Some say the meatballs at Genco Sandwiches are so good, it's almost a crime.
At least, that's what you might think after taking a look at the Lauderdale-by-the-Sea deli's Instagram account, where you'll see a daily Godfather-themed mug-shot post of a hungry patron. Not all of them were booked for the meatballs — a beef, pork, and veal recipe that even Italian chef Steve Martorano gave two thumbs up — but they're still considered a member of the Corleone family.
Of course, there's no real crime going on at Genco Sandwiches, where owner Glenn Scalia says he started taking booking-style photos of his customers against a line-up-style backdrop four months ago. The idea, he says, was a fun way to carry on his shop's Mob theme.
"We wanted to have a little fun," says Scalia. "So, if we aren't too busy, you can ask to get your mug shot taken, and we'll book you on our social media sites."
Today, 3-year-old Genco is best-known for serving a menu of hot and cold "old-world" Italian sandwiches — or hoagies, as they're called in Scalia's hometown of Philadelphia. Many are named for the Godfather movie: Sonny, Carlo, and Franky "Five Angels."
Scalia — who graduated from culinary school before moving from Philadelphia to South Florida in 2011 — says the secret to his success is simple home-style cooking. Nearly everything on the Genco menu is homemade, from the mozzarella and pesto to the roasted peppers and broccoli rabe. As a result, some of the shop's best-selling sandwiches are based off Scalia's personal family recipes.
The top-seller is also a Philadelphia import: the Jack Wolz, a Philly-style steak sandwich made with shaved rib eye topped with melted provolone and finished any way you like. It's listed under the hot sandwich side of the menu, where you'll find most of Scalia's best cooking.
Here, the breaded chicken cutlets are made fresh daily, whole breasts that are broken down and pounded thin in-house before getting the traditional Italian treatment of seasoned
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Listed under hoagies, you'll find several takes on the Italian combo, including an American-style sandwich named Michael with ham, capicola, Genoa salami, and a sharp provolone, or the Don Vito, a more authentic version made with imported prosciutto, capicola, and soppressata.
Try getting booked with a special: The sandwich shop runs a few during the week including a combo meal with chips and a soda that will save you 75 cents or a happy hour deal from 3 to 5 p.m., when guests can get $2 off when they order two sandwiches.
Genco Sandwiches is located at 257 E. Commercial Blvd., Lauderdale-by-the-Sea. Call 954-689-6630, or visit gencosandwiches.com.
Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the New Times Food & Drink Instagram.