So, you’ve tried it all before … wraps, calzones, subs and even artisan ciabatta bread. You might be thinking you’ve seen everything the sandwich world has to offer. Well, surely you’ve had a good ole American-style panini then right? How about a panino? What’s that you say? Never heard of that?
Enter the panino from Trasca and Co. Eatery, located right here in Ponte Vedra. If you’re like most people, a panini generally means a thick, bready sandwich pressed between two grills that is sometimes great, and other times well … not so great. At Trasca and Co., they do their own version of this handcrafted Italian staple a little differently. Recently, we were invited out to try this new restaurant and the results were an amazing lunch that proved to be both filling and scrumptious.
Sara Trembath, the owner of Trasca and Co., recently gave us some insight to her backstory, and why she chose to bring her family’s amazing recipe to our area. Read on to find out more.
Tell me about the family recipe and your grandmother. How did she get the idea?
Sara: My grandmother, Everetta Frasca, owned a small pizza shop in Colorado Springs in the ‘70s. She got the idea to take the secret family dough recipe and roll it flat, bake it with meats and cheeses and then roll it up into a sandwich. It started as a special and caught on almost immediately. The pizza shop was originally called Pizza Plus. When the Panino started outselling the pizza, they eventually changed the name of the restaurant to Paninos!
Is Jacksonville the first place to have paninos? What made you decide to set up shop here?
Sara: We are fortunate to have started with a tried-and-true product. My family has been selling Paninos since 1974, in more full service type Italian restaurants. We took the Panino and developed our own concept around it, with a really focused menu. We also elevated the quality of the ingredients to make it even more delicious.
When we moved to the Beaches area, we honestly thought we had found paradise! This place is amazing. We looked at the Ponte Vedra area, however, and thought there was a void in the kind of places that we like to eat personally. We love amazing food, in a casual, lively environment. We have people come in with suits and ties, shorts and flip flops and everything in between – which is just how we want it to be! Hopefully, we’re bringing a little different vibe, and a one-of-kind product to the area!
What’s special about the dough? How is it made?
Sara: If I told you I would have to kill you! No just kidding. Good dough starts with good flour – we love the flour from Bay State Milling – they mill with care. Dough is the key to everything we do. Anyone who has worked with it, knows just how finicky it can be. Altitude, humidity, and water all make a huge difference. We are fortunate to have some amazing kitchen folks that have tweaked the recipe to get it just right. With Chef Trey at the kitchen’s helm, we know that we’ll always have handcrafted deliciousness!
What are some of the crowd favorites? (Best/popular paninos)
Sara: The biggest hits on the menu so far have been the Spaghetti Pie (the only panino that has sauce over the top – it’s smothered in our homemade marinara), the Buffalo Bleu, the Cajun Ranchero, and the Turkey Avocado. The craft coffee, soda, and our Mud Pie dessert have also been shining stars!
How has the reception been so far?
Sara: We have really been blown away by the response from the community thus far. We feel really fortunate to have received such amazing support! We think it’s a sign that people in the area really were looking for something different. Thank you to everyone that has come out to give us a try. For those still planning on it, we look forward to serving you!
Where do you get your ingredients? (Meats, veggies, etc.)
Sara: We believe that you truly can taste the difference with great ingredients. So, we have taken great care to source the best ingredients we can get our hands on – whether it’s the Rustichella pasta in the Spaghetti Pie, or Ashley Farms Free Range Chicken, Farmer Sy’s All Natural Turkey, Nueske’s Bacon, and the lists goes on and on. We’re going to take the approach of always looking to incorporate new ingredients whenever we see an opportunity to make our food more delicious.
What else do you guys offer? (Coffee, beer, wine, etc.)
Sara: Our tagline is Handcrafted Deliciousness – so we have tried to make all of our offerings live up to this billing. We have hand tossed salads, cracker pizzas, our yummy little Panino Sticks. We serve the best craft coffee we could get our hands on from Zingerman’s Coffee Co in Ann Arbor, MI, craft soda from Puck’s, a nice selection of craft beer and wine. And, did I mention the Mud Pie (to die for!)
What do you hope customers find upon visiting Trasca and Co.?
Sara: Our mission is to deliver great food, great service, and a great experience. I truly believe that we have the best team in the business. They are so fun and energetic. We have also tried to create an eclectic, vintage, quirky kind of space that brings a little different vibe than other places in town. Ultimately, we hope to make the community a little more culturally vibrant in some small way.
Interested in trying out your own panino? Visit Trasca and Co. Eatery at 155 Tourside Dr, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL 32082.