The Former MELAMPO Now Alidoro
Where has The Panini Nazi Gone? This is a question, some of the age of 35 and over in New York’s Southern Greenwich Village and Soho might ask. Others too, in other New York neighborhoods who made it over to a great little sandwich shop called Melampo. Melemapo is now diseased No longer in business. The owner, one Alessandro Gualandi, also-known-as “The Panni Nazi” ran his little sandwich shop on Sullivan Street between Spring and Prince Streets in what is now known as Soho, but for me and many “like” me, this is still known as The Village. Alessandro came to New York from Florence Italy. He used to work as a waiter at the famed Florentine Restaurant in New York “Da Silvano” owned by fellow Florentine Silvano Marchetto .. Alessandro was a hard worker who established himself in New York, saved up some money, then opened his own little heaven, one Melampo Sandwich Shop in South Greenwich Village (Soho) New York …
Alessandro was a passionate man, especially about food as any self-respecting Italian would be. He created his little shop of Hand-Crafted Italian Sandwiches (Panini) .. He made a menu, whereby all the Panini had their own names. Names like; Geppetto, Julia, and such. I can’t really remember all the names. The thing is, Alessandro had rules, and you better abide by them. He was an artist after all. You ordered a Panino (Sandwich) by name, and that was it. What it said on the menu describing the sandwich and the ingredients in any particular one was what you got. If the name was Marcello (named for the late great Italian actor Marcello Mastrianni) and the menu said the sandwich was made of Prosciutto, Mortadella, and Provolone, then that’s what you got. You couldn’t ask Alessandro to leave something off or add something to a particular sandwich. He would not have it. He was a temperamental artist, and you’re not going to ruin the balance of one of his masterful creations by altering it. If you, din’t like it you could leave, “and believe Me many did.” Alessandro could care less, he was an artist. Thus the moniker “Panini Nazi” there was no other. And not everyone knew his name, real or nickname.
Alessandro was a character yes, and many (including myself) loved that about him. Alessandro is still alive. He’s retired. I seeing walking the streets of Soho and going for his morning coffee.
Alessandro and his little sandwich shop “Melampo” became famous. he made great sandwiches and sometimes the line would go out the door. And if you were in line, don’t make any comments for Alessandro to hurry up, he took his time. He was an artist, a master sandwich maker, and you better not say anything to upset him.
Yes we miss him, Alessandro and his little sandwich shop Melampo. the shop is still there. It’s now called Alidoro and run by someone else. It’s much the same, they make good sandwiches, but Alessandro is gone, and so are all the “Rules” and quirkiness. We miss that …