Restaurant of the Week: Gandolfo’s

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Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen, 9090 Milliken Ave. (at 7th), Rancho Cucamonga

Rancho Cucamonga, which has a Central Park, now has a Big Apple-themed deli. Gandolfo’s New York Delicatessen, in a strip center at 7th Street and Milliken Avenue, is a chain operation with an array of sandwiches, all with NY names: the Holland Tunnel, the Yonkers, the Greenwich Village, the Throgs Neck Bridge, etc. (Gandolfo’s own name makes me wonder if the “Lord of the Rings” wizard has gone into the deli business.)

I went there a couple of weeks ago and had the Little Italy, a cold deli sandwich with ham, salami, pepperoni and provolone ($5.49 half/$8.49 full). Not bad. I went back on Thursday with an East Coast transplant who grew up in Rhode Island to get his take on it. He had the Bronx Barbecue, with roast beef and cheddar ($4.49/$7.49), and I got the King of Queens, with pastrami and Swiss ($4.69/$7.69).

We were mixed on the experience. Service-wise, we had to pick up our order at the counter despite being told it would be brought to us. My friend wasn’t impressed by the sauce or the bread on his sandwich. I found my sandwiches acceptable both visits. But we agreed the place was a little cute for our tastes. Keep in mind I’m not generally a fan of chains.

Still, a NY-schooled friend who has seen the menu is enthralled by the place names, and other New York expatriates may find Gandolfo’s a nice haven. Bear in mind that according to the corporate website, there are no Gandolfo’s in New York, and the headquarters is in Utah.

* I returned in January 2014 and had a very good, peppery egg salad, half a sandwich with a cup of chili and a soda ($9, below).

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  • JMac

    Totally agree with your assessment of this place, David. It’s the one thing lacking in this area…..a top notch deli. Sheesh, what I wouldn’t give for a pastrami sandwich from Katz’, or at least Greene’s, from back in the day.

  • Bob House

    I may have missed it in one of your previous columns, but have you ever come across a “real” deli in the Empire? This one sounds more like a “theme park” version of a deli. I recall Greene’s in the day (gone now, yes?) and I think one other whose name I can’t recall in the 50s-60s. But is there an authentic deli in the Valley today?

    [Bob: A "real" deli, in the traditional big-city sense? Haven't seen one. Some worthy substitutes: The Deli, in Rancho Cucamonga; Old World Deli, Upland; Guido's Pizza, Rancho Cucamonga. Readers, any thoughts? -- DA]