For overstuffed sandwiches, pre-made lasagnas, and authentic Italian fare, it’s no secret that Trinacria, in business since 1908, sets the gold standard. (One might say they put the “deli” in delicious.) When rumors began circulating that a second Trinacria was opening (and, even better, staying open after 4:30 p.m.—the original’s somewhat random closing time) on the Westside,expectations ran high. Fortunately, the new Trinacria Cafe delivers (literally, too), though it’s less of a cafe and more of a cafeteria, which is fitting given its location on the former site of a Five Guys Burgers and Fries. Like the original location in Seton Hill, there’s no waitress service, as you place your order at the counter. The décor, brightened only by shelves stocked with imported canned tomatoes, dried pastas, and the like, could use some work, but there’s plenty of focus on the food. You need but one bite of the tender homemade sausage and beautifully balanced marinara sauce (order it as a side for a measly $3.95) to be reminded of this place’s pedigree. Most of the original’s sandwiches have made their way to the menu here. Thankfully, the prosciutto (with fresh mozzarella and pesto on foccacia for $7.50) and veggie (fresh mozzarella, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and tapenade for $6.95) are among the cold sandwich offerings, along with tasty paninis, and luscious hot subs, and salads. Also available are daily filled pastas and an unabashedly cheesy spinach lasagna, as well as sizable “personal” pizzas that could easily feed two. The pizzas are listed as “thin crust,” but are more like a flatbread (not insignificant to a pizza aficionado), but the toppings are of high quality and nicely composed. The “Sweet and Salty” ($9.75) is a good example, with lots of translucent caramelized onions, crisp prosciutto, chunks of kalamata olives, tangy mozzarella, and roasted garlic—perhaps surprising for a run-of-the-mill carry out, but here we would expect no less. All in all, Trinacria Cafe is a proud progeny of this third-generation Italian institution.
›› Trinacria Cafe, 111 W. Centre St., 443-759-4082, Hours: 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Mon.-Sat.; 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Sunday; appetizers: $3.50-8.95; entrees: $7.25-11.95; desserts: $3.69-4.99.