Pandolfi’s Deli offers a friendly façade, with U.S. and Italian flags flying from the handsome building. Wrought iron street-side seating and striking awnings accentuate the 118-year-old structure.
Inside, fresh flowers decorate tables and the sound system plays blues. Massive multi-colored, distressed shutters create unusual wall décor inside the bright, spacious dining room with tall ceilings. Food orders are taken at the deli case and non-alcoholic beverages are self-serve.
Originally started in 2002, Pandolfi’s Deli was run by Mike and Linda Hendershot in Liberty, Mo. The family-run restaurant re-opened in July 2010 in Kansas City’s Columbus Park district at 538 Campbell Street, east of the City Market and has become a family favorite.
“Pandolfi’s long-time family recipes and welcoming atmosphere are what set [this deli] apart,” says owner Jake Hendershot. “We bring people together in a welcoming atmosphere, and then we give them amazing sandwiches and outstanding service.”
The deli offers more than a dozen regular sandwiches plus daily specials. The deli also serves pizza and pasta, pasta e fagioli (traditional Italian vegetable and pasta soup) or zuppa del giorno (soup of the day), and salads; and crafts its own ricotta cheese and sausage.
Pandolfi’s has sold more than 10,000 muffaletta sandwiches. Italian hard rolls from Le Monde Bakery, located in North Kansas City, cradle sandwich ingredients for about 80-percent of customers, Hendershot says. Thick marble rye, whole wheat, nine-grain, or Roma gluten-free whole grain breads are other choices. Hendershot’s favorite is the meatball sub.
A daily special sandwich, pulled pork balsamic barbecue had pleasantly sweet sauce and flavorful, long strands of shoestring potatoes on top. At the next table, a tiny girl put away a huge bowl of spaghetti with great gusto.
Chicken Milano is a newer sandwich, featuring whole milk mozzarella, tender chicken slices, sundried tomato pesto and bell pepper slices, inside a huge roll. Other newer sandwiches include Italian sausage, chicken muffaletta and the Pandolfi BLT, made with cheesy mayo. Macaroni salad has subtle pesto flavor with a touch of sweetness from cherry tomatoes.
Choose house-made brownies, lemon bars, or made-to-order cannoli decorated with chocolate and/or pistachio bits, for a sweet finish. Priced from $7-9 per glass, the wine list features mostly Italian and California whites, reds and ‘bubbles.’ Pandolfi’s also offers signature cocktails ($8-10) and a full bar.
“For three years we’ve listened and have grown our business based on the needs and wants of our guests,” Hendershot says. “Many of our guests are family and some even dine here two to four times a week. We are constantly trying to improve and expand our offerings.”