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Hungry Girl’s Guide: La Grotta Del Formaggio

July 26, 2010

The beautiful thing about living on Commercial Drive is that I can literally roll out of bed, walk a few steps and walk into some of the most awesome restaurants, coffee shops and grocery stores in Vancouver. Today my mom wanted to visit La Grotta Del Formaggio for their famous Panini, my mom’s sorority sisters are coming from Houston, Seattle, Arizona and Europe to convene in Vancouver in two weeks time and this is one of the places she wanted to take them to.

While many companies are trying to figure out social media and creating buzz through gimmicky marketing, here is La Grotta Del Formaggio quietly going about their way. Established since 1979, still in its original location and operated by the Bruzzese family that founded the business. Without a website, advertising or any social media accounts – every weekend you can find long lines of people eagerly waiting to order their sandwiches. For as long as I can remember, La Grotta Del Formaggio consistently made the top 3 for Georgia Straight’s Golden Plate Awards as voted by Readers, going as far back as 2006 for Best Sandwich and Best Deli. This year they added Best Specialty Cheese Store to their long list of accolades. No Twitter or Facebook campaigns, no big push at the store to vote for them… they quietly go about their ways and their loyal patrons show their appreciation by voting for them every year.

The store focuses on providing high quality ingredients and the best customer care – that too is one important aspect of marketing that people forget. It is not just about speaking to people through advertisements; you make an impression through the quality of your product and your customer service. This is why La Grotta Del Formaggio has sustainability and enjoys longevity versus other small businesses who spend a disproportionate amount of investment in advertising and leave little to train their staff or ensure that they consistently deliver high quality products each and every time to their patrons.

La Grotta Del Formaggio has done something that a lot of small businesses, large companies and even some agencies have not been able to do – creating an army of loyal patrons who through their influence is creating and sharing information about the deli for their network to find and consume. On every prolific social media network, you can find La Grotta Del Formaggio with glowing reviews. Yelp, Twitter, Urbanspoon, influential blogs, magazines, newspaper and that’s just not in Vancouver but also in other places in the world.  There is also my mom, who in a few weeks time will be the unintentional La Grotta Del Formaggio promotion person to introduce her sorority sisters from different parts of the world to this deli.

Now to understand why people are so loyal and they can’t stop talking about this deli, you have to come here to see their selection of cheese, olive oil, candies, pasta and more importantly, well for me, experience one of their Paninis.

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La Grotto Del Formaggio - Interior

La Grotto Del Formaggio – Interior

La Grotta Del Formaggio - Specialty Cheese Selection

La Grotta Del Formaggio – Specialty Cheese Selection

Each panini is customized according to your taste – with a huge variety of cheese, meat and toppings selection to choose from, the possibilities are endless!

La Grotto Del Formaggio - Specialty Panini

La Grotto Del Formaggio – Specialty Panini

They are not shy about loading up each panini with a huge mound of meat, cheese and toppings. My favorite cheese is smoked mozzarella, paired with huge helping of prosciutto de parma and generous amount of pickled eggplant.

La Grotto Del Formaggio - Specialty Panini

La Grotto Del Formaggio – Specialty Panini

Finger-licking good panini, again I can’t really describe how awesome their panini is. I lack the proper foodie vocabulary and the fine taste buds to tell you the distinguishing flavors but all I can tell you is if you have not been here, you are seriously missing out!

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