The secret to savory food at Dominick’s Deli? Family recipes from Italy!

Steam rises from hot spaghetti adorned with one very large meatball. As I pierce the meatball with a fork, it breaks into tender and moist pieces. As I twirl the spaghetti around it, the scent of a rich blend of tomato, herbs and cheese is tantalizing. This savory dish, akin to what one may find in Italy, is found at both locations of Dominick’s Deli in Fallbrook.

The official name of the establishment is: “Dominick’s Sandwiches and Italian Delicatessen.” However, many nicknames exist, and right now the names that are bantered about are simple: “Dom’s on Main” and “Dom’s on Mission.” Whatever name you prefer to call these two restaurants, be assured that the food will be consistent… and consistently good.

“We don’t change,” said Dominick Grossi, proprietor. “I just rolled meatballs this morning… and I’ve been rolling meatballs for twenty-nine and a half years.”

All four of Dominick’s grandparents lived in Italy. His father’s family is from southern Italy – Calabria, where the region is known for its heavier cuisine. Milan, where the cuisine is a bit lighter, is where his mother’s family was rooted. The majority of recipes used in the restaurant are inherited from his grandmother in Milan, used for years by his mother, and now, by Dominick and his staff.

The spaghetti sauce recipe is slightly altered from the original that Dominick inherited from his grandmother. He explains, “My grandparents didn’t have a lot of money, so my grandmother would flavor her spaghetti sauce with a pork chop and chicken necks.” Diners at Dominick’s Deli can rest assured that they will neither find chicken necks nor a pork chop hidden in their spaghetti sauce.

“Dom’s on Main” offers a sandwich that takes a bit longer to prepare and is only found at that location. Prosciutto, mozzarella cheese, tomatoes and fresh basil make this sandwich a delight.

“It’s like what you would get on the street in Italy,” Dominick noted.

This little bite of Italy starts with a soft and flavorful Italian roll sprinkled with vinegar and oil, then layered with thin wisps of salty, but sweet, prosciutto. Thick slices of soft mozzarella cheese and thin slices of supple tomato are added. Basil leaves add a fresh touch of herb garden to this delightful mix.

In Italy, enjoyment of food is an integral part of life. Streetside cafes are brimming with people who savor, not only the food, but the air that is tinged with whatever scents come their way. Enjoying a meal at a Dom’s on Main sidewalk table is as close to an Italian streetside café experience as you can get here. Lighted trees twinkle and the fresh scents of leaves and flowers mingle with tantalizing scents from the restaurant.

Dominick opened the Mission Road restaurant with his father, Dominick Grossi, Sr., and his mother, Ruth, in 1983, but his parents retired twelve years ago. Two years ago the downtown location was added.

A selection of imported groceries is available at both locations, with more offered at Mission Road. Shoppers can choose from Italian cookies, pasta, olive oil, bread sticks and imported Italian wines, among other items. A traditional Italian treat that I recommend is the Ferrara brand of almond honey nougat candy called “Torrone.”

Dominick continues with his deli because he “loves people and loves talking with customers.” He also adds, “It’s a great business… I could do this anywhere, but I choose to be in Fallbrook.”

Dominick’s Sandwiches and Italian Delicatessen in Fallbrook is located at: 1672 S. Mission Road, (760) 728-7911 and 118 N. Main, (760) 728-7978. Visit the website, www.dominickssandwiches.com.

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