Bill Sampino knows what he’s doing. After 17 years at David Berkley, he could do this in his sleep. If an individual could have the specialty foods business running his veins without his blood turning to cherry tomato compote, then Bill Sampino would. Opened a little over a year ago in a dismally unprepossessing shopping strip on 16th Street, Sampino’s Towne Foods is a realized gem along an otherwise confused corridor. Specializing in Italian meats, sandwiches, hot foods, and sundries, the store is a retirement project for Bill, who runs the shop with his son. And for a retirement project, it’s a pretty fleshed out operation. Other than the limited hours (10-4, six days a week), there doesn’t appear to be any corner-cutting going on at Sampino’s. And, if anything, the limited hours allow Bill & Co. to produce small batches of hand-made, top-quality food.
If you’ve been to David Berkely, or the deli at William Glenn, or the Italian Importing Co. on J Street, you know what you’re getting into. Sampino isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, just grease it up with a little EVOO and send it on its way. The last visit I made to the ‘Towne, I was treated to perhaps the best sandwich I’ve ever had (and I eat a lot of sandwiches). Prosciutto, focaccia, balsamic vinegar, roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, hot sauce–it was absolutely perfect. On another visit, I picked up a piece of lasagna for dinner later and it turned out, after a little reheating, to be a solid, delicious piece of lasagna, no frills, no weaknesses.
The food is fresh, scrumptious, and obviously prepared with care and without flaws. If you can find some time in your day to slide down 16th Street, you’d be doing yourself a favor to drop in on Bill Sampino. While you’re in the neighborhood, check out the Blue Diamond gift shop and the Salvation Army and all the other attractions of north 16th.
Sampino’s Towne Foods- 1607 F St (16th & F), Sacramento
Food**** Atmosphere**** Service***