another handy Sad City Guide To Hartford Sandwiches you will never have that problem. Let's hit the Sad City lunch menu. (Max Rating is a six-pack)
Rating: FOUR BEERS
Located just over Franklin Ave, La Rosa's is a blend of deli, bodega, and caterer. Not only can you get your lunch there, but they also have a fine selection of Italian and other European groceries. There is ample seating, and if you don't feel like cooking dinner, La Rosa's has a selection of prepared foods you can bring home. In addition to sandwiches La Rosa's offers daily specials for lunch. The same three women have been behind the counter for as long as I can remember so you are assured of quality control. All sandwiches are quality at La Rosa's, but the paninis are especially excellent. Go for the caprese or the prosciutto. The few drawbacks of La Rosa's include a sometimes overcrowded parking lot and if there is a line you're going to wait a few minutes.
RATING: A FULL SIX-PACK!
Cuchilandia is awesome. Located inside El Mercado grocery store, parking is the only drawback. Once inside, Cuchilandia is one of three lunch places in the food court style setting inside. The other places are a fried chicken joint and a Dominican place. The Dominican place looks promising, but honestly we've never tried it because we just can't turn down Cuchilandia. Every lunch item is great. Admittedly we are too scared to order the plate with the entire fried fish on it, but we've had nearly everything else. Cuchilandia also has Mexican Coca-Cola in the glass bottles. At Cuchilandia, you place your order then sit and watch a soccer match and then your food is brought too you. Did I mention the prices are awesome? Want more? Other shops inside include stands selling cool "graffiti" t-shirts, various soccer jerseys (for some unknown reason a Jacksonville Jaguar jersey hangs amongst them) and a Latino DVD store.
RATING: ONE BEER
When you first move to Hartford people who haven't spent much time in Hartford lately tell you that you need to go to Franklin Giant Grinder. This leads us to believe that they may have made a good sandwich at one time. That time isn't now. On the positive side, they make a big sandwich and you can get a beer with your sandwich. On the negative, there isn't one thing that makes the sandwich above average. The bread is dull and sometimes tastes old. "Giant" seems to mean piling on shredded iceberg lettuce, which isn't good for much besides getting all over the table and floor. Half the time, the employees seem more focused on bickering than making a good sandwich. With so many better options in the vicinity Franklin Giant is a pass.
Maple Avenue and Adelaide St.
RATING: FIVE BEERS
Maple is a sandwich shop that earns the "giant" in their name. The sandwiches are HUGE. You can get the half grinder, eat half of that and bring the rest home for dinner. Parking is always a breeze and there are plenty of seats. The lady who runs it is very friendly. The pictures of her and her family on the walls give it a real down-home feel. The peppers they will put in any sandwich are excellent. It's nice to be able to get a local Hosmer soda. The must have item at Maple Giant is the chicken cutlet grinder. Not only is it huge, but it is the best cutlet in town, bar none. If there are any negative points to Maple Giant it's that the sandwich bread is simply average. With such great sandwiches otherwise, it always is a bit of a disappointment to have such average bread. Don't think. Trust Sad City and go with the cutlet.
RATING: FIVE BEERS
Yeah yeah, we know. Tangiers is technically in West Hartford. But it's so close to the line and the weird blinds they have in the windows make it so nondescript and easy to miss that we consider it to be Hartford at heart. Tangiers has a lot more in common with their neighbors East on Farmington at the Half Door or Vegas Boulevard than the neighbors to the West pretending they live in Manhattan. Covered in Jumper's seminal Grocer Guide, the part-grocery, part-lunch counter has many good offerings. We can attest the gyros are very good. Like Maple Giant though, Tangiers has an item that just stands out. The falelfel is incredible. Just get it. Order the baklava on the way out. Also great. Tight counter space can sometimes be a slight problem.
The very confusing V at Farmington and Asylum
RATING: TWO BEERS
In order to even eat at Capitol Deli you need to know that you can park in the lot behind the Capitol View Apartments where the Deli is located. The lot is a tight fit and expect to practice some parking maneuvers. With plenty of seating. Capitol Deli is a solid lunch choice. They feature daily sandwich specials and you can sometimes find an excellent sandwich among them. The daily selection is solid yet unspectacular. Capitol features lots of sides and other goodies like cookies, but they are so overpriced it's absurd. Capitol deserves an occasional visit but not to be in the regular rotation. If you happen to work at The Hartford, you can tack on a solid point due to the proximity.
Get there from either Main St. or Pratt St.
RATING: A FULL SIX PACK!
Woody's is in downtown so parking is already annoying. Despite being featured on the Food Network, Woody's remains something of a hidden gem in Hartford. First things first; forget about your healthy lunch if your going to Woody's. Woody's does hot dogs; and it does serious hot dogs. We are currently eating our way through the menu and each one and has been great. The superstar of the menu is the Deputy Dog; smothered in cheese, ketchup and pulled pork. Yes, pulled pork on a dog. You can't eat here every day but it's an awesome treat. Great hangover food also. Woody's sells beer, but we usually wash down our dog and curly fries with a Boylan's Black Cherry soda. A Hartford must.
RATING: THREE BEERS
If you aren't in the West End you can hop right on 84 and find Akropolis Deli right of Exit 46. Akropolis has ample parking and seating. Being a Greek Deli we almost always go with a chicken or lamb gyro and it has never disappointed. That said there isn't anything really about Akropolis that has ever blown us away. Like Capitol Deli, a back end of the rotation option.
Corner of Albany and Woodland
RATING: FOUR BEERS
The first trick to know is that you can park in the lot behind the bakery. That makes parking easy. Take note that there is no seating though. The Golden Krust offers a full Jamaican menu, but our strategy is is pretty straightforward; beef or chicken patty and some coco bread. This is an awesome cheap meal as the the most expensive patty is still under $2.50. Buy a .60 cent coco bread to wrap your patty in and you have yourself quite a deal.
RATING: FOUR BEERS
Parrilla is a Colombian restaurant with a dinner menu we have yet to try. Parrilla also has a full service bar and even a karaoke night. While Parrilla's location on Franklin makes parking a bit of a hassle, it could be worse. Walk right up to the counter and place a take out order. While there isn't a lunch menu Sad City has found a way to make Parrilla an excellent cheap lunch option; how about a couple warm empanadas at $1.25 apiece? Either beef or chicken are available and served with a great sauce. The empanadas come out warm and are the best we have had. Another great hidden gem.