Nonna's Place is known for their hearty Italian sandwiches. They serve veal and eggplant sammies and others along with pasta, fried ravioli, and other Italian classics, and are always ready with the coffee and baked goods should you stop by at their early opening time of 9 a.m. This family business closes promptly at 4 and is never open on weekends, so time your visit wisely.
It's worth it, though, for the fresh-sliced pan-fried sandwiches that come encased in thick buns from a local bakery. Originally a grocery store, this business has been run by the same family for over 50 years. Rocco and Francesca Zuccaro started it all as Shaw Grocery, eventually expanding it to a sandwich business before finally leaving it to their eldest daughter Joanne.
Joanne Ferrari still runs it with her husband Biagio Ferrari and son Nick, the latter of whom wanted to name it Nonna's Place after Francesca. Joanne is a nonna (grandmother) herself by now and the face of this mainly grab-and-go shop. Due to its long history and conversion from a grocery store, the dining area is technically a waiting area and there's no washroom available to the public.
The takeout here is done outstandingly, though, and never goes cold on me. Not only do these fried ravioli ($5) come in a cute little box, they're also perfectly molten on the inside and crispy with a light coating of breading on the outside. Stuffed with ricotta and a little spinach, they come with tomato sauce on the side because Joanne likes it with sauce whereas her boys like it without.
The sandwiches here are customizable in the typical Italian style: I like mine hot and with cheese. Their hot sauce is made with scotch bonnet peppers, and if you're especially daring (or just foolhardy) you can get your sammy extra hot with scotch bonnets chopped up on top. We don't get our veal ($6.75) this way (pictured at top) but we do get it with stretchy local mozzarella.
If you're curious, try the "L'Originale" ($7), named because it's the way the family started out eating veal sandwiches at home. A veal cutlet with spring mix, balsamic dressing and parm, it represents the typical leftovers the family would have from an Italian dinner the night before that were then thrown together the next day for the perfect lunch.
Though Joanne and I like the veal, the boys' favourite is the chicken sandwich ($6.75). You really can't miss with any of these sammiches, though: the classics all use house-made breadcrumbs, and tomato sauce and meatballs are made fresh every single day.
Though crumbless, I feel I also have to mention the tuna sandwich ($6 - get it with lettuce, tomato, onion, mayo and mustard) and the breakfast sandwich: both occasional life savers.
Photos by Jesse Milns