Dew’s Deli

South Philly needs another deli like I need a hole in my head, which is why I didn’t give Dew’s Deli a second glance when it opened. As a matter of fact, I didn’t even notice it. Sitting just up the street from Neumann-Goretti High School, Dew’s has an unassuming outside, with a small sandwich board sign with its name.

After reading about the unique Mediterranean menu items on Passyunk Post, my husband and I decided to walk there on sunny Saturday afternoon, dogs in tow.

When I walked in, the place was packed. Everyone knew everyone, it seemed, and the women working behind the counter were extra-friendly; greeting many folks by name. I ordered a hoagie for myself and wrap for the mister and perused the prepared foods case. The longer it took to prepare our sandwiches (and it did take a little while, given the amount of people ordering,) the more items I put in my basket, deciding instantly that we were going to have a Mediterranean themed dinner. As I browsed, the friendly ladies chatted me up and told me about some of their plans for the place (expanded hours and menu.)

We walked home with our tasty treats and unwrapped the sandwiches (for those of you who don’t have time to wait, they have prepared sandwiches and salads in the case.)

My roast beef hoagie (meat sliced to order) was pretty typical. Fresh and tasty, although the bread tasted just a touch on the stale side. In their defense, it was a little later in the day. However, the sandwich itself was hearty and could have stood up to most of the other spots in the neighborhood.

IMG_3947

In an interesting twist, Dew’s actually serves their wrap on pita, like you might find a gyro.

IMG_3948I didn’t taste it, but no complaints from the husband.

That night, we served our Mediterranean feast.

IMG_3952Clockwise, from the upper left-hand corner: Greek-inspired pasta salad with feta; tabbouleh, olives, grape leaves and hummus; spinach pie, zaatar bread and pita; grilled chicken and tzatziki (those were not from Dew’s.) The pasta salad was on point. Not too oily, nice bites of feta. The tabbouleh was excellent and bursting with lemony, parsley flavor. Hummus on the thicker side and a great accompaniment to the fresh pita (not made in-house.) I have an affinity for grape leaves and am scared to think how close Dew’s is…great for a quick afternoon snack. The spinach pie was packed with a surprisingly vivid lemony zest. And the zaatar was, well, zaatar. I love the sumac, sesame, herb blend.

Bottom line, Dew’s makes a good sandwich but if you’re in the mood for something a little more unique, bypass the hoagie counter and chomp into some Lebanese delights!

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Gooey Looie’s

I’ve been hearing about this Gooey Looie’s place for years. Apparently it is THE place to get ginormous hoagies in South Philly. Even my lazy, carless neighbor walks the 11 blocks to get his fix because they are just that good. Unfortunately, my plans to get their hoagies have been foiled more than once, my favorite involving a hopeful take out order in which I called ahead.

I’d like to place an order for pick up,” I asked, sweetly.

“We’re out of rolls.” Click.

Finally, during my summer vacation, my husband and I both had a random Friday off and after a long morning with no breakfast, we thought we’d reward ourselves with some Gooey Looie’s. I knew I wanted a cheesesteak and figured we could try a hoagie as well. My first mistake was ordering the cheesesteak with whiz.

“No whiz,” he explained.

Not to be deterred, I put in my order–no frills. They don’t have fries or any other sort of side items so don’t bother asking.

The address is listed as 231 McClellan (between Mifflin and Moore,) but I had trouble picturing it. Luckily, a little digging on the internet told me that it was actually in Pennsport Mall. I pulled into the parking lot and headed down towards this unassuming walkway.

From the outside, Gooey Looie’s looks like your typical South Philly convenience store.

Sports signs, check. Empty bread boxes, check. Signs from at least 20 years ago, check. When you walk in, there is a lottery ticket kiosk, a cooler and a large selection of chips, snacks and other convenience store items.

