Bellacino's Pizza & Grinders is a chain restaurant all over the United States. I had never heard of, nor seen, one though, so I was definitely willing to try something new. We ventured to Bluefield, Va, for this small restaurant. Boasting "Grinders," which is what I would think of as a sub or hoagie, Bellacino's is the typical, run-of-the-mill fast Italian shop. It's small on the inside, with about a dozen seating areas. It seems as if most orders are to-go, as you order at the counter and the only menus are takeout ones or the one beneath the Plexiglas-glass on the counter.
After taking in the scenery - a little chef plastered on every piece of merchandise and the name "Bellacino's" splatter everywhere else - we grabbed a takeout menu, sat down and figured out our game plan. This is when I realized this wasn't a hometown cooking sort of restaurant ... when a restaurant has the ability to put their name on every thing, including the glass chandelier opposite of "coca-cola," they have some money. I knew immediately that I wanted the Italian grinder, their house specialty, because if they're saying that's the best thing on their menu, I have to have it. It had ham, sausage, salami, mushrooms, onions, green peppers, cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and mayonnaise. Chris opted for a meatball grinder, which is probably what I would've liked had I not gotten their specialty. We also ordered a small (8") pizza with black olives to split.
I couldn't quite make eating this sandwich pleasant. It was very messy, and the ingredients were just slopped together. In one bite, I had all green pepper and onions. In another, I had only sausage and salami. I had a few occasional bites where most of the ingredients met, but they were few and far between. Instead, I received a sandwich that didn't impress. Eating plain sausage or plain green peppers doesn't cut it for me. Beyond that, the ingredients alone weren't impressive. I felt as though I was munching on a convenience store hoagie for $2. Which is okay.
Chris's grinder tasted much better. It was almost exactly like a Subway meatball sub, which I love, so it received high marks in my book. The meatballs were sliced, though, which was odd to me. It isn't necessarily a meat"ball" sandwich anymore, but it does seem as though it's easier to eat that way.
The pizza also was right down the middle - not great, not bad. Nothing stood out to me, and I probably wouldn't order it again. I would indulge if it was free, but it's not anything special to chase after. Overall, that was the impression I got with the whole restaurant - nothing impressed me, but I didn't dislike anything. Everything was just ... average.