Location: 25 Washington Avenue, Endicott, NY 13760
Cuisine: Italian (pizza/subs)
Price: Cheap! $9 for a large pizza, subs less than $5.
On the recommendation of a loyal reader, I stopped by the Original Italian Pizzeria today for lunch to try their Italian sub, which came highly recommended. I commented in a previous post about my love of (recently-out-of-business) Tony T's Italian subs. Piled high with Italian meats and spruced up with sharp provolone cheese, they did indeed make a good one, and I have been lamenting their demise and looking for a replacement.
Original is located on the same stretch on Washington Ave. as Thai Basil and Los Tapatios, among others. By the looks of it, it's been there for quite some time, with signage that looks like it dates to at least the 1960's, maybe earlier. It's great to see places like these hang on for a good long while. When they do, there's usually a good reason why. Here is no different.
The pizzeria actually has two entrances, a front door along Washington Ave. and a back door where you can enter the restaurant from the alley/parking area behind. There are several booths off to the left relative to the front entrance, an island that looks like it could be used for a pizza buffet in the center, and the counter where you order is at the back of the establishment. The first thing I noticed about the place is that I was seemingly the only native English speaker there! The gentlemen behind the counter were all chatting with each other in Italian. I took this to be a good sign, and placed my order.
I ordered an Italian sub and was promptly asked in a thick accent if I wanted it "with everything." Actually, it was more like I was told that I should want it "with everything," as if I would be a fool not to. Who am I to argue? I replied in the affirmative, and a minute later was in possession of my sub. Would it live up to the hype?
It certainly did. The first thing I noticed upon unwrapping the sub is that the roll was quite different from what I normally associate with sub rolls. Much wider and shorter than the usual. The first half of the sub (the right half in the above picture), I have to admit, was a little disappointing. The bread had great taste but it was lacking in toppings. What was this fabled "everything" all about, anyway? The left half, however, was amazing. Lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil/vinegar, onions, peppers, provolone, and a healthy mix of thinly-sliced Italian meats. Dripping with oil, this is what Italian subs are supposed to be all about, right? I don't know if the toppings got shifted around in transit or what, but the left half certainly got the lion's share of the attention, and was great. Certainly better than Wegman's (whose sub shop has gone WAY downhill lately in my opinion) and about on par with the late Tony T's. That sharp provolone at Tony T's was definitely a wild card.
$4.75 later, I had just eaten one of my cheaper lunches on my recent string and had found an ample replacement for Tony T's, and I'm stoked about trying their pizza (also dirt cheap at $9 for a large cheese). Doubt it will beat Grande's, but you never know...there are REAL Italians making it! Original ones, even.