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Published: Wednesday, 5/18/2011 - Updated: 3 years ago

RESTAURANT REVIEW

A limited-meal gem in downtown Toledo

BLADE BILL OF FARE

Mushroom-barley soup and Mama’s Pot Roast sandwich at Focaccia’s Delicatessen. Mushroom-barley soup and Mama’s Pot Roast sandwich at Focaccia’s Delicatessen.
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If you've ever wondered how a restaurant can survive serving just breakfast and lunch, look no further than Focaccia's Delicatessen.

The New York-style deli is one of the busiest places serving lunch in downtown Toledo. If you suspect there is a reason for that, you are correct. It's that good. And even though the atmosphere often is bustling (an unofficial New York theme, if you will), don't worry because the service almost always is top notch.

Focaccia's offers 23 sandwiches on its menu with names such as the Empire State Building, Staten Island Ferry, and Statue of Liberty, but during a recent visit, Mama's Pot Roast ($7.49) was a prime choice, tasting as homemade as it sounds. A large portion of tender pot roast, melted cheddar cheese, and sauteed onions was a perfect blend with the Jewish rye bread. The mushroom-barley soup (substituted as a side for $1.49) also was top of the line -- thick and tasty as always, a meal in itself.

The Holy Toledo sandwich ($6.89) takes the turkey sandwich up a notch, served on the signature focaccia bread with bacon in addition to the lettuce, tomato, and mayonnaise. Almost anything would taste good on that soft, herby bread, but the turkey was tasty.

Focaccia's also has some of the best salads in the city. A perennial favorite, the chicken fruit salad ($7.18), tasted superfresh and was packed with strawberries, grapes, Mandarin oranges, feta cheese, mixed greens, almond slivers, red onions, and, of course, chicken. The salad comes with poppyseed dressing, but I substituted with raspberry vinaigrette, making for the perfect blend of savory and sweet.

The Brew City mozzarella cheese sticks ($3.09) were a classic starter for a meal but seemed a bit lighter and less greasy than in other restaurants.

The lobster bisque soup of the day ($3.49) on one visit was creamy and rich with large pieces of seafood. It had great seasoning with no need for salt and pepper at the table. The potato soup special ($3.49) on a separate visit had big chunks of potato, as well as carrots, celery, and bacon in a creamy soup that was hearty and delicious.

The Statue of Liberty ($6.89) is another great choice on the focaccia bread, but toasted this time, making a warm ham and Swiss that was juicy and a true favorite.

FOCACCIA'S DELICATESSEN

★★★★
Address: 333 N. Summit St.
Phone: 419-246-3354.
Category: Casual.
Menu: American.
Hours: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday-
Friday. Reservations are accepted.
Wheelchair access: Yes.
Average price: $$.
Credit cards: AE, Dis, MC, V.
Web site: focacciasdeli.com.
Ratings: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Outstanding; ★
★ ★ ★ Very Good; ★ ★ ★ Good; ★ ★ Fair;
★ Poor.
Star ratings are based on comparisons
of similar restaurants.
The Blade pays for critics’
meals.


The Siena ($6.89) is a delicious twist on the traditional chicken club, adding blue cheese dressing and guacamole to a sandwich filled with bacon, chicken breast, lettuce, tomato, and red onions. The bread pulled the whole thing together. It might get a little messy, but it's worth it. Also, the waffle fries (extra $.99) were a good complement as they were crispy on the outside while still soft inside. And there were a lot of them.

If there was one disappointment it was the meatloaf ($6.95). Served with mashed potatoes and corn (needed salt), the meatloaf was moist but it was covered in gravy -- probably to hide its blandness. It certainly wasn't inedible, rather it just needed more spices.

Who eats dessert for lunch these days? Probably not many, but if you do, or have a special occasion to celebrate, do not pass up the cheesecake at Focaccia's, because it's the real deal. The specialty cheesecake of the week ($4.29) in this case was banana. It was wonderfully rich and creamy with a crumbly graham cracker crust and sweet whipped cream topping; it tasted like banana bread fused with a traditional New York-style cheesecake. It was worth every penny (and every calorie).

A good thing to note is that Focaccia's offers a lot of its meals in two different sizes. The smaller portion is the way to go because even then it is a generous portion. You won't leave hungry -- that's for sure.

Also, if you're in a hurry during your lunch hour or even for breakfast (full menu), it's easy to order online at Focaccia's Web site, focacciasdeli.com.

Contact Bill of Fare at fare@theblade.com.



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