For some reason I got the impression that this place was going to be in the Vincenzo’s/David’s/Olive & Bean vein. Not so much. It’s more like… M&M Meats crossed with a diner. I was going to scan the flyer I picked up, but you can see it at the Papa Soly’s website. (As a side note, I googled “Papa Soly’s” and various permutations thereof this morning, and the website didn’t come up in the results. Perhaps a few marketing dollars directed at some search engine optimization and whatnot would not go awry…)
There are a few tables for eat-in customers, a wall of fridges/freezers full of pre-packaged foods, a dairy case with beverages and pre-packaged sandwiches and individually-wrapped sweets and such, and a steam table with the day’s specials for eat-in or takeout.
Their schtick is “Homestyle Foods”, and their target demographic is pretty clearly parents heading home from work and needing something to feed the family. Being located in Deer Ridge Plaza, right next door to the same-named neighbourhood doesn’t hurt, I’d imagine. Not being a parent, and having only a cat living with me, who doesn’t require much variety in his cuisine, I doubt I’ll be availing myself of their wares.
They appear to have everything in the fridges/freezers, from bags of frozen peas to steaks to cheesecakes. I gather they make a lot of the stuff, like, presumably, the “Premium Individual Stuffed Chicken Breasts” and “Our Own Homemade Conestoga Hamburgers”. I didn’t check, however, so I can’t confirm that. (And I believe the place is part of a chain, so I imagine we’re talking “corporate” recipes.) They have whole rotisserie chickens, too, which tend to be pretty popular.
The lunch offerings were a bit odd to me. I dunno about you, but I’m not really in the mood for a roast beef dinner at lunchtime. And yet, there in the steam table (sorry, “hot buffet”) was sliced roast beef, turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, corn, and gravy. There were cabbage rolls, chicken Kiev (or was it cordon bleu? I forget) and lasagna as well, and the flyer said there is chili and homemade soup, so I guess that’s what was in the pots with ladles.
I was more inclined towards one of the sandwiches, but I have a fairly strong phobia about pre-wrapped sandwiches, so I opted to try the lasagna. I got the small portion, which was $5.99, plus tax, so $6.14. Unlike the meat dinners, which apparently come with three sides, this came with… nothing. (Well, except the extra meat sauce the server ladled over it.) The portion wasn’t exactly gigantic, so I’d say it was a bit pricy. I’d recommend a side salad or garlic bread or something, but both of those as sides tend to be terrible most places, soooo… yeah. Behold:
It was a fairly simple lasagna. I make better, frankly. Mostly noodles and ground beef (and more meat in the tomato sauce). Not a lot of cheese, and no ricotta, spinach, or any of the other stuff that makes lasagna delish. And I’m not a big ground beef fan, so the meat with meat sauce wasn’t a huge draw for me. (Plus I like my lasagna more fleshed out with veggies and such.) When I opened the takeout container, the smell released instantly reminded me of Chef Boyardee, and the aftertaste of the tomato sauce reminded me distinctly of the tomato sauce on McDonald’s pizzas back in the day. (Remember those?) Those of you with actual nonas should probably steer clear.
I didn’t bother with any of the desserts, since they were mostly just squares and things, and really, you’re never going to get a Mennonite excited about squares. We can’t escape the damned things. Potluck? Squares! Funeral? Squares! Christmas? Squares squared!
On the plus side, the takeout container the lasagna came in was a nice weight plastic, and will make an excellent lunch or leftovers container. (What? I can’t help it… you should see my aunts’ cupboards…) Anyway, I doubt it’s going to become my regular lunch spot, especially not with City Cafe fairly close by. (Mmm… woodfire pizza and brownieeeeees…) There appears to be a pizza place going in next door to Papa Soly’s as well (I saw a guy installing the menu signs above the counter), so I’ll probably check it out at some point once it’s open.