DesBrisay Dines

WEEKLY LUNCH PICK: Huge sandwiches and old-fashioned charm at Frank’s Catering

This is what food tasted like before there were foodies

The Place: The small, family owned business began in 1998 as a home-based catering company until last June, when owner Frank Spartico decided to hang a shingle in a Greenbank Road strip mall. When you walk through the door you are greeted by row after row of rustic homeamade butter tarts — classic, maple walnut, chocolate, butterscotch, raspberry, lemon, and more. There’s fresh ricotta-stuffed cannoli and jars of cookies,  too. If you can tear you eyes away from the treats, you’ll find a friendly face waiting to make you a humungous Dagwood Bumstead-style deli sandwich to your specifications for a ridiculously low price of $4.50.

The Deal: Just to set the scene, let me tell you the cookies here are 50 cents, and a cup of coffee is a buck. When is that last time you saw prices like that? I saw a young woman approach the sandwich counter and was asked: “Your usual, hon?” We rarely see this kind of old-fashioned service, value, and generosity anymore so it’s no surprise the customers here are all smiles. I dare you not to grin when you check out the poster with Top Ten Reasons to Shop @ Frank’s including: “Butter tarts are a food group” and “Health food may be good for the conscience, but pie tastes a heck of a lot better.”

The Dish: Frank’s is all about the huge sandwiches. Dare I say these jaw-extending meat-packed puppies make La Bottega and DiRienzo’s sandwiches look a little, well, skimpy. There are endless variations — combining up to three different meats with any or all of the classic Italian fixings, including pickled eggplant, sundried tomatoes, EVOO etc. To help make the selection easier, there are 13 suggested combos on the menu named after various folks like: Maddy’s Special, Lance Romance, and The Mighty Casey. I settled on #3 — the Glover Junkyard with Black Forest ham, turkey breast, a hint of Hungarian salami, havarti cheese, mustard, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and onion. It was a stellar sandwich — wrapped up like a football in butcher’s paper —everything was thinly sliced, the iceberg lettuce was shredded and mingling with the mustard and mayo and then topped with cheese which helped to keep the contents from sliding out of the squishy-fresh whole wheat bun. It’s the kind of sandwich that requires a napkin nearby; it’s nearly impossible to finish and left me thirsty for hours. I can’t wait to go back.

Frank’s Catering & Baked Goods, 283 Greenbank Rd., 613-421-6661, www.franksfoods.ca