"I recognize your face," said a woman abruptly from across the deli counter. "You're the guy from The Patch -- the one who didn't add us to the poll, aren't you?!"
Guilty as charged!
While I was briefly flattered to be recognized as "the Concord Patch guy" -- a somewhat rare occurrence -- my naturally tan face felt like it had turned bright red for "being on the spotlight."
But I happily made the most of it while explaining my regret for somehow failing to include in the of best place to grab a sandwich in Concord last week.
Loyal customers didn't let me get away with it. Almost every Concordian I asked in person last week brought up "Parma."
Because a few folks cared enough to write the popular family owned business into the contest via our comments section and , Parma took second place in the contest, right behind Kinder's Custom Meats.
After catching quite a bit of flak for my mistake from folks all over town, I made sure to show up Friday afternoon at 3521 Clayton Road to see for myself what the buzz was all about. I wasn't planning to review the place, until the situation just presented itself.
"Its just that kinda place you feel good in... and about," said 45-year-old Derek Knapp, a fellow customer waiting in line for his order. "I changed their phone number with 9-1-1 in my speed-dial, too, since the police are always here," Knapp said with laughter after placing his order.
When it was my turn to order, I asked Mary Totah, the owner, and Nancy, the employee who recognized me, for the best sandwich Parma has to offer.
It didn't seem to take much thought. The two looked at each other, exchanged a couple of words, nodded and minutes later I found myself faced with a massive, meat-filled, "Italian Mix," brought right up to my table.
Boy, was I impressed. First, because of the mere size of the sandwich -- I was too hungry to actually spend time trying to measure it but trust me ... there was no lack of generosity here. It's one of those servings I stop and analyze just how I'll manage to fit into my mouth.
And second, I was impressed at just how delicious and fresh the entire experience was -- from the crunchy sourdough bread, to the tasty variety of sliced Italian meats, cheeses and to top it all, the genuine and caring customer service.
While I'm no food critic with a refined palate capable of pointing out the most minute differences between two types of wines, meats or whatever may be in question, I can tell you when I've eaten a great meal. And that is exactly what I did.
Parma truly stood out for me. I now know of a new old place to go to in Concord where I can get much more than just a meal.
I can't wait to go back and try their hot plates! What's your favorite? Let me know, below.