When Nick Fasanella opens a new restaurant, people get excited. After all, he's the man behind one of the best taco joints this side of the border: Nick's Crispy Tacos (1500 Broadway at Polk) in Russian Hill. So when Fasanella recently teamed up with Tony Ching to open Italian deli and sandwich shop La Spiaggia Delicatessen (1556 Stockton at Union) in the former North Beach home of Palermo Delicatessen, expectations ran high. Ching says the two haven't let anybody down yet: "When we saw Palermo was leaving, we decided to come in and improve it. We improved it a lot. We roast all our own meats, we use Niman Ranch, Willie Bird turkey, organic eggs. "It's healthy," he says, giving Washington Square Park some credit for the recent crowds. The park "has been real good for business. People take the sandwiches to go. We rent out beach chairs, so people take them out and eat their sandwiches in the park. So far, all the beach chairs have come back too." La Spiaggia ("beach" in Italian) has 13 sandwiches on the menu, named after famous beaches around the world. "Because 13 is a lucky number in Italian," Ching adds. His favorite? The Cayo Coco, La Spiaggia's take on the classic Cuban: rotisserie pork, prosciutto, Swiss cheese, mustard, and pickles. Prices range from $4.50 to $9.50. Open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily. For info, call 362-DELI (3354).
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