GPS coordinates-N 45º00.569′ W093º14.232′
Monday thru Saturday 11 am to 8 pm
by Kevin Wynn
Hey, for me it’s been a bad spring for riding time. While most of you have been out enjoying the wonderful spring riding season, I’ve been chained to a desk or occupied with family and domestic duties. If I don’t find some time to get out soon, Boss Victor may have to start running “The Best of …” articles. Fortunately I live near enough great joints to be able pull something out of my back pocket in a pinch and save my dear publisher some expense money in the bargain. So this time it’s one of my favorite local places, Marino’s Deli.
The original, Marino’s Restaurant on Central Avenue has been a fixture in Northeast Minneapolis since 1969, when Mary (Nana) Marino, opened her doors and started serving the kind of home style Italian cooking that legends are made of, like the homemade lasagna and meatball sandwiches, but that’s not where I’m going with this. Nana apparently instilled in her grandchildren a love of cooking, too and helped out by some of Nana’s recipes, grandson Ralph Marino opened his own deli on Johnson Street. Conveniently for me, this was mere blocks from my home and has become a regular stop. Problem is, I almost never see any bikes there, and it seems a shame to not share my appreciation for Marino’s Deli with all of you who actually may ride your motorcycles instead of just looking at it in the garage like I seem to be doing lately (grrrr!).
Any time I take somebody new to Marino’s I recommend they try the signature sandwich, the Sub”Marino”. This is a work of art in sandwich form, with genoa salami, cappocollo, provolone, sliced meatball, dragged through the garden and then topped with Italian dressing. This sets the hook nicely and pretty well guarantees future visits. If my friends manage to get over that masterpiece of deli dining, they may manage to move on to the great Reuben or Ultimate Cheese Steak. There are Italian Sausage, Meatball, Chicken Breast or Seasoned Pulled Pork sandwiches. Equally tasty are the Gyro and the Coney Dog Hoagie (homemade chili, cheddar cheese and onions). All of these are around $5.00, and if you are of a mind to improvise, they’ll build you any kind of sandwich you can dream up, served in a box with chips and a pickle spear.
The “Pasta and Hot Meals” side of the menu is classic Italian, with Lasagna, Spaghetti, huge Ravioli and Meatball or Italian Sausage Dip dishes, all equally delicious. It makes for an impressive meal to bring home a variety of the pasta dishes, carefully lay it out on your own dishware on the dining room table, with a bottle of wine and candles lit. Whomever you are trying to impress, or suck up to, will approve of the effort you put into preparing a nice home cooked meal. What they don’t know won’t hurt you, will it? In a way they are home cooked, mostly Nana Marino’s recipes, handed lovingly to her family to continue the tradition.
Is that all, you say? Well, no. Most of the fixin’s used on the menu are also available in the deli or freezer case for you to take home, from the outstanding bread to the Meatless Stuffed Italian Loaf (spinach, mushroom, tomato, black olives, Swiss & mozzarella, rolled in Italian bread dough and baked). It’s all available for you to take home and experiment with as you wish. You’ll also find a huge variety of the nastiest hot sauces on the planet, and unique beverages and ice cream treats.
While Marino’s is practically on my way home from everywhere, if you are not familiar with the area, take the Johnson Street exit from 35W north of Minneapolis to get there. From the north, east or west use University or St. Anthony Boulevard to get to Johnson Street. Or drop me an e-mail and I’ll talk you through it, and maybe join you.
So far, Marino’s Deli is largely undiscovered by Twin Cities bikers. Try it yourself and then spread the word. Now let’s see, when can I get out for a ride longer than six blocks….?
Eat well. Ride well.
Got something to say to me? Comments on this article or suggestions for future reviews are welcome from readers at: email@example.com