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Al Parker - February 1st, 2010
When you’ve been voted the No. 1 sandwich maker in Traverse City for
eight years, you might get a little complacent.
But Donna Folgarelli is as energetic, optimistic and excited as if
she’s opening the doors on a spanking new business instead of
operating a TC landmark that has been dishing up delicious eats for
more than three decades.
“In addition to our 45 different sandwiches, soups, stews and chilis,
we’re on the upswing of offering European tastes of good, natural
foods at reasonable prices,” says the outgoing Folgarelli, who
operates Folgarelli’s Market and Wine Shop on Front Street.
After a highly publicized sale, bankruptcy and legal dispute closed
the eatery for a month or so last year, Folgarelli’s re-opened in May.
“I’m elated at the response to our re-opening,” says Folgarelli.
“Business has been dynamite. We had a fabulous summer and fall. Our
old customers are back and the summer tourists were glad to see us.
We’re like family to many of our customers.”
With the difficulties receding, customers are pleased to find that the
shelves of the market/deli are once again jammed with a wide-ranging
assortment of imported and domestic foods. Highlighting hundreds of
tasty offerings is a lineup of specialty and ethnic foods that can
only be found at Folgarelli’s.
“We offer our own Folgarelli’s Red Sauce, Folgarelli’s Olive Oils,
Marge’s Italian Dressing, Fox’s Garlic Dressing and more. There are
now eight products under our own Folgarelli’s label,” she explains.
“We also make our own fresh pasta, including spaghetti and fettuccine,
every day. It’s been very popular with our guests.”

But regular customers of Folgarelli’s know the shop has built its
reputation on the hefty sandwiches offered up at very reasonable
prices. Most are available on a selection of breads, including Italian
Ciabatta, Jewish Rye, Italian Panini breads or a Baguette.
It would take pages to list all the sandwich options available, but
here are a few of the most popular:

• Italian Combo with mortadella, capicolla, salami and provolone
topped with a drizzle of Italian dressing ($8.95)
• Chimp Boy Gravel Pants with smoked turkey, blue cheese, sun dried
tomatoes, pesto and Italian dressing ($8.95)
• Reuben with corned beef, Swiss cheese, Thousand Island dressing and
kraut, grilled on Jewish rye ($8.95)
• Rachel with turkey, Swiss Cheese, Thousand Island dressing and slaw,
grilled on Jewish rye ($8.95)
• Foxy Perfection with capicolla, genoa salami, provolone and olive
salsa with Italian dressing ($8.25)

The last sandwich is named in honor of Donna’s father, Boniface “Fox”
Folgarelli who founded the market in 1978.
An amiable entrepreneur who was popular with his regulars, Fox based
the store on the “old world” concepts that he had grown up with and
worked with since 1942 in Detroit. Since those humble beginnings,
Folgarelli’s Market and Wine Shop has become a “must stop” location
for foodies looking for gourmet items and quality wines at reasonable

The shop’s wine selection has grown over the years and now boasts more
than 2,000 labels. The staff takes pride in stocking the shelves with
wines that are not only hard to find in Northern Michigan, but
represent quality. Under the direction of Rob Crandall, the
knowledgeable staff is always available to help guests select the
right bottle for dinner or special events.
Folgarelli’s has also been involved in a recent series of wine tasting
events and dinners. Coming up in February are a Tuscan Bistro Dinner
and a special Bowers Harbor Inn Dinner. For more information on the
dinners, go to
“Catering has also evolved to become an important part of our
business,” explains Folgarelli. “Let us do your dinner and we’ll bring
it to you anywhere in Grand Traverse County or roughly a 50-mile
Another new addition to the eatery is a coffee bar that serves an
assortment of organic coffees, including a special Folgarelli’s blend.
Cappuccino, espresso and mochas are also available, along with
homemade scones and Italian cookies.

At 424 West Front Street in Traverse City, Folgarelli’s is open 9:30
a.m. to 6:30 p.m Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Takeout and catering is
available by calling (231) 941-7651. For more information go to

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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