The classic Italian from Ramona’s, a new sandwich shop on Washington Avenue in Portland. Photo by Meredith Goad

Ramona’s, the new hoagie shop from Chad Conley and Josh Sobel on Portland’s ultra-hip inner Washington Avenue, was just about to open earlier this spring when the pandemic hit. Then, in April, the shop started selling its sandwiches on weekends, usually selling out. Last week, Ramona’s officially opened for good, seven days a week, although it’s sticking with takeout only for now.

On opening day, they had to close early because they sold out again. I’m not quite sure I understand the crazy anticipation for a sandwich shop – it’s probably a combination of Conley’s involvement (he is co-owner of the Palace Diner in Biddeford and owner of Rose Foods in Portland) and the mouthwatering photos posted on Instagram. I decided I had to check it out on its second official day in business.

Ramona’s recently opened at 98 Washington Ave. in Portland. Photo by Meredith Goad

Orders can be phoned in or placed online. Once an order is placed, they start making the sandwich. (No ordering hours ahead.) I chose the classic Italian sandwich for $13, which comes with mortadella, hot capicola, sopressata, sharp provolone, lettuce, tomato, onion, olive salad and hoagie dressing. I added mayo for 50 cents extra. (First time I’ve ever been charged extra for mayo, I think, and I’m not sure I get it. You can also add a Calabrian chili spread for $1 or fried eggplant for $3. Those upcharges I understand. Mayo? Not so much.)

I also bought a chopped salad for $5 that I planned to save for later. The salad was made with greens, chickpeas, red onion, cucumber, tomato, provolone, and pepperoncini dressing.

I paid for my order with a credit card (they are not accepting cash at this time) and pressed send. I placed the order at 11:23 a.m. and got texts just a minute or two later telling me the order had been received and accepted. The website tells you it will take 15-30 minutes from the time the order is placed until it is ready for pickup. I got a text at 11:43, just 20 minutes after I ordered, telling me it was ready.

When I got to Ramona’s, there was a steady stream of customers coming up to the door to pick up their food. A young woman wearing a mask brought each order out and set it on a table placed by the door.

Now here’s what you really want to know: Yes, the sandwich was delicious – and huge. It can easily be split with someone, or half saved for later. Ramona’s does not skimp on the meats and cheese, and the roll (made by Rosemont Market) was outstanding – thick and chewy, and topped with sesame seeds.

Ramona’s chopped salad. Photo by Meredith Goad

Other sandwiches on the menu include a roast pork sandwich with broccoli rabe and provolone; the Grand Street, a fried eggplant cutlet with mozzarella, roasted long hots, pesto, arugula and balsamic vinegar; and The Melrose, which is made with tuna salad, marinated artichokes, roasted peppers, red onion and mixed greens.

Ramona’s also does breakfast sandwiches and sides of hash browns. I’d like to try one of the breakfast sandwiches next – perhaps the Ramona Roll, which comes with eggs, Cooper sharp cheese, bacon, and broccoli rabe.

Give Ramona’s a try, not just for the good food, but because it’s nice to see a business opening for a change. Let’s give it some community support.


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