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A charming deli on the corner of Soulard's lovely, peaceful Pontiac Park. While there are a few "standard" sandwiches -- a meatball sub with Provel and marinara sauce, the "St. Louisan" (mortadella, capocolla, salami, ham and Provel) -- most are a step above basic deli fare. The "Cajun B.L.T." features very thick, smoky bacon, while the baked mortadella sandwich is a surprisingly happy marriage of mortadella, capocolla, Provel and a relish of artichoke, black olive and tomato. Co-owner Mike Risk (a veteran of Trattoria Marcella) researched cheesesteaks on a trip to Philadelphia, and his delightful rendition is as close to the real thing as you can find in St. Louis.
It's testament to an eatery's excellence when the place can stay open only five or so hours a day, yet hold a place among a city's most-loved nosh spots. Such is the case at the family-run Adriana's, where loyalists lunch on Sicilian specialties like eggplant caponata, mostaccioli and salsiccia sandwiches. Those sandwiches are oversize, so plan to pack up half a lunch for the next day, or take advantage of the half-sandwich combos (with soup or salad). Some folks call Adriana's a no-frills joint because there's no table service, the tablecloths are vinyl, and the prices are low. But really, the frills are in the food, abundant and delicious.
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