Do you remember going to see Santa at the mall as a little kid? The space around you is crowded with people. Everyone is standing in line and somewhat memorized by the decoration surrounding them. At the end of the line, a chance to ask for your heart’s greatest desires awaits.
Adriana’s On The Hill is like going to see Santa in sandwich form.
Since 1992, Adriana’s has been serving up dreams on a plate with their Sicilian-inspired fare, including pastas, salads and, yes, sandwiches. Located at the corner of Shaw and Hereford streets, the lunchtime eatery has earned the reputation as one of the most satisfying sandwich destinations in St. Louis — and believe me, they back it up, too.
As soon as one finds a parking space on the narrow city streets, the magic begins. It really isn’t a stretch to say that it feels like going to see Santa at times. The line is almost always to the door, or out the door, when walking in. As you wait in line, the sights of candy canes and Christmas trees are replaced by epic photos of the Mediterranean and signs with phrases such as “That’s Amore”. (Personal Note: I would describe the decor as an “Italian Beachhouse” vibe, if that existed.)
Finally, as one approaches the counter to repeat their wish list, they are greeted not by Santa but by the jolly face of the restaurant’s founder, Adriana Fazio, or one of her equally cheerful daughters. This time my mother, brother and I are greeted by Adriana’s daughter, Dianna, who could very well be the sweetest lady on the face of the earth. Just a few minutes later, Christmas had come with the sandwich I’d been dreaming about.
Vendor: Adriana’s On The Hill
Sammie: Gorgonzola Beef
Bread: Garlic Cheese Baguette
Dine In/Carryout: Dine In
- Hot Roast Beef
- Gorgonzola Cheese
- Garlic Cheese Bread
Nobody said that you had to have all the ingredients to make a delicious sammie. This sub borrows the ingredients (Hot Roast Beef, Garlic Cheese Bread) from one of their menu classics, the Mary’s Special, and kicks it up 1000 notches with tangy Gorgonzola cheese. The initial standout in this sandwich lineup is the garlic cheese bread, which appears to be a cut from a French-sesame baguette (Probably form one of the many nearby bakeries that have become permanent fixtures on The Hill.)
A slight crunch can be felt upon the first bite. Even before diving into the warm-melty-rich-roasted goodness that is sandwiched between, you can just feel that this bread is fresh. Fresh, and consistent throughout the eating experience.
The garlic cheese flavor is present throughout. It doesn’t overpower the sammie, but rather sits in the background like a bass guitar riff in a classic rock song. The more notable flavor after the second bite is the roast beef. Extremely tender, served warm, and a perfect compliment to the garlic cheese baguette, beef this good is worth savoring. Yet, this sandwich is piled so high with beef that it feels like it never ends. And when you have flavors this strong and balanced, each bite truly is better than the last.
The top flavor performer of this sandwich squadron, however, is the sammie’s namesake, the Gorgonzola cheese. The menu board that lurks above the counter at Adriana’s describes the Gorgonzola as “Italian blue cheese”. I’m no cheese connoisseur, but I do know that this Gorgonzola is damn good. Placed atop the roast beef, the Gorgonzola is a crumbly heap of deliciousness that melts in your mouth upon impact. The flavor is strong, sharp, but soft. The texture compliments the slight crunch of the bread nicely. And the sharp flavor juxtaposed with the juicy roast beef is a slice of sandwich heaven. I don’t think I can ever go back to beef without it.