Dish of the Week: Grazie Grazie’s Cha Cha chickpea fritter sub

Media Credit: Photo by Rhyma Asim | Staff Photographer

The sub's pickled onions offer a tangy taste that pleasantly contrasts the other ingredients.

The next time you’re at the Wharf for a concert or summer walk along the waterfront, pop into Grazie Grazie, a modern Italian sandwich joint that puts a gourmet twist on classic subs.

Located at 85 District Square SW, Grazie Grazie is in the heart of the Wharf shopping and dining district. Customers are greeted by a neon green sign with “Grazie Grazie” in a sharp, eye-catching font and the interior is decorated with a plethora of plants that add a pop of green to the restaurant’s black and white wallpaper.

This modern take on a traditional Italian deli prides itself on its sandwiches and cheesesteaks made with fresh, locally sourced ingredients. The restaurant offers starters and sides ranging from $2 to $6 including risotto balls, mozzarella cubes, a variety of salad options and hummus.

While Grazie Grazie has all the meats you could desire, items on the menu also include ingredients like chickpea fritters, avocado and lemon cashew spread to build satisfying sandwiches for vegetarians and vegans alike. If none of the sandwiches on the menu are striking your fancy, you can opt to build your own sandwich for a base price of $11.

Customers can choose from 14 subs under the menu’s categories of Italian, house roasted all natural herb turkey, all natural chicken cutlet, vegetarian/vegan, house roasted grass-fed pepper crusted beef, house roast pork and the grazie grind (grinders). The menu also includes three cheesesteaks costing between $12 and $13, including a vegetarian cheesesteak made with mushrooms, a lemon cashew spread, cherry peppers, roasted garlic tahini, cashews, onions and basil.

For a starter dish, I tried out the risotto balls – golden fried balls of garlic-herb arborio risotto served with a rich marinara dipping sauce. In the mood to try a vegetarian option, I ordered the Cha Cha sandwich ($11) with chickpea fritters, roasted garlic tahini, pepperoncini, cucumber, pickled onions, fresh mint, tomato, lettuce and extra virgin olive oil.

The lettuce was crisp, the cucumbers were crunchy and the pickled onions were vibrant and robust in flavor. The chickpea fritters were thin and crispy, resembling the taste of a falafel but crispier, making it an excellent addition to the sandwich as a whole.

The array of fresh vegetables brought vibrant flavors to the sandwich, but I would have appreciated a heartier serving of the fritter to balance the mountain of veggies. The tahini sauce added creamy, tangy and smoky flavors to the sandwich and I would even ask for an extra side of this sauce next time to have enough to coat every bite.

The pickled onions offered a tangy taste that was a pleasant contrast to the other ingredients. If you choose this sandwich, be prepared to get messy as it is filled to the brim with fillings.

If you find yourself with a sweet tooth after your meal, you can order cookies ($3) and cannolis ($4) as a light and sweet dessert option. The restaurant offers drinks like sparkling water, soda and tea to wash down your sandwich, but it doesn’t carry alcoholic beverages.

If you are looking for a quick and satisfying bite from a modern deli, be sure to try out Grazie Grazie the next time you’re at the Wharf.

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