Tradition Reigns at Neto’s Market & Grill

Neto's "burger,'' a thick sausage patty in a sub.

People have endured a lot to get their Neto’s sausage fix.

My husband, Meat Boy, included.

At its tiny, hidden away, former location at The Alameda and Harrison Street in Santa Clara, the third-generation Neto Sausage Company would sell its grilled Portuguese sausages at lunch-time to a hungry crowd in need of hefty sub sandwiches.

But the sandwiches were only offered on Tuesdays and Fridays. And only weather permitting — since the sausages were grilled outdoors.

Good luck to those who weren’t familiar with the “system,” too. You’d get in one line at the grill to pick your cooked meat, then carry it in an aluminum tray inside the store to get into another line. You would hand your meat to the counter-person, who’d ask you what kind of bread, condiments, and chips you wanted. Next, you’d wander over to the cooler to pick a beverage, then get into yet another line to pay for your lunch and to pick it up. Whew, got all that? This game of musical lines happened in a very narrow, very cramped space, too.

Even with all that, the ever-present line out the door was a testament to just how good the sausages are. Of course, there was never a place to sit once you got your sandwich; the place was just too teeny to have tables and chairs.

Earlier this year, though, Neto’s Market & Grill opened at 1313 Franklin St. in the old VFW building in what could be considered palatial in comparison to the old location. Plenty of tables and chairs here in what’s more than four times the size of the old place. Grilled sausage sandwiches are available every day now. Plus a whole lot more — fried calamari ($10.99), penne and sausage ($10.99), and even cioppino $16.95).

There’s even a sizable deli/market in the front, where you’ll find everything from dried beans, frozen raviolis, quince paste, canned sardines, air-dried beef from Uruguay, and even a frozen coiled-up octopus. A decent selection of cheeses, hot dogs, and of course, sausages of all manner, also are available by the pound to tote home to cook.

Meat Boy and I were there for the sandwiches, though, which we took home to eat.

The ordering has been streamlined. You get in line (yes, that hasn’t changed) to place your order. Then, you wait until your name is called to pick up your order.

Neto’s is known for its “burgers.” They’re actually big patties of ground sausage. Choose from linguica, Italian with herbs, andouille, calabrese, or herb & onion — that’s grilled and plopped on your choice of bread.

Grilled chicken breast sandwich with incredible onion rings.

Meat Boy chose his usual, Italian with herbs ($7.99). I opted for the grilled chicken breast ($8.99).

Just as before, you get a drink and chips with your sandwich. But now, for $1.50 more, you can get fries or onion rings instead, which is what we did. Good thing, too, because these thick-cut onion rings were some of the best I’ve had in a long time.

My chicken sandwich was enormous. I’d order it again, but next time on different bread. The Neto’s folks call it focaccia, but it’s quite thick, dry and crisp. It was simply too much bread, and I ended up eating at least half of my tender, nicely cooked chicken by itself instead.

Meat Boy’s Italian with herbs sausage sandwich was really meaty, juicy and robustly seasoned. I can see why he and so many others are addicted to these “burgers.” I also can picture this sausage as the star of a tasty Thanksgiving stuffing.

Neto’s may have moved into bigger digs. But the company, which has been perfecting the art of sausage-making since 1948, continues to deliver on flavor and tradition as always.

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Date: Thursday, 22. October 2009 5:15
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20 comments

  1. 1

    Those “burgers” look outstanding! I’m now getting very hungry!

  2. 2

    Funny, I just discovered the place this week. Literally — I was cruising along and spotted it. The sandwich was large and very fresh. I will be stumbling upon the place again, soon!

  3. 3

    For some reason, that onion ring looks so enticing, and you know I hate fried foods!

  4. 4

    Single Guy: “I hate fried foods”

    I am sorry, I can’t understand that sentence. ;)

  5. 5

    Yum, another good sounding place to try, thanks!

  6. 6

    Moe: I’ve taunted Single Guy many a time about his aversion to fried foods. Yes, a man who won’t touch French fries or onion rings, but will happily eat bbq ribs and pork belly. I think we need to do an intervention on Single Guy. ;)

  7. 7

    Moe/FoodGal, let me break it down …

    Fried onion rings or French fries: bathed in oil and feeling greasy

    BBQ ribs and pork belly: tender meat often lathered in sweet and tangy sauce. Mmmmm.

    Nuf said. :P

  8. 8

    that’s a lot of effort for a sandwich but it must mean they are absolutely delicious! and they look it too. yum yum. x

  9. 9

    These sandwiches look sublime and much better with the onions.
    I’ve no problem with fried foods, from time to time, but with need some workout to compensate :)

    Cheers!

    Gera

  10. 10

    Single Guy: “bathed in oil and feeling greasy”

    Well now, that’s -bad- fried food.

    But regardless, we agree on: “BBQ ribs and pork belly: tender meat often lathered in sweet and tangy sauce. Mmmmm.” I am always on the lookout for that.

  11. 11

    I’m putting this on our “must try” list for when hubby and the teenager feel meat deprived… ;) And we’ll have to get the onion rings; I think hubby has been wanting to get some for months… :)

  12. 12

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by CarolynJung, Herbs News!. Herbs News! said: Food Gal » Blog Archive » Tradition Reigns at Neto's Market & Grill http://bit.ly/3MGmRq [...]

  13. 13

    I love fried foods from time to time but I like to make the dishes as that more healthier too,..

    The food looks delicious though!

  14. 14

    I didn’t know that Neto’s moved. I go there during the holidays for my Portuguese cooking ingredients. Now I gotta try one of the sausage burgers.

  15. 15

    I went back there again today, with fellow foodie friend, Butch. I had Meat Boy’s favorite, the italian-herb sausage burger with what they called focaccia but I would call ciabatta. And onion rings.

    We both liked what we had but it’s not without faults. The one serious flaw was that the sausage burgers were over-salted (by quite a bit). The onion rings were good but I like to see a serious batter-fried crunch on onion rings. The batter should shatter. These had a bit of a crisp texture but not crunchy. The onions were thick and perfectly cooked.

    I liked the ciabatta/focaccia bread, though you’re right, it’s a substantial roll.

    The last time I was there, I had a cold sandwich with deli meats and cheese. It was quite good.

    I will be back again. Hopefully with not so much salt on the burger.

  16. 16

    Moe: Oh no about the over-salting. I’ll have to ask Meat Boy if he’s ever experienced that. Oooh, the cold sandwich sounds good, too. I’ll have to try one of those the next time I go.

  17. 17

    Your description of Neto’s new digs wasn’t exaggerated a bit–it’s huge! I ordered no-nonsense linguica on sour dough and was nearly finished with one half when the sports section I was perusing alerted me to women’s tennis (multi-school tournament) at Stanford. Exhibiting bad form, I wolfed down the remainder of that 1st half, bundled the 2nd in napkins and raced north to Palo Alto. The tourney was still going strong so I double-clutched my appetite, bringing it wayyy down to stretch the 2nd half of the linguica burger over several matches (I can chew in compound low when needed). Thanks for the heads-up on Neto’s new place!

  18. 18

    Oh my, that all sounds so good. I have not made it to Neto’s yet, but it looks like I should.

  19. 19

    please please please send some our way!

  20. 20

    Nate: I’ll put a rush on it. ;)

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