2280 Lyell Avenue, Gates
Visited July 17, 2010
Written by Drew
Gates is known for its handful of Italian bakeries and delis. One of the most popular is Martusciello’s, which is widely regarded at having the best bread on the west side, if not the entire area.
This past weekend Tyler, Joe, Ryan, Greg and I planned an expedition called the “Tour de Gates,” in which we sampled items from the various Italian places. This plan was much to Joe’s delight, as he often tries to impose his half-Italianness on us.
Things went awry as soon as Greg misinterpreted the menu at our first stop, Savastano’s, and became puzzled on how to order food at an Italian bakery.
Frustrated, Greg and Ryan went to Steve T’s because they didn’t find it necessary to try a new place for the sake of the blog. Speaking for Tyler, Joe and myself, we were all glad we stuck to the plan. I had one of the best meals thus far since we started this blog.
We only ended up getting a small slice of pizza to split from Savastano’s and didn’t end up going to the other places we planned on, so we decided to review Martusciello’s exclusively on this trip.
Pulling in, Joe was excited because there was a fire truck in the parking lot. We walked in and there they were; eight or so fire fighters all eating lunch at Martusciello’s. Firemen in an Italian bakery on a Saturday nearly brought tears to Joe’s eyes.
There was somewhat of a lengthy line but as soon as I made up my mind, I hopped right in line and placed my order within minutes.
Going off of a suggestion from Joe’s father, I ordered a large sub. In typical Drew fashion I ordered a very basic one with turkey, American cheese and mayonnaise. The sub was cut in half and came in a Styrofoam box. The lid of the box wouldn’t even come close to closing all the way; the sub was just piled up too high.
But what is inside this sub isn’t nearly as important as the bread. Martusciello’s bakes all of their own bread products themselves. The roll was great! If I wanted to I would just eat their bread.
Tyler pretty much did just that.
He purchased a bag of dinner rolls from their bakery. One dozen softball-sized rolls filled up a bag for $2. The rolls were soft and perfectly chewy, with a uniform, very light-golden color all around. Tyler, being the generous guy he is, passed the bag around to all the guys and offered them a roll in turn for their opinion for our blog. Joe and I turned down his offer because we were all ready eating our subs which consisted of similar freshly baked bread.
The rolls used in the subs were 100 percent amazing; perfectly golden roll, both on the top and on the bottom. The inside of it was very light and airy, but not overly airy where there wasn’t anything to it.
Tyler’s family has had several loaves of both the Italian and French breads from Martusciello’s the last several years. He said the soft, chewy outer crust and lack of airiness make the bread stand out among others of its kind in the area.
As for Joe’s sub, he ordered a medium roast beef with provolone cheese, sweet peppers, lettuce, tomato, mayo and mustard. Joe was pleased that there was a perfect amount of meat, but agreed the bread made the sub.
“Homemade and fresh (bread) can go a long way in turning a sub from ‘great’ to ‘super great,’” he said.
There was one thing on the menu that we tried that both Tyler and I weren’t particularly fond of: their personal-sized pizzas. These pizzas were baked sometime earlier that morning, and were just thrown into the display case or onto trays that sat on the counter for purchasing. Tyler and I split a cheese personal pizza, and it wasn’t anything special. The pizza was at room temperature, and was a little dry when it came to the amount of sauce.
“It just didn’t do anything for me,” Tyler explained.
To be fair, it would have tasted better if we had taken it home and reheated it like it’s probably meant to be. Also, there were a lot of interesting personal pizza choices. I’m sure that their full-sized pizzas are much better fresh out of the oven for pick-up orders. Next time we might have to try that, alongside their chicken wings, which are $.45 a piece. We have also heard good things about their stuffed bread, calzones and pastries, which we hope to try soon.
Joe described the restaurant as “a mix between modern day and old school,” and as weird as that sounds, I would have to agree with him. Martusciello’s is a nice place to sit down in and eat, and it’s easy to see why this is such a popular place.
Service/Atmosphere: The service was extremely friendly. They make the wait time in line minimal and all the other costumers are genuinely happy about being there.
Food: Joe and I had great subs there and Tyler had great bread there. The personal-sized pizza, however, is slightly forgettable. I am definitely looking forward to trying out their hot pizzas though.
Value: Tyler puts it as “really good bread, cheap” and that isn’t too far off. The subs were cheap in price and very large. I definitely got a lot of bang for my buck because I brought the second half of my sub home, and I still couldn’t finish it in a second sitting.
Overall: If we are in Gates would we go here instead of going to General Hoock’s? Not often, but I can see us going back there again sometime to try out more of their food. It’s just unfortunate for us that Martusciello’s has such close proximity to Hoock's.
(Menu picture courtesy of Urbanspoon)