Restaurant: 320 Market Cafe
Address: 21 W State Street, Media, PA 19063
Rating: (out of 5 stars): ★★★★
Style: Deli and cafe-style—order at the counter and eat in (limited eat-in seating available) or take out
Food: Paninis, hoagies, hot and cold sandwiches, cheeses, breads, meat and some other offerings
Parking: Street parking
Service: Friendly and casual
Price Range: Moderate ($6 to $10 for a sandwich)
Media's recently opened is a outpost of the market's Swarthmore location, which has developed quite a loyal customer base over the past 20 years. It's easy to see why: even the new Media location—which focuses more on ready-made items than the Swarthmore market—features a variety of artisanal cheeses, fresh-baked breads and thoughtful, fresh sandwiches.
In an interview I did back in November with David Cunicelli, who owns 320 with his brother Jack, Cunicelli told me the brothers know there's a lot of competition for food in Media.
"We concentrate on things we know really well," he said. "In Media, where there's such a competition for food … the more items we have that compete with other places, the less ability we have to showcase our unique qualities. No one does what we do with the same depth, or with the quality of some of the offerings we have."
I've heard enough people rave about 320's cheeses and their amazing pico de gallo to know that those offerings are sure bets. But, what I wanted to know from my visit was, how do 320 Market Cafe's sandwich options stack up?
I called ahead late afternoon on a Monday to place my order, and started reading off a few of the most appetizing-sounding sandwiches I found on the online sandwich menu. As I placed my order for the first sandwich—the roasted vegetarian sandwich with goat cheese—the employee told me that the online menu I was looking at was the Swarthmore menu (which appears to be the only version of the menu online).
Media's offerings, which the employee quickly recited, were similar, but pared down. That veggie sandwich was the only one of my picks that was unavailable.
I settled on four sandwiches to try: the turkey and arugula panini ($6.99), grilled eggplant parmesan ($7.99), calabrese con proscuitto ($8.99), and the Italian special hoagie ($7.50). Don't worry: I wasn't the only one consuming this mountain of food.
Overall, the sandwiches included fresh ingredients in fairly simple combinations.
The tomatoes on my calabrese con proscuitto, for example, were ripe and flavorful—though they did completely soak through the bread before I made it through Media's rush hour traffic to State Street to pick them up, making my sandwich adventure tasty, but soggy.
The broccoli rabe, which I tried on the grilled eggplant parmesan sandwich, was full-flavored and delicious; it was one of the highlights of the trip.
Both the eggplant parm and the Italian Special (the latter of whcih I did not try personally, but a friend really enjoyed) were constructed on hearty rolls that stood up to the rest of the sandwich ingredients.
The vegetarian among us appreciated the eggplant parm—grilled eggplant, homemade marinara, broccoli rabe, sharp provolone, roasted peppers—for its moistness and substance despite the lack of meat. As a meat eater, I liked it for its lightness: the eggplant stood on its own, and didn't need to be fried and drenched in grease to be substantial. It also paired well with the marinara, cheese and broccoli rabe.
My one real complaint was the amount of arugula on my turkey and arugula panini (with pesto and mozzarella). The bitter arugula overpowered the mild turkey; it seemed like the herb would have been better paired with a stronger-tasting meat. But once I removed some of the arugula, the pesto had its chance to shine.
Overall, our experience at 320 Market Cafe was pleasant. And with high-quality ingredients, it's hard to go wrong.
320 Market Cafe in Media is open 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. It's located at 21 W. State Street, Media, and food is available for eat-in, or pick up: 610-565-8320.
Have you tried any of the three newest restaurants in Media yet? .