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Giorgio's an old-school, all-Italian deli

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Sometimes, you just want a sandwich. Hot or cold, with a side order of peace and quiet and a cold glass of refreshment.

Giorgio's Deli in Stuart is your kind of place. Though in this concrete-block beauty, you can admittedly get more than a sandwich.

That plate comes with a side order of family-friendly attitude, too.

Tucked in between boatyards and car repair shops, you'd pretty much drive by it on your way to the Interstate or downtown Stuart. But stop the car, park in their tiny parking lot and go in. This is what an Italian deli used to look like, before marketing and megastores became the fashion. This shop has no fashion sense, only good Italian food.

You'll find the usual packaged goods: imported tomatoes (sauce, paste, diced, peeled), deli meats and cheeses, olives, olive oil, dried pastas, pizzelle cookies, wine and balsamic vinegars. You'll also enjoy some local fare (thrity-plus flavors of Upper Crust pies), but it's the homemade dishes that scores the biggest hit. There's fresh bread and pastries (the bread is usually a quick sellout), and their house-made sausage and meatballs, offered cold to go (in the small freezer near the door, along with frozen entrees and their own tomato sauce) or hot and ready for your sit-down in the small dining room.

The menu isn't elaborate, but again, this is about old-school deli: offering a limited menu of what the place does well. Cold and hot sub sandwiches (including pepper and egg, pork cutlet Parmigiana and a grilled Roma (fresh mozzarella, basil and tomato). There's lasagna and ziti, antipasti and salads. There isn't anything nouvelle or daring on the menu, and that's the point. You know what to expect when you come in. And you expect it to be excellent.

Prices are in keeping with the working-class vibe of the area: Just about everything, from the 10" subs to the salads, antipasti and hot entrees are priced from $7 to $8. And the folks who make these simple dishes every day also help you at the counter, ring up your purchases and genuinely wish you a good day.

You can buy Italian meals and ingredients all over. But it's nice to know that old school still rules, or at least has a firm foothold.

Giorgios' Italian Deli and Market, 132 West Monterey Road (just west of Kanner Highway), Stuart, FL. Phone (772) 287-5561. FAX: (772) 287-2278. Hours: Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Sunday. Indoor seating and catering available; phone orders accepted. NOTE: some Upper Crust pies require special advance ordering. Not all hot entrees are offered every day.

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