This Grinder Ground My Lunch to a Halt – Bellacino’s


Italian Grinder - what's left of it anyway

Susan says…

Who doesn’t like pizza?  And who goes through a week without eating a sandwich of some sort?  Pizza and sandwiches are everyday foods and wildly popular.   You can get either one at Bellacino’s

This chain is relatively new to our area, but two of the four area locations have already closed as reported in Ron’s post yesterday.   The first Bellacino’s Pizza and Grinders opened in 1998 and all 85+ franchised locations are locally-owned and operated.  Making their way westward, most are on the east coast but have stretched as far as Texas so far.  The term “grinder” was applied to shipyard workers on the east coast during WWII and eventually labelled the super-sized sandwiches they enjoyed for lunch served up by Italian immigrants.

Recently, we have made two visits to Bellacino’s so I can talk about both in this review.  Wishing to end on a high note, I’ll start with the ill-fated sandwich.

Turkey Grinder

The turkey and cheese grinder is a very large sandwich.  Really, I only needed half of it.  The bread, baked fresh in the restaurant daily, is good and nicely toasted.  They aren’t skimpy on toppings, placing 4 tomato slices on my bun, which I deemed was one too many.   I also requested lettuce (there was a lot of shredded greenery), banana peppers, and green peppers.  The regular grinder will set you back about $8, which is a lot for a sandwich in my opinion, but it is quite large.

You might be wondering why my foreshadowing indicated that I did not like this sandwich.  One word: slimy.  The turkey was completely and disgustingly slimy.  I took a couple bites before I identified the turkey as the offensive ingredient and then I started pulling pieces of it off my sandwich.  In the end, I ate a veggie sub.  The meat was wet and slick and left a bad taste in my mouth.  The texture was inedible.  I will never again order a turkey sandwich there.  In fact, I am so very traumatized that I may never order ANY kind of sandwich, for fear that all the meat is slimy.

That’s why I am glad they make a good pizza.  For around $5, you can get the kid’s cheese pizza and a drink.  Not only is it an economical choice, it’s also a tasty one.  The crust at Bellacino’s is on the thin side and crispy, usually with some burnt spots here and there around the edges.  I love the burnt spots.  When I add parmesan cheese and crushed red pepper flakes, I don’t miss any other toppings since I never order meat on a pizza anyway.  

Kid's ravioli - Misty was hungry

With yummy pizza comes calories, though – this kid’s pizza has 556 calories according to the limited nutritional information on the Bellacino’s website.   A lite turkey grinder (which is a half of what I ordered above) is 566 calories.  The kid’s size turkey grinder is only 300 calories.    Misty usually orders the kid’s ravioli which weighs in at 249 calories but I am sure that does not include the two pieces of garlic toast that comes with it.

Kid's Cheese Pizza

I also sampled the southwest eggrolls on my last visit.  I received a basketful for about $3.  These rolls are baked, not fried, as are their French fries, so there was less fat to feel guilty about.  They had a nice taste, some heat to them and were quite crispy.  I enjoyed them, but they can’t hold a candle to Chili’s version.  Speaking of fries, they are surprisingly crispy for a baked product.  But the sandwiches are so large, I am not sure how anyone could eat a sandwich AND fries. 

Southwest Eggrolls

Baked Fries

It’s a typical fast food setup: stand in line to order at the register, get your own drink, and they deliver the food to you.  The Kanawha City location offers easily accessible, free parking. 

Even though I won’t get another sandwich at Bellacino’s, their pizza keeps me coming back.   THREE FORKS.

Note: the Kanawha City location is still in operation, however, the Capitol Street Charleston and Cross Lanes locations are closed.

6309 MacCorkle Ave
Charleston, West Virginia  25304

5 responses to “This Grinder Ground My Lunch to a Halt – Bellacino’s

  1. Last winter, shortly after the Kanawha City location opened, they offered soups on cold weather days. The french onion soup was very good; it came in a large bowl, not the little cups like Schlotzskys. I have had the pizza grinderand zesty deli grinder several times without any problems. Also, they have a punch card where you get it stamped with each sandwich purchase. A completed card is good for one free half grinder.

  2. I hated to see the downtown location close but the service of the staff was horrible and I’ll be kind and leave it at that. The KC location has a much more pleasant staff and great steak sandwiches. I wish the owners and management of these places would take more interest in being involved because a restaurant won’t run itself.

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