The Trinacria Italian Deli at 406 N. Paca Street is almost legendary as a source for great reasonably price Italian bread, sandwiches, wine and more with the one consistent gripe being that there was no place to sit down and enjoy what you had bought! They’ve recently addressed that deficiency and opened up the casual Trinacria Italian Cafe (at the former site of last year’s failed “bDelight” on the first floor of the tall Gallery Tower apartment building).
In Italian, “Tri Nacria”, is roughly translated as “Three points” and if you look at a map of Sicily, you’ll see that the island is roughly triangular with three points or promontories.
Inside, It’s a big space with two walls of floor to ceiling windows facing the intersection of Park Ave and Centre Street with about 20 small wood-topped tables. There’s a cooler with some unusual beverages plus shelving with incredibly tempting “made here” cookies and desserts plus big jars of Trinacria tomato sauces.
Scattered around, there are photos of Baltimore from the early 1900’s (Here’s a photo of a produce booth back at the original downtown Lexington Market)
The menu features Italian Wedding and Minestrone soups ($3 for small, $4 for large), 5 salads ($5-$9 plus add $2 for Italian tuna, $3 for marinated chicken breast), 6 cold, 6 Hot and 6 Italian Panini Sandwiches ($7-$10), 6 rustic pizzas ($9 – $11), 4 pastas including Lasagna, Linguini or Gemeli ($8-$9). Fountain drinks (with refills), San Pelligrino canned sodas, and “American” coffee are all about $2.
After pondering the choices, John decided on Italian Sausage Sub ($8) with a can of San Pelligrino Grapefruit Soda ($2) while my friend Tom decided on a “Sweet and Salty” Thin Crust Pizza ($9) with a San Pelligrino “blood orange” soda ($2). We decided to share a “Gorgonzola and Apple” salad ($9) as an appetizer. We learned that the staff brings your meal to your table.
The salad that arrived was big with lots of crumbled Gorgonzola cheese plus lots of cut up bits of tart Granny Smith apple scattered in mixed field greens with the house vinaigrette on the side.
Tom’s pizza was an impressive 10″+ diameter and generously topped. The “salt” was offset by the sweetness of sauteed onions (along with a single dried cranberry!). With the exception of one slice that he shared with me, he enjoyed it so much that he managed to finish off the rest all by himself!
When John’s sausage sub arrived, it got the attention of everyone sitting near by! It was BIG and THICK (Geez Louize, it seemed like there could have been a half pound of sausage in that monster sub!) It was also every bit as good as it looked with lots of melted cheese, scads of big pieces of sauteed red pepper and sliced onions. It struck him as the very definition of how a “Thumbs Up!” sub should leave you feeling! <Smile>
I was delighted and impressed with what I sampled at Trinacria Italian Cafe! (My one regret is that I was feeling way too full after devouring my sausage sub to even think about sampling any of delicious looking cookies, pastries or (sigh!) Italian gelato!) I can see I’m going to be faced with the serious dilemma of whether I can order something other than the sausage sub which impressed me so much the first time! <Wink>
FACTS: Trinacria Italian Cafe, Mt. Vernon, 110 W. Centre Street; Closed Sunday; Open 8 am to 8 pm Monday thru Saturday; No liquor (but we heard a rumor that they’ve been approved for a beer/wine liquor license), vegetarian options; On street parking
Trinacria Italian Cafe is 1 1/2 block quick walk away from Mt. Vernon Square and the Walters Museum. We took a stroll after our meal up Park Ave and over on Madison to the Washington Monument (Currently encased in scaffolding for repairs) and we were impressed by the wonderful old townhouses that we walked past.