The Northside is going through a culinary renaissance. Fritzy’s Gourmet Deli in Spring Garden adds to the mix with a sure-to-please, homestyle approach.
Story and photos by Nick Eustis
The Northside is undoubtedly going through a culinary renaissance right now. Upscale contemporary dining spots like Siempre Algo and Fig & Ash have made waves in the past year. Fritzy’s Gourmet Deli, another recent addition to the Northside food scene, offers a classic, homestyle approach that’s sure to please.
Located just off of Spring Garden Avenue, Fritzy’s Gourmet Deli, run by Chef Rob Ganster and his fiancee Kimberly Gangloff, has been providing the workers and residents of Spring Garden and the greater Northside with quality, family-style meals since its opening in August 2018.
“None of our menu items are outrageously expensive,” Ganster said. He serves breakfast platters and sandwiches, hoagies, burgers, and specialty sandwiches, salads, soups, snackable finger foods, and desserts like cookies, pies, and cheesecake. “We try to keep our prices reasonable so that the common working man can enjoy the spice of life.”
Ganster knows the working life well: He’s been in the restaurant industry for over 30 years.
“I’ve worked at a few private restaurants, but my biggest influence was country clubs and golf clubs,” Ganster said. Gangloff, too, is no stranger to the restaurant business, having worked as a server years ago. Ganster always wanted to own his own business. He’s now fulfilled that dream, and in homage to the people who passed their love of food on to him, has made Fritzy’s a platform for his own family recipes.
“I’m Italian-Irish. My mom loved to cook, her mom loved to cook,” Ganster said. “Ninety-five percent of my recipes here …are old family recipes. They came from my great-grandmother.”
The influence of Ganster’s family history stretches beyond Fritzy’s menu items to include its name and logo, a lovable looking rabbit that bears the restaurant’s name.
“Our logo came from my parents,” Ganster said. “When they were dating, my dad didn’t have a lot of money, but he did have the talent to draw. So he drew the rabbit and she named it Fritzy.”
It is clear that Ganster takes immense pride in his heritage. He credits the quality of his work to the love of his craft passed on to him by his family.
“You can taste with every bite the love and passion I have [for] what I do here, and that all came from them,” Ganster said.
Ganster personally makes every menu item fresh daily, from potato chips to lasagna to his signature sandwiches, like the “Brooklyn,” made with homemade chicken salad, cheddar cheese, and bacon on Italian bread, and his take on the classic Reuben sandwich.
“The main thing here is everything is fresh and homemade. Nothing is frozen,” Gangloff said. “Chicken tenders, onion rings, cheese wedges, they’re all hand cut and breaded by [Ganster].”
Ganster even grows some of his own ingredients, including herbs like sage and rosemary and tomatoes, among others. He sources the rest from local markets.
“What I can’t grow myself, we get from farmers markets in the Strip [District], where I know where the food’s coming from, how it’s grown,” Ganster said. “That’s how I know it’s up to our standards.”
It is a formula that has been successful thus far. Fritzy’s has had steady business since its opening less than eight months ago, and since then, they’ve expanded their offerings beyond their Spring Garden location.
“We do deliveries, we go just about anywhere.” Ganster said. “We do catering, breakfast, lunch, dinner.”
Ganster also provides a ten percent discount for police, EMTs and firefighters. He was a volunteer firefighter for several years, and believes that ultimately, it’s the family friendly, community-first philosophy that puts Fritzy’s above the rest.
“We set ourselves apart because we treat every single person that walks through the door like family. Just like you would walk into your home, [your family is] happy to see you,” he said. “Unless they don’t like you,” he added with a laugh.
Fritzy’s Gourmet Deli is located at 1926 Spring Garden Ave., 15212 and is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Go to www.fritzysgourmetdeli.com for more information.