Mike’s Pasta and Sandwich Shoppe has been creating anything-but-average sandwiches and homemade pastas locally in Nutley since September of 2019. Chef and owners Michael Carrino and Michael Cosenza have a unique take on Italian staples that is inventive and delicious. With offerings like tomato creste di gallo and a spicy grilled cheese with caciocavallo and provolone cheeses, tomato, and Calabrian pepper spread, you’ll be glad you stopped by. Read on to learn more about Mike’s Pasta + Sandwich Shoppe, located at 95 Harrison Street in Nutley.
About the Owners
Owners Michael Cosenza and Michael Carrino grew up locally in Belleville and Nutley, respectively. Prior to their venture at Mike’s, the two paired up to open Pig and Prince in Montclair, which closed in 2019.
After Pig and Prince, Mike Carrino says, “This was an opportunity that was put before us at the ideal moment. We had an idea in our heads to start a pasta shoppe and the deli portion got right into the concept as it matured.”
Where Mike’s stands now used to be a deli called Bill-Tone’s Deli, which Mike Carrino frequented during his childhood. The two took over the space to realize their vision of a shop that offers fresh pasta and pasta sauces. “PASTA is king!” Carrino told MG.
Mike’s is situated on a residential street in what looks like a common house — complementing the shop’s dedication to homemade goods. Upon entering, you will see cases of deli meats, refrigerators and freezers full of take-home products, and graffiti keeping with its updated and artistic attitude toward Italian deli and pasta classics.
The inside is small but the flavor it’s serving up is anything but. One of the highlights of a trip to Mike’s is its staff. The knowledgeable team is happy to guide customers as you pick out a sandwich for lunch and pasta/sauce for dinner later, suggesting ideal pairings between pastas and sauces.
See More: The Best Italian Delis in Hoboken
Mike’s has three menus — deli, pasta, and catering. The pasta and deli menus have consistent items that are available every day alongside separate menus for that week’s sandwich and pasta specials. Its weekly specials menu is available on Instagram. Each week, Mike’s offers pasta and sauce pairings available to take home and a new sandwich (or multiple) for the week. We recommending getting there to try its new offerings before they disappear.
The deli menu features some Italian classics along with some more basic deli classics like turkey + swiss and roast beef + cheddar. The fresh take on the Italian classics is a must-try. The quality of the product and the attention to detail make Mike’s sandwiches a step above the rest. The bread comes in locally from Di Vinci Bakery in Nutley. It’s crusty and soft, just what you want for a great sandwich.
There both are vegetarian and meat-lover options — making it a great place for anyone to stop by and enjoy. While the owners say the “chicken cutlet sandwich reigns supreme,” the fried eggplant sandwich is a close runner-up.
Carrino elaborated, “They are by far our best sellers, but all in all we have a great mix throughout the menu and we offer specials weekly changing it up often. We aren’t your traditional ‘Italian deli’ — we offer a wide array of specials such as Bahn Mi, roast pork Cubans, roast lamb with harissa aioli, and more.”
All of the pastas are made in-house and the freshness can be tasted. Mike’s offers extruded pastas like rigatoni and spaghetti, dumpling pastas like gnocchi, and stuffed pastas like ravioli. Every week, there are different flavors of pastas available. Mike’s is also dedicated to using local products. Carrino said, “We try to use locally-sourced produce and products whenever possible, particularly in the pasta portion of the operation.”
The sun-dried tomato pesto mezzaluna are a little sweet and very cheesy — perfect for a summer’s evening, and the saffron bucatini is entirely unique to Mike’s. Its weekly pasta take-home packs make dinner easy and delicious.
The owners just opened their second location in East Rutherford called Mike’s Pasta Shoppe. Partnering with Marcelli Fromaggi — an importer of cheeses and Italian specialty products — the new shop offers fresh pastas, prepared frozen meals, cheeses, meats, and other retail products. It does not offer any deli sandwiches but has a large selection of other goods.