485 West St. (Rt. 116) 
Amherst, MA

Daily 11 am - 1:30 am

(413) 256-3663

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    A sandwich shop with European flair
Andiamo offers exotic delicacies for a reasonable price

By Regina Lynch

Andiamo. In Italian, it means “let’s go.” But to my American ears, it means “let’s go get paninis.”

A panini is an Italian sandwich, flattened in a grill. The bread is a soft baguette, pressed thin and lightly crusted with salt and herbs. The sandwiches may seem small at first, but don’t be fooled. At Andiamo, a sandwich shop almost hidden in a small plaza on Route 116 in Amherst , they are chock full of meats, vegetables, and cheeses and will leave you more than satisfied.

Andiamo specializes in this Italian sandwich specialty. Greg Stutsman and Timur Voskoboinik, co-owners of the shop, take it a step further by giving each of their sandwiches a different geographical theme. The Rome , for instance, consists of ham, fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil, while the New York contains roast beef, muenster cheese, and horseradish. For up to just $7, which is what Andiamo’s paninis go for, customers are transported to another world through the combinations of sauces and spices appropriate to the sandwich’s name.

Standing in the small shop, I appreciated a clean and simple décor, the focus of which is a row of clocks displaying times from countries all over the world. “We chose a tranquil blue color for the walls and tiled floor because it’s easy on the eyes,” said Voskoboinik. “Simplicity is really the theme of Andiamo.” While the restaurant serves mostly takeout and delivery orders, a few small, cheery, red tables offer in-house dining. No one was seated among the tables, but there was a steady flow of customers in and out for takeout, and a driver came and went with orders for delivery, available from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. These are also the shop’s daily hours. I took a seat and perused the blue, paper menu.

Andiamo doesn’t just serve paninis on its menu. Various colorful salads also make up its list of meal options; among them are the Prague , with sliced pears and maple balsamic vinaigrette, and the Andiamo, with portabella mushrooms and avocados. All the salad dressings are made in-house. This fact, along with the exotic ingredients in each of the salads, may contribute to their small size and semi-high price of $7.25.

The menu also carries various flavors of gelati, a popular Italian dessert. For $3.50, I ate my dessert before my meal, and closed my eyes at the light texture and rich flavor of the chocolate hazelnut dessert. Gelati can be done several different ways, with some coming out lumpy or too thick, but Andiamo is successful in consistency, which makes their gelati very pleasing to the palate.

Andiamo also offers packages, for both individuals and groups. For example, for $10.50, customers can purchase the gelato package, which consists of any panini or entrée salad, a gelati, and a beverage. A group rate package is $50.00, and contains five panini or entrée salads, five gelati or side salads, five bags of chips (Andiamo carries kettle chips), and five beverages.

In weighing my lunchtime options, I considered the Levante. This sandwich contains grilled chicken, fresh mozzarella, pesto, and sun-dried tomato aioli. The Bristol also caught my eye – ham, cheddar, sliced apple, and mustard make up this panini. I decided to be daring, and landed on the Charter Flight. This option allows customers to make a sandwich out of any four ingredients in any of the paninis on the menu. I constructed my culinary masterpiece out of grilled chicken, baby spinach, pesto, and mozzarella.

I ordered my sandwich from Voskoboinik. He and Stutsman, while co-owners, also often work the shop, along with other employees, all of which were friends with the two young men before the shop opened. Stutsman and Voskoboinik, both alumni from the University of Massachusetts Amherst , met in a comic book store, which was part of a retail chain of stores that Voskoboinik owned and operated for ten years. After three years, while on exchange in Oxford , Stutsman experienced the European style of dining and thought it would be a great niche market in a college town like Amherst . Two years later, Voskoboinik went to visit Stutsman, who was again on exchange, this time in Japan . The two hatched the idea for Andiamo, and opened the sandwich shop on July 10, 2003 .

As I sipped the Orangina drink I had grabbed out of the standup cooler in the corner, Voskoboinik told me about his and Stutsman’s future plans for the restaurant. “We’re looking forward to opening more stores,” he said. “Andiamo has been so successful in such a short time.”

The co-owners aren’t sure whether they will franchise or own the other locations, but, with the shop’s rapid growth, expansion is inevitable. “We think Andiamo is so popular because it’s an unusual menu for Amherst ,” Voskoboinik said. “There are a lot of unique stores in the center of town, and now we stand out as one-of-a-kind as well.”

One-of-a-kind or not, visiting Andiamo is a must. While the shop doesn’t have a huge range of selection on their menu, visitors to this quaint European sandwich shop will be more than pleased. Customers will leave the panini restaurant on Route 116 feeling full and satisfied after enjoying one of these delicious and unique meals.

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This website was created by the students of Journalism 375 at the University of Massachusetts 2005