The Drive-By is Jason DeRusha’s bite-sized (get it?) reviews of curbside takeout meals from restaurants around the Twin Cities, and beyond.
Due Foccaceria was one of my favorite neighborhood restaurants I reviewed last year, and it is built for take-out. How do you go wrong with sandwiches, salads, and share platters of meats and ricotta? Plus focaccia bread is hearty and travels well. They recently extended their weekend hours to include lunch, which is a real bonus for me since I almost exclusively am picking up lunches. They’ve also added an entire pantry section to their curbside offerings—with Italian herbs, spices, sauces, and dried noodles for around $9 a quart.
The Restaurant: due focacceria
The Order: Pastrami street sandwich with black garlic aioli ($14), roasted beet salad with ricotta and red onion vinaigrette ($9), cannoli ($3.50) and a tomato mozzarella round loaf of focaccia.
The System: Very easy online ordering (although to get to the sandwiches you have to scroll down awhile past the beer, wine, bread and pantry. Order and pay via the ToastTab interface on their website, and pickup through a window in the side of the restaurant. The woman working inside put on a mask as I approached, which I appreciated.
The Verdict: Terrific experience. The hint of salt on that focaccia bread gets me every time, and works so well with the lovely house-smoked pastrami. It was a bit of fat on fat, with the pastrami and the black garlic aioli, but the pickled giardiniera gave a nice counter punch. The roasted beet salad was the ideal companion to that sandwich with pickled vegetables, creamy ricotta, arugula. My wife and I shared both of these and finished it off with a fresh cannoli—these guys are sort of small, but the shell was freshly fried and tasted magnificent.
Address: 475 Fairview Ave. S., Saint Paul
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 4 p.m.-8 p.m.; Saturday/Sunday 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Nearby Park: We drove down to Hidden Falls Regional Park, only about 2 miles away, and enjoyed our lunch with a view of the Mississippi River.