.95 (for more or less a 6" 'sub,' I think it's a little overpriced. Nice, crisp bread, maybe one layer of provologne melted on the inside of the bun, just a spattering of marinara sauce. This would be something I might consider for lunch, but not for dinner, which is what I got it for. Picture a 6" sub roll cut in half with 2 meatballs on each side and that's what you get. Like I said, it was tasty, but just not my style.

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                Porta Via
                424 N. Canon Dr, Beverly Hills, CA 90210