Merante Groceria

By | April 24, 2006

Merante Groceria
3454 Bates St
Oakland, 15213

This tiny little grocer, in an impossible location in the backwoods of Oakland, has a surprise waiting inside for you.  It may mostly an Italian grocer, but deep in the back of the store they have a little tiny deli where they sell meats and will make you only one kind of sandwich: the Italian Sub.  The Italian Sub a classic sandwich that has lost its identity in a sea of Subways, Quiznos and pizza places.  But at Merante, you can get an authentic Italian sub the way it’s meant to be: just meats, cheese, peppers, and bread.

The nice thing about going to Merante for a sandwich is that you can pick up some groceries too.  Merante is your typical Italian grocer where you can get polenta, canned tomatoes, amazing local produce, imported dried pastas and some fresh ones too.  Because the store is primarily groceries, and they can barely pack them into the tiny store at that, there is absolutely no seating.  You go to the back counter, get your sandwich, and take a walk to a nice picnic bench somewhere on Pitt’s campus and have a leisurely bite of eat.  It is especially nice on a warm sunny day, when you don’t really feel much like working anyway.  Or, if you don’t work in Oakland, you could pick up your lunch on the way to your office wherever it may be.  Either which-a-way, the sandwich is recommended so you should find a way to get it.

The sandwich itself needs description before you go in and buy it all willy nilly.  You should know that it is huge.  Literally, they take a regular-sized loaf of bread, cut it in half, throw a ton of meat on there with cheese and your choice of sweet or hot peppers, put it back into the bag the loaf came in and hand it to you.  Simple!  The meats are whatever they happen to have, and could be any Italian meat you can imagine.  I especially love this about Merante’s sandwich because it’s a total surprise every time!  The sweet and hot peppers are both great, and are amply applied to the sandwich.  I swear, it is like a whole jar of peppers or something!  There isn’t any sauce or anything (absolutely no Italian salad dressing on this sub), but the peppers provide the right amount of juiciness.  It’s the right price too.

Grab a drink on the way out, pay up at the counter, and you are set.  Now your only task is to meander back to Oakland-proper to find a spot to munch your lunch.  I hope Merante sticks around for a lot longer, but it’s a strange little place in a strange location, and I wouldn’t be surprised if someday soon there was a “CLOSED” sign hanging permanently in the window due to the pressures of the chain grocery markets.  For that reason, let’s all go there and get a sub plus a box of fresh ravioli to keep this little gem in business!

Italian Sub
Some groceries!

If you aren’t so hungry as to eat a whole loaf of bread, they are happy to sell you a half sandwich.  It is still pretty gigantic, so feel free to ask them to cut the half in half so that you can eat it without feeling like Scooby-Doo.

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