Coup d'Etat vs. Porchetteria: Walk-up window warfare
Amy Dahlin Rapini porchetta sandwich at Porchetteria
Sometimes you just gotta eat. When racked with an impatient, irrational hunger, the rigmarole of parking the car, getting a table, pondering menus as thick and impenetrable as a quarterly prospectus, waiting for your food when you run out of things to say, and remembering to use your knife and fork to feed yourself can seem like just too much. This is what pushes people through the fast food drive-thru time and time again. But what if there was an alternative? What if, somewhere, there was a tiny place with a limited menu of real, dig-in-with-your-hands victuals flung out to you and yours in a matter of seconds? Thanks to the addition of restaurants with walk-up windows, two very different neighborhoods know the answer to these questions.
Amy Dahlin Pastrami sandwich and cheese curds at Coup d'etat
Both places are the same: a wall, a window, and a couple of places to perch and eat. Porchetteria at Terzo Vino Bar is a new addition to the Broder's empire, which dominates three of the four corners at the intersection of 50th Street and Penn Avenue. Conveniently located in Terzo's parking lot, Porchetteria is next to a bus stop and within easy walking distance of the surrounding shops. In the heart of the revamped Uptown, Coup d'Etat's walk-up window faces the Lagoon Theater and is a significant improvement over the empty parking lot that once stood in its place.
Coup d'Etat is one of the newest Uptown eating additions; locally-owned Jester Concepts has launched this vibrant, chef-driven place to meet the needs of a young and hip crowd. In contrast, Broder's has been a staple of Italian food in South Minneapolis for over 30 years. Their niche in the local food scene already includes a more formal restaurant, a deli counter, and a wine bar. That history gives them the edge going in.
Round 1: The sandwich
Both places feature a limited menu of hot sandwiches and easy sides. Coup d'Etat's current sandwich is hot pastrami on a pretzel roll. It is big enough to share and salty enough to taste good after one or several drinks. Unfortunately, even with the mustard and sauerkraut, the sandwich only tastes like one thing. The roasted pork sandwich at Porchetteria is more complex. The grilled vegetables and creamy garlic/parsley aioli sink into the ciabatta and meat, providing a perfect, slightly spicy bite every time.