The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Review | Baldarottaʼs Porketta & Sicilian Sausage is a hidden gem of Urbanaʼs food scene


Everyone loves a good hearty sandwich, and with an abundance of chains on campus, eating the same sandwich all the time can get tiring. 

Located in the Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, you can find a unique and family-run Italian sandwich shop. 

What looks like a food court is actually Baldarottaʼs Porketta & Sicilian Sausage. The restaurant is organized into two sections: a sandwich shop and a gelateria.

When making the trip over, you won’t have to worry about dietary restrictions or getting your money’s worth. Baldarotta’s offers vegan and vegetarian options while filling up your plate with generous portion sizes. 

If you’re not too hungry, there’s no need to worry — you can opt for the 4-inch sandwich instead of the standard 8-inch.

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The chicken parmesan sandwich, consisting of the common breaded chicken cutlet, mozzarella, provolone and marinara sauce all within crispy focaccia bread, was mouth-watering. 

What was unique was the inclusion of a basil pistachio pesto and roasted tomatoes. The marinara sauce was well-seasoned, giving you hints of various herbs. The chicken parmesan sandwich could have used more sauce with the breaded chicken, but the pesto and roasted tomatoes balanced out the flavoring well. 

Switching to the cold sandwich selections, the menu features the popular muffalata. Originally from New Orleans, the sandwich traditionally contains a variety of hams and cheeses. 

Baldarottaʼs version had a selection of pistachio mortadella, genoa salami and capicola ham. For cheese, it was a simple combination of mozzarella and provolone with an olive relish spread. 

These hams and cheeses were served with focaccia bread, just like the chicken parmesan. While there is a simple olive spread, it definitely overpowered the meats and cheese. Those who don’t like olives should steer clear of this sandwich. 

Another cold sandwich that is possibly even more delicious is the guido. This sandwich has all the ingredients you could dream of, consisting of turkey, capicola, pepperoni, ham and salami, topped with lettuce, pickles, red onions and hot giardiniera. 

The condiments include a unique italian vinaigrette and “dijonnaise” spread on a hoagie. Taking a bite out of this sandwich requires bold eaters who are ready to get their hands dirty. 

While it was a mouthful, it was worth it. With each bite, you got to taste each meat and appreciate its flavorful contribution to the sandwich. 

Customers wanting to get creative also have the option to make their own sandwiches. You can handpick the features of your sandwich, from its size to its meats and toppings. 

This serves as a good alternative to the premade sandwiches that don’t allow for substitutions. This is clearly written in the menu with the disclaimer “NO SUBS, NO MODS!” 

While Baldarotta’s is advertised as a sandwich shop, other menu items did not fail to satisfy. 

The basil pesto tortellini salad was a phenomenal pasta salad filled with flavor. It was a simple dressing combination of pesto, parmesan, parsley and olive oil. With each bite, you can taste the cheese-filled tortellini covered in a nutty pesto brought to life by the bright parsley. The olive oil was not mild but rather a spicier oil that was quite pronounced. 

The restaurant additionally had a broad selection of Italian sodas to choose from. These sodas are made of three basic ingredients — soda water, flavored syrup and ice. 

What makes these sodas more exciting is the variety of flavors they come in, which range from fruits to spices. The cheery and lime flavor had a medicinal aftertaste, possibly from the cherry flavoring. While not unbearable, it wasn’t incredibly pleasant. 

To close off the meal with a sweet treat, Baldarotta’s Gelateria had a variety of baked goods to try. The seasonal cookie was an Autumn spice cookie that was perfectly baked with a mild spice flavor. 

The next dessert was the raspberry chocolate chip cannoli filled with raspberry ricotta cheese filling and covered in chocolate chips. This was a very different cannoli because it was more bright in flavor with the raspberry essence, but also cozy with the chocolate chips. 

The star of the show was the pistachio gelato. While pistachio-flavored gelatos are often made with artificial flavorings in contrast to being made with real pistachios, this wasn’t the case at Baldarotta’s. 

The first bite proved to be a flavorful bomb of the nutty and creamy combination of pistachios and dairy. Their gelato served as a happy surprise to end the food adventure at Baldarotta’s Porketta & Sicilian Sausage. 


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