When news broke that Martini’s Italian Market was coming to the Paoli Village Shoppes, I’ll admit the name had me expecting a Carlino’s-style market that focused on prepared food and Italian products. In reality, however, Martini’s — which is run by relatives of the Martini’s who ran the eponymous restaurant in Devon for many years — is firstly a sandwich shop and cafe, with a wide variety of creative and interesting hoagies and sandwiches and a surprisingly ample seating area. There is also a small selection of prepared foods and dinners available to go, along with a small, interesting (if a bit haphazard) selection of pastas and other Italian goodies.
Though there are 5 or 6 takes on the Italian Hoagie on the menu, we immediately focused on the “House Special” ($6.99): roasted porchetta with broccoli rabe, sharp provolone on a Sarcone’s-style sesame semolina hoagie roll. Good Italian pork sandwiches aren’t exactly hard to find in this area, but this one is a formidable addition to the already great local selection. The salty pork and gravy pairs effortlessly with the bitter greens and the sharp cheese, and the wonderful toasty roll sops up those flavors like a pro. (The first menu, btw, stated this came on a Kaiser Roll — they certainly made the right call ditching that idea!)
Another excellent sandwich option is the “Paoli Specialty” ($6.95), a proscuitto & ricotta panini that spins the classic Sicilian vastedda. The ciabatta bread was crusty outside but fresh and soft within, and the creamy ricotta, bitter arugula and salty ham (I’m sensing a theme here) were an excellent pairing, if a bit messy. There was far more proscuitto than ever needs to be on a sandwich (this rich, savory type of ham is much better in small quantities), but it was easy to remove some (and my dog was quite happy). In addition, I would love to see this sandwich served warm throughout instead of just crisped on the outside.
Moving away from the Italian theme for a minute, I’m a sucker for the Thanksgiving-style hoagie, so “The Babs” ($7.25) had to be tried. Described as a “classic turkey hoagie with cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce and mayo”, and served on that same Sarcone’s-style roll, The Babs gives The Bobbie — Capriotti’s King-of-all-Thanksgiving-hoagies sandwich — a serious run for its money. No joke – this is one of the best I’ve had. The turkey is so fresh and roasty, with none of that processed cold-cut slime, and the cranberries and stuffing add classic freshness. The roll’s subtle but crucial toasted sesame flavor is what takes it to the next level.
Martini’s dinner menu includes simple classics like spaghetti, ravioli and Chicken or Veal Parmigiana, as well as a daily dinner special for each night of the week. We tried the baked meat lasagna, which was rich and flavorful without being too heavy. It was quite cheesy, but the meat was used with a bit more restraint. The sauce was a bit oversweet, but used some interesting spices (cinnamon and/or vanilla, maybe?). At around $16 for two huge pieces, this was certainly a nice take-out dinner for a busy night.
Lastly there are a wide variety of dried and frozen pastas (including a large selection from Springfield Pasta), a selection fresh Italian cheeses, as well as various and sundry gourmet goodies. Olive oil lovers might check out the refillable-bottle deal: buy a large glass bottle of EVOO filled from the big tin for $18, and refill the bottle for $14 going forward. Martini’s also carries One Village Coffee beans, a MLD reader favorite and a nice alternative to the mass-produced Starbucks or Saxby’s available nearby.
Overall Martini’s is an excellent addition to the neighborhood. The staff is friendly and willing to chat in depth about the food, which is simple but well-made and tasty. Get down there and try it!
Martini’s Italian Market
Paoli Village Shoppes
17 Paoli Plaza
Paoli, PA 19301
Hours: Monday – Saturday, 9:00am to 7:00pm