I walked to the register and told them I had a pick up for Zoe. Despite the fact that the register was about 2 steps from the deli counter, he told me I had to tell them at the deli counter. When I rotated 90 degrees and told them my name, once again, they got very excited.

“Zoe’s here! Zoe’s in the house! Hey, Zoe!!!” Again, typical South Philly. I grabbed my (extraordinarily heavy) sandwiches, had some small talk with the register guy (while paying under $20 for these gigantic sandwiches) and headed out the door.

I got home and plopped my sandwiches on the counter. These were some big boys.

We ate the cheesesteak hoagie first.

Extra points for thinly shredded lettuce. There’s something about shredded lettuce that just completes a hoagie for me and it’s harder and harder to find a place that does that any more. Now, this picture doesn’t do it justice but there must have been at least pound of meat on that thing. Hearty, hot and chock full of meat–this is something I could get used to.

Later in the day, we took a go at the corned beef special hoagie.

This is one of those two-fisted hoagies. One hand will certainly not suffice when picking up this monster. While I loved all of the toppings (hello, more shredded lettuce!), the lunch meat, itself, fell flat. I liked the concept of the corned beef special hoagie with Russian dressing and the works, but I would probably try it with turkey lunchmeat in the future. Which is unfortunate because I had a little meat left over.

That’s only from one HALF of the hoagie! As I later learned, pros get their hoagies with a couple extra rolls. I’ll keep that in mind for the future.

Gooey Looie’s is a zero-pretention type of place that picks one thing and does it right. Are the hoagies the OMG ABSOLUTELY BEST in the whole wide world? Not necessarily. But they’re damn good, especially the cheesesteak hoagie. And when you’re looking for a big meal with lots of South Philly attitude (for better or worse,) Gooey Looie’s is the place to go.

Just don’t forget the extra rolls.

Cosmi’s Deli

Cosmi’s is one of the neighborhood stalwarts. Sitting on the corner of 8th and Dickinson since 1932, Cosmi’s is both a go-to lunch spot for South Philly regulars and a destination for others. With hoagies named after Rick Nichols, Questlove, Howard Eskin and someone named “Big Ant,” this place does meat right.

On a lazy Friday evening, we were looking for a new place to deliver dinner. In the mood for sandwiches, we discovered that Cosmi’s did, in fact, deliver and was open for dinner, unlike some of the other local delis. I took my husband’s order, made my selection and then, well, something caught my eye.

Our food came quickly with a friendly delivery guy.

The husband, who often veers for the Italian, had the “Vespe” with prosciutto, sopressata, hot coppa, mortadella, sharp provolone, roasted peppers, along with a few of his own, personalized add-ons. Extra special bonus to Cosmi’s for slicing their onions paper thin on the meat slicer which is obviously the best way for hoagie onions. He enjoyed the Italian trimmings, especially sharp provolone like you can only get in South Philly.

Preferring a softer, simpler roll, he got a plain roll while I went with seeded for my “award winning” cheesesteak hoagie.
Meaty, cheesy and a great balance of filling to the chewy, seeded roll. I can certainly see why these are “award winning.”

And just in case I didn’t have enough cheesesteak, I figured I’d check out their cheesesteak fries. Yep, cheesesteak fries.

I opened the container to this glorious concoction staring me in the face. We know I love cheese fries but cheese fries with meat AND fried onions? Oh yeah.

This is what was hiding under that delightful layer of whiz.

OK, I’ll be the first to admit that I didn’t need the cheesesteak hoagie AND the cheesesteak fries. But they were both oh so good. A word to the wise: eat the fries first as they won’t keep well. My husband and I split the fries (most of them, at least,) and by the time we were halfway through, I was already too full for my sandwich. Well, I suppose I did eat some of it…

Cosmi’s is a neighborhood institution that has remained true to itself throughout all of the neighborhood’s changes. I look forward to going back to try some of the other hoagies and chicken cutlet sandwiches. But really, ya gotta try those fries.