Panini Pete's

Another Eastern Shore staple has made it across the bay.  Ok. ok.  So Panini Pete's in Mobile opened quite a while ago.  I have to be honest. I've been meaning to go but it's just hard to make it downtown during lunch hours.  It's the nature of my life.  I decided to make an effort after reading an article in Mobile Bay magazine about the best eats in Baldwin County.  Of course, Panini Pete's original location in Fairhope was on the list and I thought this may be the perfect time to try to Mobile location.  Along with my usual sidekick, two of my friends and one of their daughters joined me for lunch recently.

Roast Beef Panini with fries or chips $8
My brother and I decided to share two sandwiches:  the roast beef and the muffaletta.  The roast beef sandwich was HUGE!  It is piled high with medium rare roast beef that you can tell was "homemade."  There was this tangy flavor that I think came from the Gorgonzola spread and mustard.  I also tasted some sweetness from sauteed onions.  I typically pick out the tomatoes on my sandwich but I think this needed it and the greens to give it a nice, fresh flavor.  The bread had just enough chew on it to go with the tenderness of the roast beef.  I really liked it. 

Instead of a fries or chips, I opted to go for the Chef's Taste as a side for a dollar more.  On this day, it was a quinoa salad that had dried mango and a ton of other stuff.  I've been hearing more about quinoa as a healthier option as side dishes but never really got a chance to taste it.  I figure Pete surely knows how to do it right.  I was very surprised by the taste and texture of the salad.  It was on the sweet side with the mango and what tasted like pineapples but I enjoyed it.  I don't want to expand much because who knows if it will ever be on the menu again.  

Muffaletta panini $7
The muffaletta panini is a variety of Italian meats and cheeses topped with a olive spread and tomatoes.  This has got to be one of my favorite type of sandwiches.  I have tried several places in Mobile and haven't found a decent muffaletta.. that is until now.  I felt like there was just enough ratio of meat to olive spread at Panini Pete's.  At other establishments, I found that the olive spread sometimes overwhelm the delicate taste of the deli meat and the olive spread can be a bit salty.  These were not issues here.  The sandwich had a nice balance.  I also like the tomato because it "cuts the fat" just enough so you can enjoy the chips on the side.  I think they may be house made or "kettle cooked" chips.  Either way it was certainly delicious.  If I ever crave a muffaletta, I know where I can get a sure thing.

Turkey panini $7 or $8
Both of my friends ordered the turkey panini.  I was thinking it was that sliced deli meat stuff but boy was I wrong.  It looks to me as if it's roasted turkey that has been shredded.  According to the menu, there's roasted pepper, Dijon, garlic aioli and fresh mozzarella on the sandwich.  My friend tried to cut me off a corner and it kinda of fell apart on me.  What I did taste was good.  The turkey was some of the moistest I had at a restaurant in a long time.  

Jen was nice enough to share what she thought about the sandwich:
"There were many things that I liked about Panini Pete's. The food was delicious and it had a nice atmosphere. I fell in love with the Roasted Turkey Panini. It is not like your typical turkey sandwich on the lunch menu. It was very flavorful and I like that the meat was shredded as opposed to the usual slice or two of turkey most restaurants serve. I also enjoyed the quinoa salad dish that came with it. It had a very unique but fresh taste! The servers were very friendly and attentive despite a packed house. The only disappointing thing about lunch was that I forgot to order the beignets! I will definitely return to Panini Pete's for lunch one day."

Jen's daughter, Ryan, may have been the highlight of our lunch date.  Panini Pete's had a decent kid's menu that range from a simple burger to a PB&J and a hot dog.  Ryan chose a hot dog with fries.  So for lunch, Ryan basically had fries and ketchup.  The hot dog went to complete waste because she wouldn't even touch it.  It was a good portion though.  I also wanted to show the fries.  It's thinner than an average fry and slightly thicker than what I would call a shoe string fry.

A word of warning for folks though.  Panini Pete's sweet tea is incredibly sweet.  I asked for 3/4 unsweet tea and a 1/4 sweet tea and found it to be too sweet.  I mean it was like I was drinking some simple syrup. I had them switch it out for completely unsweet tea because I couldn't handle it.  So unless you like your sugar with a little tea, I suggest you ask for half and half and go on from there. 

I really liked the space at Panini Pete's but you can definitely tell what kind of crowd it caters to.  There's a lot of 2 and 4 tops.  My party of 4 adults and a child really had only one option, which was a semi-circular booth in the corner.  It wasn't bad.  It just would have been slightly uncomfortable seating situation if we didn't beat the lunch crowd.

Our waitress was training a new server so it was a little awkward at times.  Especially when the new server tried to take some trays away before we were done with it.  Our waitress was very nice, prompt and knowledgeable. One of my friends was unhappy with her soda because the coke taste wasn't strong enough.  She switched it out for a sweet tea.  When our main waitress found out, she checked the machine, switched out the syrup and brought a fresh soda to the table just in case my friend still wanted a soda.  It was a very nice thing to do.

Panini Pete's is at nice location too.  It's just away from Dauphin Street not be in crowded but still in a central location.  If you're wondering, I would go from Government St. to Royal Street and turn up Conti St (next to the Holiday Inn).  The restaurant is on the corner of Conti and Conception Streets.  There's plenty of parking around and once you're full, it's just a short walk to Bienville Square to work it off and watch the squirrels.  Or if you're like my friends and I, we went on a short walk to Serda's on Royal St. for coffee and ice cream.

Panini Pete's on UrbanspoonTo check out Panini Pete's website and menu, click here.


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